Category 7 cabling was ratified in 2002 in the ISO/IEC 11801 standard. Designed to meet strict Class F channel specifications for crosstalk and interference, it was a fully shielded S/FTP cable with foil shielding surrounding individual pairs and an outer braided shield surrounding all four pairs. Operating at 600 MHz, Category 7 was primarily introduced to support 10 Gigabit Ethernet over 100 meters. However, it’s interesting to note that the 10 Gig Ethernet over copper standard, or 10GBASE-T, wasn’t even published by IEEE until 2006!
2002 also proved to be a busy year within TIA. The ratification of Category 6 in June of that year was an event that the industry deemed a major milestone since it took nearly five years to complete and overcame several technical challenges to support Gigabit Ethernet. Right around that time, TIA also published the 607-A grounding and bonding standard and the 606-A administration standard, which gave us the much-needed guidelines for labeling everything from outlets and cables, to consolidation points, busbars and even firestop locations, and they published
While it likely had a little something to do with being such a busy year within TIA (there were also several other lesser-known standards published that year), Category 7 was simply ahead of its time, and with no application yet requiring it, TIA decided to not recognize Category 7. Hence, it saw little to no traction in the North American marketplace. There were however plenty of Category 7 deployments in countries like Switzerland and Germany where shielded cabling is the de facto standard due to tougher EMC regulations.