Ultimate Guide To Ethernet Cable Jackets: Plenum, Riser, and PVC

  • Last modified: December 28, 2023

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Ultimate Guide To Ethernet Cable Jackets: Plenum, Riser, and PVC

We live in a world of technology. Computers are a big part of our lives. We use computers from simple calculations to complex tasks. Computers are a vital part of any organization no matter how big or small. Usually in any organization, all the computers are interlinked to each other. This is called networking. For networking, the ethernet cable is used. These cables come in different categories. Each cable is different from others in terms of specifications.

Every Ethernet cable has an outer casing. This casing protects the wiring inside the cable which is also called a jacket. This jacket has various designs for different applications. All jacket types are accepted from the National Electric Code (NEC). In this article, we’ll discuss various types of jackets used in ethernet cables.

Plenum Cable:

Ethernet cables that have plenum jackets are installed in empty places in walls or ceilings of the building. These spaces are used for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning.  Generally, these places have no temperature moderators so there is a higher chance to catch fire after getting heat. The Plenum spaces in buildings are mostly used for networking cables which makes them extremely dangerous. Due to the higher temperature, these places can quickly catch fire as fresh air flow between them. High voltage equipment is not recommended in these places because even a little spark can cause a catastrophe.

In the USA, plenum rated jackets are tested under the authority of the National Fire Protection Association standard 90A. The plenum-rated jacket is made of high fire-resistant material which burns slowly and produces less smoke in the event of a fire. 

Riser Cable:

The basic difference between plenum and riser is that riser is vertical space between one floor of a building to another. For example, elevator shafts and conduits from one floor to another floor are all riser. Ethernet cable which has a riser-rated jacket is called riser cable.

You should use Riser Cables in riser places because these places have constant airflow which makes them pretty dangerous in a fire incident. The presence of oxygen works as an oil. Fire restrictions for risers are not as high as plenum.

Ethernet cables with riser-rate jackets are used commonly from floor to floor in non-plenum areas. The demand for riser cables is not very high since plenum cables can be used in riser places as well. But you should never use riser cable in plenum space. This could end in an upheaval. Riser-rated jacket cables are mostly common for residential purposes.

PVC Cable:

PVC or polyvinyl chloride is commonly used in electrical cable construction for insolation, bedding, and sheathing. PVC is highly cost-effective and also has excellent aging properties. Its properties can easily be modified. It is easy to use and recycle.

Due to high versatility, PVC jackets are very popular among electrical industries. PVC insulated wires cables are fire-prone. They are ideal to use in fixed installations. PVC rated jacket cables are ideal for outdoor places or for the places which are exposed to the light most of the time.

PVC cables are preferred by buyers in many industries due to their durability and toughness.



Specification Cat5e Cat6 Cat6a
Cable Jacket Plenum, Riser & PVC Plenum, Riser & PVC Plenum & Riser
Wire Gauge 24-AWG 23-AWG 23-AWG Highly Twisted
Frequencies 350 MHZ 550 MHZ 750 MHZ
Installation Temp 0°C to 60°C 0°C to 60°C 0°C to 60°C
Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs
Package Easy Pull Box Easy Pull Box Wood Spool
Colors Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow
Isabella Anthony

Isabella Nightingale, our Ethernet cables maven, blends style with functionality in networking. Follow her blogs for the latest trends, ensuring your setup is both chic and efficient.

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