Asked Many Times, But...

FlipperBizkut

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
1,266
I'll ask again just to be sure...

Got a new house and want to run network cables. Here are some details:

Coming from central location housing the server (bedroom)
Runs to two other bedrooms (2 runs each) and living room (4 runs)
Potential runs to IP Security Cameras (PoE) (undetermined number of runs - 4 or less probably)


Will be using network mainly to shoot h.264 1080p BluRay Rips to each bedroom and living room, cable via HD Homerun Prime, internet, possible light file transfers. Extra runs to each location to serve any consoles, AVRs, BluRay players, etc.

The futureproofer in me says go cat6a. The realist in me says that by the time I need better than gigabit, fiber will likely be the way to go, so don't go cat6a. The cheapskate in me says that cat5e will be fine for my use case. The compromiser in me says to split the difference and get cat6.

I will also be doing the install myself and terminating the cables myself (both punchdown keystones and crimped cables).

Thoughts?
 

colinstu

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 11, 2007
Messages
3,563
Cat6a. It really doesn't cost much more, and helps futureproof / won't ever have to re-run new line if you ever had to.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
772
Cat 5e:
  • cat 6a is actually a fair bit more expensive. It's Cat 6 that's only slightly pricier. But...
  • Absolutely nothing calls for Cat 6. Yeah, it can be used for short runs at 10 Gb, but that distance shrinks when a number of cables are bundled together and crosstalk between them becomes an issue.
  • Cat 6a is more difficult to properly install. It's much more sensitive to how the cable is stripped and individual wires are untwisted when punching down to a keystone jack, panel, etc. It's also more sensitive to things you might not normally think about when doing a home install, such as bend radius. Do the install wrong, and you're network is no better off than having run Cat 5e, and it cost more. Cat 6a cable is also generally thicker, meaning it's more difficult to pull and fewer runs can be made to a given spot.
  • You are not actually future-proofing by installing Cat 6a. There's no guarantee that any future equipment you buy will support 10 Gb, and even if it does there's no guarantee it'll use copper. The only way to future-proof is to run conduit to make it easier to replace wiring as needed.
  • In a home environment, there's no application that really benefits from having greater that 1 Gb connectivity. No client/host at the far end of a run is going to benefit from greater capacity. Even multiple Blu-Ray streams can easily be carried by a single 1 Gb connection.
 

+Eric

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
128
Endless fight around here. But ROFL @ anyone who says that cat6a isn't much more expensive. Queue someone linking me to some garbage cabling from some shady site.....

Like said above, if you want to future proof, then run conduit so you can move to whatever is actually needed in the future. Cat6a however, is a waste.
 

scobar

.
Joined
Jan 2, 2001
Messages
34,315
I'd run 5e and call it good. We are in a wireless world, wtf are cables? No such thing as future proof.
 

evilsofa

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
10,078
Unless you have to run cables by a serious interference source of a sort you are unlikely to see in a home, it's all about distance.

5e can do 1 Gigabit out to 328 feet (100 meters). 6 can do 10 Gigabit to 164 feet. 6a can do 10 Gigabit to 328 feet.

If you have a house that requires runs longer than 150 feet, you wouldn't be in here concerned about the price of the cables. This would come more into play if you were providing Ethernet to another building on the property, and then you're opening a whole other can of worms where you should really be using fiber optic cable to avoid electrical imbalances which is serious business between buildings.

Subject to interference and cable quality, no promises, 5e might be able to do 10 Gigabit as far out as 131 feet (40 meters), so if your runs are shorter than that you may end up getting 10 Gigabit anyway with 5e.
 

FlipperBizkut

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
1,266
Thanks for the input. I think I'll just stick to 5e. It's only 8 runs anyway, so if I have to do it over again at some point, oh well. None of my gear is better than a gigabit, so I wouldn't be able to utilize the bandwidth of the higher end stuff anyway.

As far as the quality of the cable, I wonder if the ~20% premium spent for cat6 wouldn't more or less ensure a higher quality cable? By that, I guess I mean I'm wondering if bad cat6 wouldn't be the same or better than good cat5e? Not sure if that logic applies, but I'm rationalizing that the slowest i7 is still better than the fastest i3 type thing.

As far as cable source... Monoprice still the way to go?

Thanks!
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
772
As far as the quality of the cable, I wonder if the ~20% premium spent for cat6 wouldn't more or less ensure a higher quality cable?
Nope. Shitty manufacturers will make shitty cable regardless of grade. If they can't do Cat 5e right why would they be able to do Cat 6, which more is exact and sensitive to discrepancies, any better? In your analogy, swap out Intel for Realtek and see how you feel about it.

I've not tried the Monoprice stuff myself, but at least it's pure copper (not copper-clad aluminum) and is riser-rated. And Monoprice stuff is usually at least decent. Though it is substantially cheaper than what you might get from a known quality manufacturer like, for instance, Belden. Unless someone else can come up with a valid reason not to use it you'll probably be fine.
 
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