PVC is an abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride. Speaking in terms of ethernet cables, a PVC cable means the jacket-rating of an ethernet cable. PVC cables are available in different categories such as Cat6 PVC Cable, Cat5e PVC cable, and Cat6a PVC cable.
What is a PVC rating?
When it comes to the ethernet cables, PVC stands for the jacket ratings. Ethernet cables with this jacket rating are used for installation in outdoor spaces. Unlike plenum-rated and riser-rated cables, PVC cables do not have features such as fire resistance but they do come with properties that are necessary for an ethernet cable to survive in harsh outdoor environments. These include the ability of PVC jackets to resist acids, oils, sunlight, weathering, abrasion, and heat.
PVC cables are specifically designed for installation in outdoor spaces.
Categories of PVC cables
The most in-demand and widely used PVC ethernet cables are Cat5e PVC cable, Cat6 PVC cable, and Cat6a PVC cable.
Let’s discuss the characteristics of each one by one.
Cat5e PVC Cable
The Cat5e cable is 5th generation ethernet cable that demonstrates maximum data transfer rates of up to 1Gbps over a distance of 50 meters. When distance is increased to 100 meters, the data transfer rates plummet to 100 Mbps.
The cable has an impressive bandwidth capacity of 350 MHz and is available in both pure copper and copper-clad aluminum conductors; 8 conductors are tightly bundled together in 4 twisted pairs to cancel the EMI and to prevent the negative effects of crosstalk on signal strength.
The cable is available in both shielded and unshielded versions and runs 24AWG.
This cable supports IEEE 802.12:100 Base-VG, 100 Base-X IEEE 802.5:4/16 Mbps Token Ring, ANSI X3T9.5 TP-PMD (FDDI), and ATM PMD 155 Mbps IEEE 802.3 Fast Ethernet:10 Base-T, 100 Base-T4.
Cat6 PVC cable
From “6” in the term Cat6 PVC Cable 1000ft, you would have already known that it is a 6th generation ethernet cable. The cable has far more impressive and better data transfer rates than the previous generation cable – 10 Gbps up to a length of 50 meters and the same plummets to 1Gbps when distance is hiked to 100 meters or 328 feet.
The cable has an impressive bandwidth capacity of 550 MHz. Just like the fifth generation cable, it is also available in both pure copper and copper-clad aluminum conductors that are tightly bundled together in 4 twisted pairs. The cable runs 23AWG.
This cable supports 550 MHz Broadband video, voice, and SDN 155/ 622 Mbps ATM PoE, 10BASE-T, 1000BASE-T (IEEE802.3), 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet applications.
Cat6a PVC cable
The Cat6a PVC cable is an augmented cable that offers enhanced data transfer rates of 10 Gbps over relatively long distances, i-e up to a length of 100 meters. And its signal quality is maintained by its augmented bandwidth capacity of 750 MHz.
Just like the other 2 categories, this cable is also available in copper-clad aluminum and pure copper conductors. This cable also runs 23AWG and comes in both shielded and unshielded versions.
This cable also supports 550 MHz Broadband video, voice, and SDN 155/ 622 Mbps ATM PoE, 10BASE-T, 1000BASE-T (IEEE802.3), 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet applications.
Cat7 PVC Cable
Used in high-speed data centers, the Cat7 PVC cable comes with a mammoth data transfer rate of as high as 40 Gbps over to a distance of 50 meters or 164 feet. The data rates plummet to 10Gbps when the length is increased to 100 meters or 328 feet. The ethernet cable comes with an impressive bandwidth speed of 2000 MHz which means your signal strength will remain intact come what may.
Just like the previous 3 categories, the Cat7 PVC cable is available in both pure copper and CCA conductors. This ethernet cable also runs 23 AWG and is usually preferred in high-speed data centers. You can also find this cable in the healthcare and aviation industries.
Now the question here arises, out of all these PVC ethernet cables, which one is perfect for you.
Well, the answer to this query depends on your budget and your data speed requirements. For simple residential use, Cat5e PVC will do the job. For commercial and gamers, Cat6 PVC is a good fit and for healthcare and aviation industries, Cat7 is the ultimate choice.