Can cat6 be used as a 1:1 replacement for telephone cable ? Ive seen it done multiple times and its worked fine, but can it be considered a 1:1 replacement or are there some downsides of doing it ?


A higher category cable can be used for a lower category cable. Ordinary telephone cable is Category-3 cable.

The downside is that simply replacing one category cable for another can be very misleading. Simply having cable at a category is meaningless. All the cable components (connectors, patch panels, etc.) must all be the same category, and they must pass the category test suite after installation to be considered in that category. Installation can be challenging for higher category cables, and I have seen experienced installers frustrated with Category-6 cable installation (getting it to pass the Category-6 test suite).

You can also have problems because the cable and wire diameters can be larger in the higher cable categories. This can present problems with the cable path, and cause poor connections if lower category connectors are used.

When a cable vendor installs cabling, you need to get each cable tested for its category suite, and a complete report should be supplied to you after installation.

  • Thanks @ron Maupin , do you happen to know if telephone cable is the same in all regions of the world ? In the UK where im based suppliers often call telephone cable 'BT cable' rather than cat3 (BT being a large ISP that was previously government owned and had a monopoly over data / telecoms (that has now been privatised and broken up)) but the majority of suppliers still call it 'BT cable' ill get in touch with the suppliers also, but wondered if you'd happen to know ?
    – sam
    Dec 18 '16 at 16:25
  • 1
    In the U.S. and some other countries, ANSI/TIA/EIA cable categories are used. In other countries, the ISO/IEC cable classes are used. The relationship is pretty close to 1:1, but ISO/IEC has things like Class F, that many people call Category-7, but it doesn't actually exist in the ANSI/TIA/EIA categories.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 18 '16 at 16:28

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