Aliens Abduct Category 6 (Augmented Cat 6)

Cabling gurus have been working feverishly to develop an unshielded twisted pair cable (UTP) that will support 10 gigabit Ethernet (10GbE), but it has not been easy. The standardization of a higher performance Cat 6 cable is coming rapidly, and news about its development has been reported everywhere recently. Let's check how current your information is.

1. The next generation of UTP cabling being developed
for 10GbE is called ________.

A. Enhanced Cat 6
B. Extended Cat 6
C. Augmented Cat 6
D. Cat 7

2. Current generation Cat 6 will only support 10GbE
over links less than ________ meters long.

A. 15
B. 25
C. 37
D. 55

3. The new version of Cat 6 being developed will have
its frequency limit increased to ________.

A. 300 MHz
B. 500 MHz
C. 1,000 MHz
D. 1 GHz

4. Installation of the new version of Cat 6 will require
even more careful attention to installation and termination quality.

True ❏     False ❏ 

5. The problem that has appeared as UTP cable designs
go to higher frequencies is ________.

A. Attenuation
B. Return loss
D. Alien crosstalk
6. Alien crosstalk refers to ________.

A. Crosstalk from one pair to others in the middle
of the cable

B. Crosstalk from the pairs in one cable to a pair
in an adjacent cable in a bundle

C. Crosstalk among all the pairs in a cable

D. Crosstalk from unidentified sources

7. Reducing alien crosstalk is accomplished by ________.

A. Cable designs with thicker jackets and
bigger diameters

B. Cable bundling at racks
C. Wiring management
D. All of the above

8. Testing of augmented Cat 6 cable plants will be more difficult and have more uncertainty due to the various effects that can cause alien crosstalk.

True ❏     False ❏ 

9. Like most forms of crosstalk, alien crosstalk occurs
mainly in ________.

A. Plugs and jacks

B. The cable closest to the test point or transmitter

C. Patchcords made of stranded wire

D. Cables with 25 pairs or more

10. Designs for UTP cable plants expecting to run
10GbE over longer links should carefully choose components ________.

A. Designed to augmented Cat 6 specifications

B. Specified to work together

C. Compliant with industry standards

D. All of the above

Hayes is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of
the Structured Cabling Association (
Find him at

Answers: 1. C;  2. C;  3. B;  4. True;  5. D;  6. B;  7. D;  8. True;  9. B;  10. D

About the Author

Jim Hayes

Fiber Optics Columnist and Contributing Editor
Jim Hayes is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at .

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