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SOLUTION: I have found RJ45 connectors that are compatible with Cat7 and can also be used with the standard cat 5/6 crimpers. These do not provide speeds higher than would be expected of Cat 6a, and are a bit more expensive, but at least I can use the cable without paying 30€ a time for TERA connectors or having to bodge the whole thing by stripping the internal wires. See the link below.

https://www.amazon.fr/odedo-10-connecteurs-protection-antitorsion-Connecteur/dp/B01N24UXCL/ref=pd_cp_60_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=PB16ZSN1BZQMD5SY1FCH

ORIGINAL QUESTION:

I have a lot of Cat 7 shielded cable and I want to make sure I am using the most advantageous connectors to get the most out of the cable since I now have a top of the line D-Link switch that supports Cat 7. Literally ALL of the connectors I have viewed online say they are for cat 6 or earlier. I understand that I will need a specific cat 7 crimper for the cable itself because it is slightly thicker than previous ethernet cables and that is not a problem. The issue for me is that I cannot tell from all the reading online whether I can use a standard RJ45 cable ending or whether I need to get something more specific for cat 7.

Here is a brief example of some of the relatively useless information I have found: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO/IEC_11801#CAT7

Can anyone give me a definitive answer: Can I just get standard RJ45 connectors or do I need to search for something more specific? I see indications that I need 8P8C connectors, but I thought these were the same as ARJ45; and at any rate, I cannot find 8P8C connectors that do not also describe themselves as ARJ45...

Clearly I do not know what I am doing. Answers please!

UPDATE: Ok, I have used the standard RJ45 terminators and these have allowed me to use the cable although, as predicted, I have not seen a clearly higher performance in cat 7 over cat 6/6a. I considered using the TERA terminators, as described below, but I agree these look too big to be of much practical use and I am sure I will end up breaking the cables and connection points, so I gave up on this idea.

One interesting thing to note is that, although this cat 7 cable is noticeably thicker than previous ethernet cables, the cat 6 crimpers DO NOT seem to have much trouble stripping the internal wires (necessary to make the fatter wires fit standard RJ45s) and connecting them up with the RJ45s. A bit of a bodge that has caused me some problems, but practice has made it a reliable solution.

However, the RJ45 endings I have bought come with rubber seals that are supposed to slip over the cable and thus protect the cable terminators. Since these are rubbery plastic they can ONLY JUST, with much force applied, be stretched to fit over the slightly thicker Cat 7 cable.

After all this effort, I wish I had bought Cat 6a cable instead.

  • 1
    Do you mean ARJ45? An AR45 is a gun. – Michael Frank Jun 19 '16 at 22:16
  • 1
    For Class F cabling to function correctly, the shield must be electrically contiguous from device to device. This also requires the devices to support the grounding of the shield. Most, but not all, business-grade equipment does, but often consumer-grade equipment, including most NICs, does not. You should check that you haven't wasted a lot of money on cabling; the shielding will not function if you connect to a non-compliant NIC. (Category 7 doesn't really exist, since ANSI/TIA/EIA, which certifies cable categories, refuses to certify Category 7, while the ISO/IEC has certified Class F.) – Ron Maupin Jun 20 '16 at 2:11
  • You need what's called GG45, an extended version of the RJ45 connector that adds a few extra contacts and additional shielding to support higher speeds. – bwDraco Jun 20 '16 at 7:08
  • @MichaelFrank Lol! I have changed it now. – Matthew Jun 20 '16 at 20:26
  • If you address the question to Damit, that user will be the only one who will answer. – fixer1234 Oct 4 '16 at 20:05
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If you want to connect these cables to your D-Link switch's 10GBASE-T ports, then you need to put whatever connector your D-Link switch has, and your D-Link switch almost certainly has Cat 6a 8P8C ("RJ-45") connectors, because it's been designed to work with Cat 6 and Cat 6a cabling.

Your D-Link switch almost certainly doesn't have those weird ARJ45 or GG45 connectors that put two of the pairs on the bottom (tab side) of the connector instead of keeping them all in a full row of 8 pins on the top.

IEEE 802.3 10GBASE-T 10 Gigabit Ethernet over twisted-pair copper requires ISO/IEC Class E (which maps to ANSI/EIA/TIA Cat 6) or better. Unscreened (unshielded) Cat 6 can do 10GBASE-T at up to 55 meter distances, and shielded Cat 6 can do 10GBASE-T at up to 100m distances.

So, in summary:

  • Despite D-Link's marketing claims, I doubt your switch is truly Cat 7 compliant, because it doesn't have Cat 7 compliant jacks. However, since your switch can probably already hit its maximum capabilities over Cat 6 shielded cable, it's safe for them to say it works with Cat 7 cable, because Cat 7 is as good or better than Cat 6 in all respects, so the extra quality is just a bonus.
  • You probably need to put a Cat 6a-rated 8P8C (RJ-45) connector on that cable to connect it to your D-Link 10GBASE-T switch ports.
  • Putting that Cat 6a 8P8C on your Cat 7 cable may technically make it no longer Cat 7 compliant. But you won't notice anything on your D-Link switch because your D-Link switch can already do everything it needs to do over some form of Cat 6 cable.

OK, but what about wall jacks and patch panels? If you want to preserve the Cat 7 compliance of your structured cabling in your building, I suppose you could use ARJ45/GG45 or even TERA connectors in those other locations. You'd just have to make ARJ45/GG45-to-RJ45 equipment cables to go from the wall (or patch panel) to the Ethernet ports on your switches or host NICs. But that seems expensive and a little outside of the mainstream. If I were you, for now, I'd terminate it "Cat 6a" style everywhere, even if I'd pulled Cat 7 compliant cable through the walls. If GG45 or ARJ45 (or something else) ever catch on, I'd re-terminate my wall jacks and patch panels at that time.

[Updated to remove my "But ANSI/EIA/TIA are who really get to define Cat 7" quibbles. ISO/IEC 11801:2002 defines Cat 7, not just Class F.]

1

While an IEC vote of 18 countries chose TERA connectors as the official connector for Cat 7 (IEC 61076-3-104), my experience with TERA connectors has been that getting them connected and disconnected in patch panels is a pain and can sometimes hurt your fingers, and due to the way the connectors are so long, when plugged into network sockets mounted at skirting board level for connecting end-user computers/phones etc, not only do the cables often get damaged/broken from being forced at 90 degree bends to fit behind desks, but also the sockets themselves are easily damaged/broken when connectors are forced/kicked or hit by hoovers etc. Unlike CAT 5/6a where the connector fits almost wholly inside the socket with just the cable and protective boot or moulding coming out and able to bend, the TERA connectors stick out from the socket by a good inch before the cable comes out and the connector is solid/rigid and so when pressure is applied to the sides, e.g. when someone trips on it sticking out, the connector and socket are easily damaged. Typically part of the connector is left stuck in the socket too and almost impossible to remove with pliers, the result being we have a large number of unusable network sockets now, and we spend a fortune replacing our TERA cables all the time. Personally, I recommend the GG45 connector type for Cat 7, but would advise you stick to Cat 6a connectors for now until GG45 is more widely supported on network switches and NICs or TERA connectors are significantly improved. Cat 6a sockets/connectors are much easier and cheaper to maintain. I like the idea in the TERA design but would suggest it is not suitable for network sockets at skirting board level. Due to how far the connectors stick out we've also had to acquire a specialist patch cabinet which allows the patch panels to be mounted back much further than is normally required for such as Cat 5/6a, and this is worth bearing in mind if you are looking at rolling out new cabling infrastructure.

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Cat7 is pointless for Ethernet since it has not been ratified by TIA/EIA. Cat7 has been designed as a standard for Gigabit Ethernet over 100m of copper cabling The cable contains four twisted copper wire pairs, just like the earlier standards. Cat7 can be terminated either with 8P8C compatible GG45 electrical connectors which incorporate the 8P8C standard or with TERA connectors. When combined with GG45 or TERA connectors, Cat7 cable is rated for transmission frequencies of up to 600 MHz, featuring even more strict specifications for crosstalk and system noise than Cat6. Shielding has been added for individual wire pairs on the Category 7 cable.

  • 4
    Am I wrong in thinking that the first two sentences in this answer contradict one another? First it is stated 'Cat7 is pointless for Ethernet' - then it is stated 'Cat7 has been designed for Gigabit Ethernet over 100m'. Logically speaking, and discounting the possibly ambiguous term 'designed for', don't these statements stand in contradiction to one another? I know I am dumb for getting the cable before understanding it fully, but I always thought I had quite a good grasp of logic and this makes my brain hurt... – Matthew Oct 18 '16 at 20:18

protected by Community Oct 11 '17 at 14:41

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