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Why Cat6 Riser Cable is Better than Cat6 Plenum Cable?

The debate, on whether the Cat6 riser and plenum cable have been going on among networking gengineers and ethernet cable enthusiasts for years now. Let’s settle the debate, once and for all.

Most people consider the Cat6 Plenum Cable better than the Cat6 riser – which is true when you look at it from a certain perspective. But it depends on your priorities. Some people would prioritize safety over the cost and others would consider the extra cost of the cat6 plenum unnecessary.

Let’s find out if indeed, the extra cost of the Cat6 plenum cable is unnecessary.

Cat6 Cable 1000ft

If we look at what the Cat6 cable 1000ft is, we find that it is the 6th generation of ethernet cables. It is the successor of the Cat5 and the enhanced category 5 cable. It comes with three different jackets. Plenum and riser are the prominent ones whereas the PVC jacket is out of the debate.

The cable supports data transfer at speeds of up to 1 GBit/s over 100 meters and 10 GBit/s over 50 meters. The cable supports almost all ethernet applications. Such as 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet, 1000BASE-T (IEEE802.3 Gigabit Ethernet), and 10 GBASE-T (10 Gigabit Ethernet).

The cable comes with two different types of conductors. Bare copper and copper-clad aluminum. The Cat6 cable 1000ft bare copper also supports PoE, PoE+/++ applications.

Cat6 plenum vs Cat6 Riser: Comparison

A general comparison of both of the cables is mandatory before we delve into answering our main question.

Cat6 riser and the plenum cable are almost the same cables except for the cable jackets. For instance, both cables have the same data transfer speed of 1 GBit/s over 100 meters and 10 GBit/s over 50 meters. They also have the same 550 MHz bandwidth capacity.

Both the riser and the plenum cable differ based on their jackets which are designed for a specific use.

Riser Jacket of Cat6 Cable

The riser jacket of the Cat6 cable 1000ft is made out of the highest grade polyvinyl chloride compounds. It is designed to prevent the vertical propagation of flame along the cable. Although it does not catch fire or carry a flame, if it does, it can emit tiny amounts of toxic smoke.

The Cat6 riser cable is designed to be installed in indoor spaces where air does not flow. For instance, inside walls, between floors, and elevator shafts. The purpose of installing it in enclosed spaces is to prevent the toxic smoke from suffocating the inhabitants of a building.

The Cat6 riser cable can be installed outdoors as well. For example, if you need to run the cable from one building to another through an outdoor lawn or yard, you can do so.

Because the riser jacket tends to emit toxic smoke, it is not installed in indoor open spaces.

Plenum Jacket of Cat6 Cable

The plenum jacket of the Cat6 cable 1000ft is made out of low smoke zero halogens (LSZH) materials. This makes it highly resistant to extreme temperatures and it is also designed to prevent the propagation of fire along the cable. Unlike, the cat6 riser, this cable does not emit toxic smoke due to the LSZH materials used in the jacket.

But this property comes at an extra cost since the materials used for the plenum jacket are expensive as compared to the riser material.

What makes Cat6 Riser Better?

Cat6 riser provides a cost-effective yet state-of-the-art solution for wiring up LAN networks through the indoor risers and outdoor spaces. It is just as safe as the Cat6 plenum cable in the spaces it is designed for but at a lesser cost.

Important Note: Cat6 riser is better for indoor riser and outdoor use only – not in plenum spaces.

Is the Cat6 Riser better than Plenum?

Some argue that the Cat6 plenum is a better cable because of this heavy-duty material. While it is true that the Cat6 plenum cable is safer than the riser cable, to be better is a whole different question.

As mentioned, Cat6 Riser Cable is used in indoor vertically rising spaces and outdoors. Because of the cat6 plenum cable’s added safety features, you can also use it in riser spaces which makes it universal in a sense.

But in most riser and outdoor spaces, the plenum cable is unnecessarily used. A riser cable can get the job done perfectly and there is no peculiar reason for using the plenum cable. One plus one always equals two. No matter how beautifully you write it, the answer will never be three. In the same manner, a Cat6 riser is a highly cost-effective solution with all the requirements needed for the installation in the spaces it is designed for.


Simply put, the Cat6 riser and Cat6 plenum are both cutting-edge ethernet cables. But the Cat6 riser cable can be used both indoors (riser-rated only) and outdoors draining your budget.

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