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How to Choose Between Plenum and Riser Rated Cables

Due to a lack of knowledge, are you having trouble deciding between plenum-rated and riser rated cables? If this is the case, stop worrying and read this article thoroughly before making a decision. Cat5e Riser & Plenum, Cat6 Riser & Plenum, and Cat6a Riser & Plenum are all examples of riser and plenum cables.

What is a Riser Cable?

CMR stands for Communications Multipurpose Cable, Riser Rated Cables, and a cable with the “CMR” mark on its jacket is classified as riser-rated cable. These cables’ jackets are made of high-quality polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These cables have been designed specifically for use in the building’s riser spaces. You can use a riser-rated cable for outdoor installations due to the presence of good quality jacket material, but it cannot be reversed. Some of the most commonly used riser-rated ethernet cables are Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a.

What Is Plenum Cable?

Plenum cables are defined as ethernet cables with the “CMP” mark on their jackets; CMP stands for Communications Multipurpose Cable, Plenum. It’s worth noting that a CMP rating for ethernet cable jacket material is the highest rating available. These cables are used to install in the plenum spaces of buildings, as their name implies.

The empty spaces between the floors or ceilings that serve as air circulation pathways are known as plenum spaces. There is a potential risk of fire eruption here because the air circulation is better and oxygen is present in a better ratio. Also, if a fire breaks out in any part of the building, plenum spaces can act as a conduit for the fire to spread more quickly. Plenum-rated cables are installed in these spaces to address this issue.

The plenum-rated cables act as a fire-retardant, putting an end to the spread of the fire. These ethernet cables also do not emit any hazardous elements or gases when exposed to fire. These cables are also UV-resistant. CMP-rated ethernet cables are of such high quality that they can also be used in riser and outdoor spaces. It is, however, irreversible.

What does “Cat” mean?

The numerical value represents the generation, and the Cat stands for Category. Cat5e cable, for example, is from the fifth generation of Ethernet cables, whereas Cat6 is from the sixth generation. The more recent the generation, the greater the bandwidth capabilities, data transfer rates, and crosstalk and EMI protection.

Plenum or Riser: Which Cable is best for you?

It is solely dependent on one factor: the amount of space available in the building where the cable will be installed. If you install ethernet cables in plenum spaces of buildings, for example, you will use plenum-rated cable (Cat5e Plenum Cable, Cat6 plenum cable, Cat6a plenum cable).

You’ll need a riser-rated cable, which has the CMR mark on the outer surface of its jacket, if you’re going to install ethernet cable in the riser spaces of buildings.

The specifications of these Riser Rated Cables are the same as before. A Cat5e Riser cable and a Cat5e Plenum cable, for example, will have the same bandwidth and data transfer rates. Furthermore, due to their thick coatings, both cables offer excellent protection against all types of crosstalk, including near-end crosstalk (NEXT), alien-crosstalk (AXT), and electromagnetic interference (EMI), ensuring signal strength and data integrity. The jacket material is the only difference between the two cables.

You can use a plenum-rated cable in riser spaces as well, but this has a cost disadvantage: plenum-rated cables are typically much more expensive than riser-rated cables. So there’s no reason to spend more money when there’s another option available.

Both plenum and riser ethernet cables meet FCC, CE, CSE, ISO/IES, and RoHS, TIA/EIA regulations in terms of standards. Furthermore, these cables can withstand harsh environments while maintaining data integrity.

It’ll teach you everything you need to know about plenum and riser ethernet cables. We hope this article has provided you with an answer to your question.


Plenum and riser rated cables are both used in building and construction. One might think that they are the same thing with a different name, but this is far from the truth. Both serve a specific purpose and both have a specific environment where they are used. Is one better than the other? Both have their pros and cons, but generally speaking riser rated cables are more popular and often work better depending on the situation.

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