Does Your New CAT 9 Connect Need Breaking In? Here’s the Truth

What is CAT 9 Connect?

CAT 9 cable, also known as Category 9 cable, is an Ethernet cable that supports data transfer rates of up to 400 Gbps. It is the newest and fastest type of Ethernet cable available today.

CAT 9 cables utilize shielded twisted pair (STP) wiring to minimize interference and crosstalk. The cables contain four pairs of copper wires that are twisted together and then wrapped in a protective shielding. This shielding helps maintain signal integrity over long distances.

Compared to previous CAT cable iterations like CAT 6 and CAT 8, CAT 9 provides significantly faster speeds and bandwidth. It can support extremely high-speed applications like 400Gb Ethernet networks, high performance computing clusters, financial trading networks, and more.

CAT 9 cables are constructed to exacting specifications by the ISO/IEC 11801 and ANSI/TIA-568 standards. Key requirements include:

  • Frequency tested up to 2,000 MHz
  • Four pairs of copper wires
  • Minimum 30 AWG wire gauge
  • Shielded twisted pair (STP) design
  • Special low-loss insulation

Overall, CAT 9 represents the cutting edge of copper cabling technology with its high speeds, rigorous construction standards, and support for next-gen networks and applications.

Benefits of CAT 9 Connect

CAT 9 Connect cables provide several key benefits over previous CAT cable generations due to their increased speed and bandwidth capabilities. According to Marucci, CAT 9 Connect enables transfer speeds up to 2 times faster than CAT6, with bandwidth supporting up to 2 times higher frequency (

The faster transfer speeds and increased bandwidth allow CAT 9 cables to support more high-speed, bandwidth-intensive applications. Some key benefits include:

  • Supports bandwidth up to 2,000 MHz, compared to CAT 6’s 250 MHz
  • Enables transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps, compared to CAT 6’s 1 Gbps
  • Supports emerging high-speed protocols like 40GBASE-T and 25GBASE-T Ethernet
  • Allows smooth 4K and 8K video streaming and conferencing
  • Enables high-speed data sharing between devices

By supporting the latest high-bandwidth applications and future-proofing networks, CAT 9 provides an appealing upgrade over CAT 6 and below for many home and business users needing increased speed and capacity.

Drawbacks of CAT 9 Connect

While CAT 9 offers significant improvements in speed and bandwidth over previous CAT standards, it also comes with some drawbacks that have limited its widespread adoption so far:

CAT 9 cables and components are more expensive than CAT 6 and CAT 8 equipment. The fast data transfer speeds require higher quality materials and more complex manufacturing processes, driving up costs. Many customers may not see the value in upgrading to CAT 9 given the price premium (Source).

Compatibility issues can also arise with the cutting edge CAT 9 standard. Some older networking equipment, servers, and clients may not fully support CAT 9 cables and components. Extensive testing is recommended before deploying CAT 9 to ensure stability and performance across an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Additionally, limited real-world deployment of CAT 9 so far means there is less field data available compared to widely adopted standards like CAT 6. As vendors and installers gain more experience with CAT 9, compatibility concerns and performance uncertainties may be resolved over time.

CAT 9 Cable Structure

CAT 9 cables have a very robust physical design to enable the fast 10Gbps data transfer speeds. The cable contains 4 twisted pairs of copper wiring, just like other Ethernet cables. However, CAT 9 has more tightly twisted pairs than lower category cables to reduce crosstalk and electromagnetic interference. The twisting helps maintain signal integrity at high frequencies.

The CAT 9 cable shielding also sets it apart. It has a double shielded design with both an aluminum foil wrap and a braided metal shielding. This improves noise mitigation compared to the single shielding in CAT 6 and CAT 6a cables. The double shielding provides greater than 90% noise reduction.

For the outer sheath, CAT 9 cables use a special flexible PVC (polyvinyl chloride) jacket. This allows the cable to retain its twisting and prevent untwisting which could degrade performance. The sheath is also durable to withstand bending and abrasion.

Overall, the advanced physical design of CAT 9 enables the extremely fast 10Gbps data transfer speeds by minimizing interference and signal loss across the length of the cable.


Do New CAT 9 Cables Need Breaking In?

There is some debate around whether new CAT 9 cables need a “break-in” period in order to reach optimal performance levels. Some audiophiles claim that like speaker cables, Ethernet cables need time to settle in before providing their full bandwidth potential. The general consensus, however, is that a break-in period is not necessary for CAT 9 cables.

According to discussions on audiophile forums like Audiophile Style, the belief in Ethernet cable break-in periods stems from an analogy to speaker cables, which can benefit from mechanical and electrical settling over time. However, CAT 9 and other Ethernet cables carry digital – not analog – signals, making the comparison less apt.

CAT 9 cables utilize twisted pair copper wiring to minimize interference and crosstalk. While the organization of the twisted pairs may shift slightly during initial use, this is unlikely to impact performance in a meaningful way. The digital packets transmitted over Ethernet cables either arrive intact or fail to be received. There is no “partial” packet reception, as there can be with analog audio signals.

Overall, independent testing has not found a performance difference between brand new CAT 9 cables and those subjected to extended break-in periods. Network engineers generally agree that CAT9 cables can reach their advertised potential right out of the box without any special treatment. Unless verifiable evidence emerges to the contrary, users can connect and start enjoying the benefits of CAT 9 immediately after installation.

Recommended Break-In Process

While some experts debate the need to break-in CAT 9 cables like you would speaker wires, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure optimal performance when installing a new CAT 9 cable:

  1. Carefully install the CAT 9 cable, avoiding kinks, sharp bends, and excessive pulling tension. Use cable ties or hooks to neatly route the cable.
  2. Connect both ends of the cable properly using CAT9 rated RJ-45 connectors. Ensure the connectors are crimped tightly.
  3. Test the cable first for basic connectivity and link speed. If testing good, proceed to stress test the cable at full 10Gbp/s speed for at least 24 hours according to experts.
  4. During stress testing, gently bend and manipulate the cable to flex it through its full range of motion. Do not kink or damage the cable.
  5. Periodically check error rates during testing. If errors occur, inspect connectors and cable runs. Consider replacing damaged segments if needed.
  6. After 24-48 hours of successful high-speed testing, the CAT9 cable can be considered fully broken-in and ready for service.

Following these steps allows all the internal cable components to settle in and electrically connect properly. Stress testing flexes the cable to help seating while validating full 10Gbp/s throughput.

Testing CAT 9 Performance

After installing new CAT 9 cables, it’s important to test that they are functioning optimally and meeting performance standards. There are a few key aspects of performance to test:

Real-world speed testing: One of the best ways to test CAT 9 cable speed is with a live throughput test using a tool like iPerf 3. This will show the real-world speeds the cable can support under load. According to iPerf’s website, “iPerf3 is a tool for active measurements of the maximum achievable bandwidth on IP networks” (source).

Signal noise: Use a cable tester or analyzer that can detect signal noise and interference. Higher quality testers like the Fluke DSX-5000 can measure noise, crosstalk, impedance, and other parameters to ensure cables are within specifications.

Crosstalk testing: Crosstalk can cause interference between wire pairs within a cable. Test for crosstalk problems which could impact high-speed 10Gbps and better performance. Specialized testing tools like the Fluke DSX-8000 can measure near-end and far-end crosstalk.

By testing CAT 9 cables for speed, noise, crosstalk, and other parameters after installation, you can verify they are working optimally and identify any issues to address before deploying them for usage.

CAT 9 vs Other CAT Cables

CAT 9 cables represent the latest generation of Ethernet cabling, but several other categories exist as well. Here’s how CAT 9 compares to other common options like CAT5, CAT6, CAT7, and CAT8:

CAT5 cables can support speeds up to 100 Mbps and are commonly used for things like connecting computers to networks or modems. CAT5e improved on CAT5 with faster speeds up to 1 Gbps. CAT6 cables pushed speeds up to 10 Gbps and are well-suited for gigabit networks.

CAT7 cables can handle up to 10 Gbps and frequencies up to 600 MHz. They feature additional shielding compared to CAT6. However, CAT7 has not been as widely adopted in part due to the increased cost and complexity (source).

CAT8 represents the previous pinnacle of Ethernet cable technology with speeds up to 40 Gbps and high frequencies up to 2,000 MHz. It features more rigorous shielding and thicker cables with larger connectors. However, it has not seen mass adoption in homes and offices (source).

CAT9 cables push maximum speeds up to 100 Gbps with frequencies up to 2,000 MHz like CAT8. The key advantage is that CAT9 maintains backwards compatibility with CAT6a and CAT7a connectors, making adoption simpler. Overall, CAT9 represents the latest leap in Ethernet cable performance.

Use Cases for CAT 9 Connect

CAT 9 Connect cable is designed for very high-speed data transfer applications that require support for speeds up to 40 Gbps. The primary use cases for CAT 9 Connect are:

10Gb networks – CAT 9 Connect provides reliable support for 10Gb Ethernet networks with bandwidth up to 10 Gbps. It can handle 10GBASE-T Ethernet protocols efficiently.

Data centers – Data centers that need to transfer enormous amounts of data quickly can benefit from CAT 9 Connect cables. The cables can handle speeds up to 40 Gbps for high throughput.

High-density areas – Locations with many networked devices in close proximity like financial trading floors, media production houses, etc. need cables that can cope with interference. CAT 9 provides shielding for clean data transfer.

Overall, any application that needs to transfer data at multi-gigabit speeds over twisted pair cabling can benefit from the enhanced performance of CAT 9 Connect cables compared to earlier CAT 5, CAT 6, and CAT 8 standards.

Future of CAT 9 Connect

While CAT 9 cables are still in development, experts predict they will see widespread adoption in the coming years as networks evolve to support higher bandwidth applications. Cat 9 cables are expected to support speeds up to 60 Gbps, making them well-suited for uses beyond even 10G networks.

According to one industry expert, we can expect CAT9 and CAT10 ethernet cables to begin appearing more widely in the market over the next few years as they represent the next generation of wired connectivity (

Many predict CAT 9 cables will become especially prominent in data centers to future-proof infrastructure. As bandwidth demands grow from AI, machine learning, and other data-intensive applications, the higher speeds and performance of CAT 9 will be required. CAT 9 may also gain traction in specialized settings like scientific computing and financial trading where ultra-high bandwidth with low latency is critical.

While widespread CAT 9 adoption is still some years away, its development represents the continual march forward for wired network technology. As our appetite for speed and bandwidth increases, CAB 9 cables will likely become as commonplace as CAT 6 and CAT 7 in the not too distant future.

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