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Category 7: How Rational? Is It Even Necessary?

We started using Category 5 cables in the 90’s.

Today we mostly use Category 6 and 6A in in-building cabling projects and Category 8 in data centres.

But we rarely see Category 7 cables.

Why is that so?

Ethernet Technology and Twisted Pair Cabling

Ethernet has been the basis of network systems for decades. When copper cables can provide sufficient efficiency, they are much cheaper and easier to use than other connection types. This makes Ethernet simple and perhaps the most important factor in its widespread use.

Since 1995, when fast ethernet entered our lives, network cabling technology has continuously improved; bandwidths and supported network speeds have increased. As the internet investments that started in the 90s accelerated in the 2000s, the increasing bandwidth and network speed demands in homes and workplaces continuously increased the class of Category cables used. We started using Category 5 cables in the 90s; today we mostly use Category 6 and 6A in indoor cabling projects and Category 8 in data centres. But we rarely see Category 7 cables. Why is that?

Category 7 Cable Specifications

Before answering this question, let’s look at the technical specifications of Category 7 cables:

  • Supports 1000 Base-T (Gigabit Ethernet) and 10G Base-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet) networks
  • Provides 600 MHz. bandwidth
  • Conductor diameter is 23AWG
  • Can be used up to 100 metres
  • S/FTP screen structure (individual foiling on the screens and braiding on the screens)
  • Can be terminated with 8P8C compatible GG45 or TERA (trademark of Siemon Inc.) connectors.

The Evolution of Category 7

Zemecs - Category 7 - Internet Speed
Figure 1: Change in Ethernet Speeds Over the Years

When we look at Figure-1, which shows the change in network speeds over the years, we see that speeds at the 10G level have entered our lives since the early 2000s.

First appearing in 2002 and standardised by ISO/IEC as Class F, Category 7 cables were designed to support 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity at 600 MHz over distances of up to 100 metres by reducing signal diaphony (crosstalk).

In the same year, Category 6, which supports 1 Gigabit Ethernet connection, was approved and rapidly became widespread. Both the cost was low and most of the network equipment used in those years did not need 10G speeds.

By 2010, ISO/IEC announced Class FA and Category 7A cabling. These cables, which support 1000Mhz. bandwidths in 10G speed networks, were used in voice and video processing networks in some Western European countries where grounding is important, but could not become widespread.

We can highlight 3 main factors for the lack of widespread use of Category 7 cables:

1. Lack of Standard

Since TIA did not standardise neither Category 7 nor Category 7A, network engineers remained distant from these products and companies did not invest.

Therefore, it could not become widespread in the North American market.

2. Different Connector Usage

Category 7 cables were terminated with the GG45 connector, but this new connector, which is backward compatible with RJ45, did not receive enough attention from network engineers.

Category 6A cabling infrastructures using RJ-45 connectors have rapidly become popular as they offer performance comparable to Category 7.

3. The Introduction of Category 8

It was the mid-2010s when non-standardised Category 7 speeds began to be requested, and in 2016 Category 8 was standardised.

Supporting 2000 Mhz. bandwidth, Category 8 conforms to modern IEEE standards and can be terminated with standard RJ-45 connectors.

4. Backward Incompatibility

Backward compatibility with Category 7 could not be guaranteed in the first published reports on Category 8 standards.


We see that Category 7 cables have more disadvantages compared to Category 6A cables.

600Mhz. vs 500Mhz: 20% more bandwidth may be preferable in some network applications involving video sharing
Requirement to use different connectors may extend lead times; may also require special expertise in installation
Installation costs increase due to the high cost of termination products, which are only available in certain brands
Problems of harmonisation with Category 8 may occur

Zemecs Category 7 LAN Cables

Zemecs Category 7 S/FTP LAN cables support 10G networks up to 600 MHz and are designed and manufactured to outperform ANSI/TIA/EIA-568.2-D, EN 50173 and ISO/IEC 11801 standards.

Each individually foiled twisted 4 pairs of 23 AWG solid copper conductors are sheathed with tin-plated copper or aluminium manganese braid with tin-plated copper drain wire.

Category 7 S/FTP LAN cables, which are certified to comply with CPR regulations and covered by Zemecs’ 25-year system performance warranty programme, are available in 500 and 1,000 m. reel packaging options with PVC, LSOH or PE outer sheaths.

Zemecs Category 7 LAN cables are also certified by Intertek.

Discover Our Category 7 Products

Part Number: T145ZMXY
Part Number: T145ZMXY Horizontal cable for enterprise networks requiring 10G connectivity @600Mhz. Foil screened pairs with overall braiding and LSOH jacket. Supports PoE, PoE+ and 4PPoE applications. Third party verified.
Part Number: T127ZMXY
Part Number: T127ZMXY Horizontal cable for enterprise networks requiring 1G connectivity @250Mhz. Unshielded pairs with overall foil screen and braiding with LSOH jacket. Ideal choice for installation in high EMI zones. Supports PoE, PoE+ and 4PPoE applications.
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