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Cat.8 offers both maximum speed and stability

IT networks need to move more data than ever before, and they need to move it quickly. The right infrastructure cabling will facilitate maximum speed and performance. Category 8 is the latest IEEE standard in copper Ethernet cable and it represents a significant leap in data transfer speed over Cat.7 and Cat.6A cables. So what is Cat.8 used for and what are its capabilities?

Category 8 cabling is a new category of cabling that has been developed to support 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T applications developed by the IEEE.

The Category 8 standard was developed by the ANSI/TIA-568 standards body, more specifically, the TR42.7 committee. The document that details Category 8 cabling is ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1, and was published in November 2016 as a standard.

What makes Cat.8 so unique?

What makes Cat.8 cable so unique, is its greater throughput capability - it can support transmission of data up to 40Gbps over balanced twisted pair copper cabling, and a frequency of up to 2GHz (2000 MHz) - see the below diagram. A Cat.5 cable can transmit 100 million signals per second, while a Cat.8 ethernet cable speed can transmit 2 billion signals per second. And a Cat.8 data transfer rate can be 250-400 times faster than Cat.5.

One of the key differences in Cat.8 cable is its shielding. Unlike Cat.5e to Cat.6A, Cat.8 cable does not come with an unshielded twisted pair, it only comes as a shielded solution. As part of the cable jacket, a shielded or shielded twisted pair (STP) cable employs a layer of conductive material to protect the internal conductors from electromagnetic interference (EMI), resulting in faster data transmission speeds and fewer errors. Cat.8 cables go one step further, wrapping each twisted pair in foil to virtually eliminate crosstalk and enable higher data transmission speeds. The result is a heavier gauge cable that is quite rigid and difficult to install in tight spaces.

Is Cat.8 more expensive?

For utmost stability and speed, the Cat.8 Ethernet cable offers a more reliable future for high-speed networking. The combination of Cat 8 speed and shielding makes the Cat.8 cable an exciting option for anyone who needs a cutting-edge LAN design – that is if you're able to work within its range limitations.

Cat.8 Ethernet cable is ideal for switch to switch communications in Data Centers and server rooms, where 25GBase‑T and 40GBase‑T networks are common. Its RJ45 ends will connect standard network equipment like switches and routers, allowing for 25G or 40G network upgrades that do not require a complete equipment overhaul. Its shielding, as mentioned earlier, helps to minimize EMI/RFI line noise in crowded network installations.

Cat.8 can be used in a home network but it's really designed for high-speed switch to switch communication in a Data Center. Plus, as the heavier gauge Cat.8 cable is quite rigid, it makes it more difficult to install and terminate. A better, more cost-effective choice for a "future-proofed" home network would be Cat.6 or Cat.6A cable.

Basic specs for Cat.8 cable

Category Cat.8 Connectors RJ45 / RJ45
Booted Yes Shielded Pair Foil Shielded / 4 Pair Braid Shield
AWG24 AWGBandwidthUp to 2GHz
Conductor MaterialPure CopperContact Gold Plating50 Micron
Backwards CompatibleYesMax Data Rate40 Gbps
DINTEK's XLR-8 Category 8 RJ45 Shielded Plug

Overall, Cat.8's physical appearance is similar to lower category cables. They terminate in RJ45 connections or non-RJ45 connections and they are compatible with all its backward versions. You can use it with the standard connectors of previous versions such as Cat-7. This was a key requirement from the active equipment manufacturers to maintain compatibility with the billions of RJ45 connectors in use around the world.

Cat.8 is still not widely available, but the demand is already strong. Data Centers are itching for a scalable copper cable that can compete with fiber optics. With the rise of data transmission due to the exponential increase in the volume of data stored, the rapid centralization of data to the cloud, and the ever-increasing bandwidth available through broadband and 5G network hardware manufacturers, IT managers, and Data Center engineers are constantly looking for quick, easy, and cheaper ways of moving more data. Outside of fiber, Cat.8 is the new "go-to" cabling solution. Basically, any operation that needs to scale fiber optics might be looking to substitute Cat.8 instead over the next few years.

DINTEK's XLR-8TM Category 8 cabling infrastructure system has been designed to support 25GBase-T or 40GBase-T transmission. The XLR-8TM Category 8 cabling system has been tested and the testing confirmed that it meets the latest Category B ISO standard (configuration: 2m+26m+2m & 1m+5m+1m Channel) and it is also backward compatible with Category 6A, 6 and 5e systems.

The DINTEK's XLR-8TM Category 8 fully shielded solution offers superior alien crosstalk suppression, excellent insertion loss, and provides enhanced electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection.

For more information on DINTEK's Category 8 products, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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