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Which Conductor Size? 23 AWG or 24 AWG?

The price and performance differences between 23 and 24 AWG LAN cables are effective in product selection.

Category 6 LAN cables are the most commonly deployed ones among all ethernet cables. According to a research conducted by Market Research Future, the LAN cables market grows at a rate of %5,02 annually:

  • Market size expected to reach 7,75B$ by 2025
  • In 2018, Category 6 cables represented %30,8 of all cables sold worldwide with a total value of 1,69 B$.

All decision makers are concerned about the following question:

Which Conductor Size? 23 or 24 AWG?

23 & 24 AWG LAN Cables

AWG (American Wire Gauge) is the standard system that determines the cross section of a wire using a gauge for solid, round electrical wires.  

The size of 23 AWG and 24 AWG conductors in twisted pair copper cables are 0,57 and 0,52 mm. respectively.

The higher the AWG, the smaller conductor size and vice versa.
You can refer to below table for more techical details.

Why Is Conductor Size So Important?

The larger the diameter of the conductor used in the Ethernet cable, the easier and faster the electrons that provide the signal transmission move.

To give an example from traffic for easier understanding; as the number of lanes on a highway increases, the speed of the vehicles increases. With a thinner wire, there is less flow and heat builds up causing electrons to scatter.

When the conductor diameter of the Ethernet cable is increased, the resistance on the cable decreases and the electron flow accelerates. 24 AWG wires have 25% more resistance than 23 AWG. 


How Conductor Size Effects Cable's Performance

– Does bigger conductor always lead to better cable performance
– Unfortunately NO!

The quality of copper raw material and twist rates of pairs play significant role in cable’s overall performance. In other words, a 24 AWG cable with a smaller conductor diameter but correctly calculated and applied twist rate can outperform a 23 AWG cable.

Zemecs Products You May Be Interested In:

Part Number: T133ZMXY
Part Number: T133ZMXY Horizontal cable for enterprise networks requiring 10G connectivity @500Mhz. Overall foiled pairs with LSOH jacket. Supports PoE, PoE+ and 4PPoE applications.
Part Number: T131ZMXY
Part Number: T131ZMXY Horizontal cable for enterprise networks requiring 10G connectivity @500Mhz. Unshielded pairs with LSOH jacket. Supports PoE, PoE+ and 4PPoE applications. Patented design with third party verification including all AXT parameters.

Effect On PoE

Power Over Ethernet (PoE) is transmission of data and power over ethernet wires. IEEE and IEEE standards require 15 and 30 W per port (device), while Type-4 requires 100 W. The more power consumption, the more heat is dissipated. A Type-4 class PoE application generates 20 times more heat than a Type-1 application! The cause of this heat is the voltage loss across the cable and may lead to systm malfunctioning unless properly handled (we will be posting a separate blog post about this soon). In PoE applications, 23 AWG cables perform better than 24 AWG cables.

Other Factors

The second most important parameter while deciding on the ethernet cable to be used is the shield type (U/UTP, U/FTP..). If the cable type is chosen incorrectly, the desired performance will not be achieved no matter how large the conductor diameter is.

Pros and Cons

Since 24 AWG cables have smaller conductor diameters, their outer diameters are also smaller. Therefore, they occupy less space in cable ducts/trays and rack.

Typically, a 24 AWG Category 6 cable takes up 15% less volume than a 23 AWG cable.

Better air flow is achieved in a rack cabinet populated with 24 AWG cables. From an installer’s point of view, terminating the cables and routing them through organizers and corners take less effort. For system administrators, reading the data on patch panels is also easier thanks to increased visibility.

23 AWG cables yield high performance in applications where there’s a demand for higher data transmission speed, bandwidth and power consumption. EIA/TIA standards define Category 6 cables for 23 AWG size only, but surprisingly most quality 24 AWG cables can perform like Category 6A at distances up to 50m!

Table-1, displayed below, contains a summary comparison.

Feature / Parameter
24 AWG
23 AWG
Conductor Size (mm.)
Resistance (Ω / 305m.)
Max. Current Rating (A)
Cable Cross Section (mm2)
5e, 6
6, 6A, 7, 7A
PoE Support*
Type 1 (typical) and Type 2
Type 1, 2, 3, 4
EIA/TIA Definition
Ideal Cable Length (channel, m.)
Cost (For Category 6, 23AWG basis: 100)

Table-1: Comparison of 24AWG and 23AWG Cables

*Cable type, installation environment and count of cables in a bundle must be considered.

Zemecs 23 AWG and 24 AWG LAN Cables

Zemecs product portfolio includes both 24 AWG and 23 AWG LAN cables.

All 24 AWG Zemecs LAN cables support PoE at 100 m., successfully pass ISO/IEC, EN 50173 and ANSI/TIA Channel and Permanent Link tests, thanks to the use of high quality annealed bare copper conductor and correct engineering/production of 4-pair twisting.

All Category 6A and higher category cables are made by using 23 AWG solid copper conductors only.

Offered with LSOH, PVC and PE jackets, Zemecs LAN cables fully comply with ANSI/TIA 568.2-D, ISO/IEC 11801 and EN50173 standards and are certified by independent organizations such as Intertek and Force Technology.

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