Difference between Cat6 Riser and Cat6 Plenum Cables

Cat6 ethernet cables are the cutting-edge cables for all sorts of networking applications. They are used in both business and domestic networks because of the flexible features of these cables. But if you are new to networking or Ethernet Cables, you might not be familiar with the different types and their uses of category 6 ethernet cables.

In that regard, this article is dedicated to the explanation of the difference between cat6 plenum and cat6 riser. In a sentence, the main difference between these cables is based upon the different cable jackets and the internal design and specifications are the same. The plenum-rated (CMP) cable is a bit more expensive than the riser-rated (CMR) because of the built quality.

We will discuss in detail what makes these two cables of the same category different and why?

Cat6 Riser Cables

Cat6 Riser is the cable you install in the riser spaces of your building. The riser spaces are the ones that are contained and rise vertically. It is made out of a high-quality PVC jacket that has a Teflon coating that enhances the capability of the cable to withstand high temperatures.

The most common riser spaces in your building are the inner sides of walls. They are contained and vertical.

The reason why this cable is designed for vertical contained spaces is that it can emit toxic smoke should it catch fire. Although it is less likely for a cat6 riser to catch fire, there is no harm in taking precautionary measures.

In case of a fire hazard, the wall will contain the toxic smoke emitted from the burning of the cable jacket and no one will be harmed, so to speak.

Cat6 Plenum Cables

Plenum-rated cat6 is the top-notch ethernet cable for all ethernet networking purposes. It is used in the indoor spaces of buildings where air can circulate freely. For example, a dropped ceiling in a building is plenum-rated or CMR-rated.

A good question regarding this cable is, why is this used in plenum-rated spaces. And the answer to that question is

Data transfer speed and Bandwidth

As mentioned, the performance specifications of both of these cables are the same. Cat6 Cables have a data transfer rate of up to 1 Gbps over a length of 100 meters. And you can get up to 10 Gbps speeds if you run your cable over 50 meters in length.

The bandwidth capacity of these cables is up to 550 MHz. It is more than enough if you are planning to run a high-speed Ethernet application in your home or office network.

Safety Standards

There are governmental and independent bodies that ensure the performance and safety standards are met by these cables. These standards are set by experts in the industry.

Cat6 cable should meet the following standards:

Note: The cable does not necessarily have to meet all the above-mentioned standards. Because some of them are the same but different bodies certify it. Always check the equivalence of standards before buying.

Uses: Cat6 Riser vs Cat6 Plenum

Cat6 riser is used in vertical rising spaces of buildings for the following purposes:
To run cables from one floor to the next.
To run cables from one faceplate to another within a wall.
To run cables through elevator shafts.
To run cables from one point to another vertically.

Cat6 plenum is used in spaces with free air circulation for the following purposes:
For running cables through a ceiling conduit.
For running cables through a floor conduit.

Note: Due to their top-notch quality, these cables can be installed anywhere. Even in riser and outdoor spaces. But riser cables cannot be installed in CMP-rated spaces due to their tendency to emit toxic smoke.

Do you need a Cat6 riser or a Cat6 plenum?

Well, this is simple; you need both. For instance, you are running cables in your office. Of course, all buildings have both plenum and riser-rated spaces. And for each, you will need a specific cable.

Although you can install the CMP-rated cable in both domains, you can save money by installing the recommended cable.


In short, the difference between Cat6 riser and plenum is due to their jackets. However, the specifications of both cables are the same. The plenum-rated cable can be installed in all sorts of spaces due to its extraordinary quality, but the riser-rated cable has to be used only in riser-rated spaces or outdoors.

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