Wiring for a home - Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a?

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by ZLoth, Nov 26, 2018.

Which network wiring solution should I go with?

Poll closed Dec 3, 2018.
  1. Cat 5e Cable (fits present needs, cheapest)

    3 vote(s)
    12.0%
  2. Cat 6 Cable

    10 vote(s)
    40.0%
  3. Cat 6a Cable (most expensive)

    12 vote(s)
    48.0%
  1. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    Well, in getting the best you can, I meant in terms of copper. Fibre isn't bad if you're just going to get pre-terminated stuff and run it, but otherwise that's a different animal.
     
  2. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    I think that's perfectly possible depending on how large the data size is. And if you have 6/6a in the walls, change the terminators and the switch and it's more than possible.
     
  3. acquacow

    acquacow Limp Gawd

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    I had a spare 800ft spool of cat5e in my garage, so I did my whole home network with that.

    I run 10gige across it just fine and can easily saturate it with each of my PCs.

    I also have FreeNAS wired into this setup and I actually do nightly rsyncs of all my data to it.

    So yes, it is perfectly in the cards right now and has been for some time.
     
  4. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    Interesting. In every conversation about 10g over copper that I've read, the idea of 10g over 5e is supposed to be a non-starter. Have you run iperf tests on each run? How long are the runs? Hmmm...maybe I can run 10g at my parents house after all?
     
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  5. Ranulfo

    Ranulfo [H]ard|Gawd

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    I vote 6A, simply because backing up my 4-5 systems with 50gb-150gb OS drives gets tedious across gigabit wires. Then when I want to back up 500gb+ game drives, 10g hardware seems far more worth it than say a $800 on a new video card. It all depends on your use case and how your house is setup for wiring. I think Moca will be a good option in the future and probably more robust than powerline networking. Pricey right now though.
     
  6. toast0

    toast0 Gawd

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    If you've got the cards anyway, it's worth a try. Ethernet specs are supposed to be bulletproof -- if you follow the spec, it should pretty much work barring installation near a radar (or whatever nasty interference source), most homes aren't going to have that much interference or crosstalk from a bundle of 100 cables next to each other, and you're probably not running 100 meter runs either. The biggest problem you'll run into is that ethernet autonegotiation runs at 1mbps, so it will work, but the negotiated speed might not; I think this likely changed with the multigig cards, and also some drivers seem to be able to downgrade automatically, but unmanaged switches probably won't and dodgy cables gives unreliability between them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  7. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    I hear you, but the cable spec for 10g is only 55m and the cabling must be 6a. How are you doing that on 5e?
     
  8. Meeho

    Meeho [H]ardness Supreme

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    It's 100 m on 6A.
     
  9. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    Moca is basically the same cost as powerline if you know where to look. But speeds right now are at best gigabit. The new Moca 2.5 standard pushes the capability up to 2.5g, but there's no retail products atm, and I personally think we'll only see them when there's more of the traditional network devices in 2.5g.
     
  10. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    This is correct. I was thinking about the distance over cat 6. Still, there is no spec for 10g over 5e, so how's that possible?:confused:
     
  11. Eickst

    Eickst [H]ard|Gawd

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    The nic doesn't know what kind of cable is there. If the signal is good enough it's good enough

    The farther you go with 5e and try to do 10gbps the less likely it is to work. I do 10gbps at my house with 6a in the walls and 5e patch cables from the wall to the PC.
     
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  12. acquacow

    acquacow Limp Gawd

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    10gige syncs just fine on cat5 if the run is 50ft or shorter.
    100ft or shorter for cat6
    Then I think like 350ft for cat6e shielded (if I remember correctly)

    None of the runs in my house are longer than 45ft, so cat5 worked just fine.

    I have run iperf and I do max out around 1GB/sec. File transfers are just fine over it:
    38kHl10.png N5Blp1x.png
     
  13. EniGmA1987

    EniGmA1987 Limp Gawd

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    cat6 can actually run 10GbE to a bit past 150ft total for the run for the official spec
    There is no real cat6e standard, just manufacturers wanting to sell cable at a higher price that they tested to a ever so slightly higher standard than other cat6. See the note at the bottom of this post.
    Cat6A is the real standard, and it can do 10GbE out to 330ft for the total run distance.
    Cat7 is not an official standard from the same body that we talk about these other category cables
    Cat8 just came out in both 8.1 and 8.2 standards, and while the interconnection spec requires 1600mhz, the cables are built to 2000mhz. So the official spec is 40gbps since each pair is spec'ed at 10gbps, but the cable is tested and rated for 50gbps.

    All cables can of course run beyond their official spec in some circumstances depending on many different factors. But if everything is done to spec, those are the minimum guaranteed speeds.


     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  14. Nicklebon

    Nicklebon Gawd

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    I can't believe this is still being discussed. The highest cost part of this job is the fixed price of pulling the cable. It was clear that this was a retro fit so conduit is right out. The next highest cost will be terminating the cable and the bulk of that cost will again be labour. You people that are getting caught up on materials cost are WAY off base. There will be some differences in materials, more so on connectors than cable but compared to the labour cost these differences are tiny. OP the answer is 6a as that is the best cable reasonably available to you at this time. You will never regret going the better route though you may regret going the lessor route. To paraphrase your requirement .... once and done. End of story.
     
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  15. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    Ooooo, this is tempting. As 10Gb copper nics have come down in price, it's very feasible to get a pair and see what jacks support what.

    Of course, I'll need something capable of sending and receiving that type of data too. :ROFLMAO:

    Thank you for the first hand feedback. The cable we put in the walls in the mid-1990s was guaranteed to 400Mhz, so hopefully a few runs might make it. (y)
     
  16. acquacow

    acquacow Limp Gawd

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    I just landed 3 aquantia 10gig nics for $90 total 3 weeks ago over on Serve The Home.

    Everything in my house is 10gige now except for the laptops...and they DO have external 10gige dongles for those now...

    Also Mikrotik now has a cheap 10gige switch:


    -- Dave
     
  17. Eickst

    Eickst [H]ard|Gawd

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    That is hard to beat for $110......a lot easier than setting up point to points with 10gb nics.....I may have to get one of those to test with
     
  18. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    Ah, I saw you get those cards and that's what started to get me thinking about 10g...but then the wiring made me forget about it until now. :)

    Yeah there's a deal on the external copper ones by ocz in the hot deals forum for around $130 if I'm remembering it right.

    I think I'll make the leap next year when things are even cheaper. :D
     
  19. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Gawd

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    Seems OK for what it is. Basically a 10 Gb answer to the venerable Netgear GS105. Still somewhat pricey. I would have expected a managed unit for that price.

    Still waiting for larger, lower-powered (and lower heat/fan noise) managed switches (need VLANs at the least) to become a reasonably-priced thing before I start to go in on 10 Gb.
     
  20. acquacow

    acquacow Limp Gawd

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    Switch-wise at home, I went with the Netgear XS708T.
     
  21. EniGmA1987

    EniGmA1987 Limp Gawd

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    If you dont care about managed switch for vlan use, Netgear has a switch for $200 with a pair of 10gbe ports and another 8 regular gigabit:
    https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Ethernet-Unmanaged-Multi-Gig-Protection/dp/B076642YPN
    It works well for a home if all you want is a fast connection between your main PC and a server or NAS with the rest of the traffic being normal stuff.

    Spend another $50 and you get vlan, port mirroring, and igmp snoop:
    https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Ethernet-Unmanaged-Multi-Gig-Protection/dp/B0765ZPY18?th=1
     
  22. HammerSandwich

    HammerSandwich [H]ard|Gawd

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    If you're okay with only 2x 10Gb ports, Mikrotik CSS/CRS326 are worth a look. 24x Gbe ports with VLANs for a bit less than those Netgears.
     
  23. ZLoth

    ZLoth Gawd

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    Just as an update....

    While I have not purchased a home yet, it appears that the Internet Service Provider will be capable of providing up to 960Mbps down/35 Mbps (?) up. Yes, I can feel the need for speed.

    The plan is to install Cat 6a cable in the house at this point. The price premium that I will pay at this point will be offset by the capability to have 10GB at a much future date. However, I will be primarily configuring the network for 1GB networking. That means rack, patch panel, rack switch, and rack UPS. My idea of transferring my FreeNAS system to a rack case is short circuited because of the depth of the case, so it will remain in it's Fractal Design 804 case.

    I already do daily backups on a 1GB network. Usually, when I'm sleeping, The slowest factor is going to be hard drives, and, at the consumer level, the latest SSD is 4TB at $700 per drive. In comparison, the largest NAS drive available is a 14TB drive at $500 per drive. Now, do the math. On a NAS, more than likely, you aren't looking for speed, you are looking at being able to store files at a archive level and have those files accessible from multiple computers. And, those NAS systems will be as fast as the slowest component which can be either network or hard drives.
     
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  24. grasshoppa

    grasshoppa [H]ard|Gawd

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    Er..."depends".

    I've got 4 of these in a raid 5 setup: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AV168FS/ref=twister_B074X5WXZQ?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1, I'm routinely hitting 200MB/s, especially on sequential writes. On consumer NASes, the slowest component is often the CPU, but I wouldn't expect to hit that limit with those drives on a gigabit setup ( although you might hit it if you use ssh as the transfer protocol ).
     
  25. bds1904

    bds1904 Gawd

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    Why does everyone forget:

    10GBaseT is rated to run on cat5e for 45 Meters

    Cat6 is is only rated for 55 meters10gb and Cat6a is 100 meters

    Bottom line? Cat6 is useless over cat5 and the majority of runs of cat5e will carry 10GBaseT just fine. Most runs of cat5e in houses 2000sq ft or less are 100ft or less.

    Good choice on the cat6a cable, just had to add the actual specs so people remember cat5e runs 10gb just fine on shorter runs.
     
  26. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Gawd

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    No, it isn't. 10 Gb ethernet over copper has never officially been rated on and certified for anything less than Cat6a cabling. (Guidelines and expectations have been published for Cat6, but it's not certified for it.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10_Gigabit_Ethernet#10GBASE-T

    Sure, various people may have gotten 10 Gb to run over Cat 5e cabling to the cited distances. Unfortunately, those reports have become "truth". But those are in no way official and installs may vary, especially when you start bundling multiple runs together and inter-cable crosstalk becomes an issue (also true of Cat6). That 45 m number is probably a best-case lab run. Real-life, I'd be surprised if you'd see 10 Gb over Cat5e get farther than 20-something m.

    And Cat6 isn't necessarily useless relative to Cat5e. 5 Gb ethernet is certified to run on it to the full 100 m, Cat 5e is only certified to the 2.5 Gb standard.
     
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  27. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I'd argue the difference in cabling price is small.

    Get the latest and greatest, as those wires will be in your walls for a long time. You don't want to regret it or have to re-route the wiring. It's a nasty job. I wouldn't want to do it twice.
     
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  28. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    That is incorrect. 10GBaseT is not rated for use on Cat 5e at all. It is rated for 100m ClassEa on Cat 6a or Cat 7, and 55M ClassE on Cat 6, but it is not rated for anything below Cat6.

    Some may find it works over shorter distances on Cat 5e, and some vendors even put it in their specs, but there is nothing in the standard for anything below Category 6.

    In my own testing it works sometimes over short runs of Cat5e, but it is rare. Most of the time it just drops to gigabit on older 10GBaseT adapters. If you have a newer adapter on both ends that supports 2.5 and 5Gbit it may drop to one of those, rather than drop all the way to gigabit. Long story short, it's a crapshoot at best, if you want full 10G speeds.
     
  29. SamirD

    SamirD 2[H]4U

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    And the reason 10Gb may be working on 5e is not because of 5e's specification supporting it, but more likely because cable manufacturers are exceeding 5e specs by enough of a margin that 10Gb works somewhat. I wouldn't trust it, and I'd run the best cabling you can get in the walls if you can't put in conduit or don't intend on re-running the cabling later.
     
  30. ZLoth

    ZLoth Gawd

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    Just as an update.... on Tuesday, I am having my home wired for Cat 6 cable. The runs are short enough that I don't need Cat 6A, however, at the moment, I'm going to run a 1 Gbps network. My Internet connection is a up to 940Mbps connection.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
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  31. tedych

    tedych Limp Gawd

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    1GB is almost 10 Gbit , so yes, you may need 6A.
    Also I've heard of also 10Gbit (~940MB) internet somewhere and may I ask what do you do with 10Gbit internet?
     
  32. FNtastic

    FNtastic [H]ard|Gawd

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    Anything he wants!
     
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  33. Eickst

    Eickst [H]ard|Gawd

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    We have dual 10gb lines at work. Yes you can do almost anything
     
  34. ZLoth

    ZLoth Gawd

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    For most of my applications, the 1000Mps is more than adequate, especially if you are streaming media from a Plex Media Server. However, being prepared for a 10 gig connection is great from a desktop computer to a NAS server, especially when transferring large files with the limiting factor being the speed of the hard drives. Unfortunately, 10 gig switches are extremely expensive at the moment.
     
  35. acquacow

    acquacow Limp Gawd

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    $200-$500 for a switch is pretty reasonable. Heck, a fully managed 10gig switch is only $700.
     
  36. tedych

    tedych Limp Gawd

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    If everything in your home is 10Gig Ok, but I doubt it. If you only need to connect a desktop and a NAS/server for high speed transfers, peer to peer is the best route. Even up to three machines is reasonable to build on p2p - every machine would have 2 10gig NICs. It's even possible to build a switch by using some old computer where you put 2-3-4 10g nics :) . Could be cheaper but the electricity bill would be higher than with dedicated switch.
     
  37. ZLoth

    ZLoth Gawd

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    The network install was completed at 8 PM Tuesday evening. It's so nice not to have network cabling taped to the floor. Although they thought it was strange that I wanted eight network ports in the bedroom-turned-office, and no, I do not want a single line to a switch.
     
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  38. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Plenty of cheap switches with four 10Gbit SFP+ ports out there- and I believe Mikrotik has one that's just four SFP+ and will likely take their SFP+ to 10Gbase-T modules just fine, and neither are that expensive.
     
  39. Flybye

    Flybye Limp Gawd

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    I'm about to put a 6a cable going to a wifi router I'm going to install in the middle of the house. Because why not? 802.11 ax, ay, and az are soon coming
     
  40. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You can get access points with 2.5Gbase-T if you like. Hard to imagine a use case at home, but they do exist ;).