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Component vs. channel testing

Component vs. channel testing

Channel Testing

When using a Category 6 system, the full specification includes the testing of each part individually and in an end-to-end-channel. Because CAT6 is an open standard, products from different vendors should work together.Channel testing includes patch cable, bulk cable, jacks, patch panels, etc. These tests cover a number of measurements, including: attenuation, NEXT, PS-NEXT, EL-FEXT, ACR, PS-ACR, EL-FEXT, PS-ELFEXT, and Return Loss. Products that are tested together should work together as specified. In theory, products from all manufacturers are interchangeable. But, if products from different manufacturers are inserted in a channel, end-to-end CAT6 performance may be compromised.

Component Testing

Component testing, on the other hand, is much stricter even though only two characteristics are measured: crosstalk and return loss. Although all CAT6 products should be interchangeable, products labeled as component are guaranteed to perform to a CAT6 level in a channel with products from different manufacturers.

NOTE: In Attenuation testing, the lower the number, the better. In NEXT, EL-FEXT, and Return Loss testing, the higher the number, the better.

CAT5e vs. CAT6 Cable
  CAT5e CAT6
Standard TIA-568-B.2 TIA-568-B.2-1
Frequency 100 MHz 250 MHz
Attenuation (min. at 100MHz)

22 dB
0.4 dB
24.0 dB

19.8 dB
0.2 dB
21.3 dB
NEXT (min. at 100MHz)

35.3 dB
43.0 dB
30.1 dB

44.3 dB
54.0 dB
39.9 dB
PS-NEXT (min. at 100MHz) 32.3 dB 42.3 dB
ELFEXT (min. at 100MHz)

23.8 dB
35.1 dB
17.4 dB

27.8 dB
43.1 dB
23.3 dB
PS-ELFEXT (min. at 100MHz) 20.8 dB 24.8 dB
Return Loss (min. at 100MHz)

20.1 dB
20.0 dB
10.0 dB

20.1 dB
24.0 dB
12.0 dB
Characteristic Impedance 100 ohms ± 15% 100 ohms ± 15%
Delay Skew (max. at 100m) 45 ns 45 ns

Learn more:
Insertion loss