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post #1 of 33 Old 01-12-2011, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I have question that I am hoping the form can help me with.

I would like to run network cable throughout my home. Two runs would be for HDMI distribution using Monoprice powered extenders. The longest run would be about 60 feet and would be in wall, so it would come into at least some contact with other electrical wiring. With that said, I am trying to consider if I should purchase cat5e STP (Shielded) or Cat6 (Shielded). Cat6 is more expensive and I am wondering if it is really needed for home use. I know it can reach higher speeds, but I am really wondering if it is overkill.

At this time I think I will purchase either the 5 or 6 are pre-set lengths vs. bulk and then try to put the ends on myself. I heard that it can be more difficult with shielded....any thoughts?

Thank you,
Stephen
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post #2 of 33 Old 01-12-2011, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smdavis1004 View Post

I have question that I am hoping the form can help me with.

I would like to run network cable throughout my home. Two runs would be for HDMI distribution using Monoprice powered extenders. The longest run would be about 60 feet and would be in wall, so it would come into at least some contact with other electrical wiring. With that said, I am trying to consider if I should purchase cat5e STP (Shielded) or Cat6 (Shielded). Cat6 is more expensive and I am wondering if it is really needed for home use. I know it can reach higher speeds, but I am really wondering if it is overkill.

At this time I think I will purchase either the 5 or 6 are pre-set lengths vs. bulk and then try to put the ends on myself. I heard that it can be more difficult with shielded....any thoughts?

Thank you,
Stephen

Shielded cable must be properly bonded so if you have no prior experience this could make things more challenging for you. In a home situation it would be unusual to need shielded cable. Interference comes from sources like fluorescent lighting, strong emi and rfi emitters, etc. Not the type of things you will come into contact with in the walls of your home.

Cat6 is basically more future proof than cat5e but currently all of the network gear you would be dealing with would be madder at 1gbps so either will give the same performance.
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post #3 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 08:22 AM
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When the new "green" gigabit switches first came out- some users complained that their switches ran very hot- other said theirs ran at normal temps. I recall reading that the new "green" gigabit switches do not run in low power mode when pushing gb speeds over cat5/cat5e therefore they create more heat and run hot. Cat6 cables allow the switches to push gb speeds in low power mode which lowers heat creation and power consumption.

But... cat6 uses cat6 specific connectors, and the actual cable may be thicker than cat5 because of the thicker insulation required in cat6 cable. Also, to achieve cat6 benefits.... all your jumpers/patch cables must be cat6 too.

I think if I had to run cables in my house again- I'd run cat6 just as insurance/futureproofing.

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post #4 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

When the new "green" gigabit switches first came out- some users complained that their switches ran very hot- other said theirs ran at normal temps. I recall reading that the new "green" gigabit switches do not run in low power mode when pushing gb speeds over cat5/cat5e therefore they create more heat and run hot. Cat6 cables allow the switches to push gb speeds in low power mode which lowers heat creation and power consumption.

But... cat6 uses cat6 specific connectors, and the actual cable may be thicker than cat5 because of the thicker insulation required in cat6 cable. Also, to achieve cat6 benefits.... all your jumpers/patch cables must be cat6 too.

I think if I had to run cables in my house again- I'd run cat6 just as insurance/futureproofing.

The data switch cannot detect or choose it's power saving mode based on the type of wiring from anything I have ever seen.

My house is wired with CAT5e and my 24 port D-Link green switch uses about 11 watts to keep 12 ports up and actively running all but three with gigabit connections.

The way that it reports power saving is by detecting the length of the cable and figuring out how far down it can ratchet the power and still provide full gigabit speeds.

CAT6 actually has more twists per meter so if anything it could be detected as a longer cable and actually result in the network switch having to bump up the power level on that port.

Bottom line, if I was running new cable in a home it would be CAT6 but there is absolutely no need for shielded cable of either the CAT5e or CAT6 variety in a home installation. Just use a decent quality in-wall rated cable and you will be fine.
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post #5 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 08:49 AM
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I have Cat5e in my walls and run gigabit throughout without issues

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post #6 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

The data switch cannot detect or choose it's power saving mode based on the type of wiring from anything I have ever seen.

The way that it reports power saving is by detecting the length of the cable and figuring out how far down it can ratchet the power and still provide full gigabit speeds.

Yeah exactly, it calculates the cable length- it doesn't know the real cable length... so for whatever reason- some of the "green" switches calculate the cat5 run to be longer than it actually is, and runs it at full power for gigabit speeds. It does the same with all the other cat5 runs connected to it- so it's no longer "green" as it's running at full power all the time.

I'm not making this up- I'm just reporting what I read from the product reviews and on the networking forums before I bought several "green" switches.

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post #7 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I was running cat5e about 35 feet using the hdmi extenders. Everything worked fine, but then, when I can it through the soffits in the home theater it was near other electrical wiring and speaker wires. At that point, I wasn't getting a clear signal, so, I was assuming it was because it wasn't shielded. If shielded doesn't really matter, then I may be having another problem.

With all that said, when you say that shielded must be properly bonded, are you talking about adding the connectors? I thought it used the same rj45 connectors...am I missing something?

Thank you,
Stephen
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post #8 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smdavis1004 View Post

I was running cat5e about 35 feet using the hdmi extenders. Everything worked fine, but then, when I can it through the soffits in the home theater it was near other electrical wiring and speaker wires. At that point, I wasn't getting a clear signal, so, I was assuming it was because it wasn't shielded. If shielded doesn't really matter, then I may be having another problem.

With all that said, when you say that shielded must be properly bonded, are you talking about adding the connectors? I thought it used the same rj45 connectors...am I missing something?

Thank you,
Stephen

It is likely that it was something else. I have run HDMI extender over CAT5e where I ran it directly over multiple 110V 15 amp circuits and did not have a problem. I suppose it is possible though.

When I say you have to bond the connectors, what I mean is that for the shielding to work, the shield on the cable must be attached to the connector. If you use a "regular" RJ45 connector you just defeated the entire point of shielding. The shielding has to connect to the bonded connector at both ends to actually do anything.

To see an example of a shielded RJ45 head, look here;

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

Anyways, shielding is more trouble than it is worth in my humble opinion. Your noise problem could have just as easily been caused by bad termination on one of the cable pairs.
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post #9 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help - and very quick as well.

I purchase nearly all my networking through monoprice so I think I will go ahead and buy the regular cat5e or 6 unshielded and be done with it (the kind that is already terminated) this way I don't make any mistakes.

With that said, I didn't see on monoprice a wall plate for an already terminated cable. So if I pull the cable through the wall, is there a wall plate I could plug to so that I just don't have wires sticking out of the wall? Does that make sense?

How many feet should the cat5e or 6 be away from any electrical wire? 1 foot, would that do?
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post #10 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 06:29 PM
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The distance between the network cable and power cables should not be much of a concern. In many newer homes under construction they run the power and network along the same studs. So I would not worry about that too much.

I have not seen any wall plates that have a modular coupler built into them. You could probably get a blank wall plate and just cut a small hole for the cable if you are really worried about terminating it yourself. If you do decide to do it right with keystone jacks and such buy bulk cable, not patch cords.
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post #11 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I really appreciate your help.

Okay, I just noticed on the cat5 that I was "testing" was old wire with at not even cat5e but just cat5. I had a bunch of it that my father gave me....that could have been one issue.

Sounds like you had good luck with cat5e.....from a price standpoint, it is cheaper to buy the bulk and terminate my own ends then I could connect them to a keystone jack. But, I believe you stated that if you were running again that cat6 would probably be your choice. Do you think the cat6 unshielded will work just fine and do you terminate the ends just like you would with cat5e?

How many feet did you run your HDMI?
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post #12 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 07:51 PM
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If HDMI is all you are worried about, then CAT5e is all you are ever going to need. Myself personally I am a data hog and I want the fastest network I can have in my home. We will probably see 10Gbps home networks in another 5 or so years at reasonable prices, but it will require CAT6.

I ran my HDMI extender around 10 meters if I recall correctly, it uses two bonded CAT5e interface connections and is working fine up to 1080p.
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post #13 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 09:29 PM
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The price difference between 5e and 6 is negligible compared to the effort and time of actually running the cables, and more importantly, of trying to change it at a later date. I used Monoprice regular bulk Cat 6 through my walls recently and they worked perfectly.
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post #14 of 33 Old 01-13-2011, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Based on past conversations, the shield cat6 is hard to deal with and must be bonded correctly. Did you use unshielded cat6 from Monoprice?

I was thinking I just purchasing the pre-cut and made cat6 unshielded so I would not have to deal with putting the ends together. However, one negative of that is that when I run it through the wall, I will not be able to terminate it at wall plate (if I am using the pre-cut kind). I would just have ugly wires hanging out.

I think based on what everyone is saying I am safe to go with cat6 unshielded. Monoprice recommended shielded but that may be because they are trying to sale the more expensive wiring.

Again, I will running one run for internet, two for HDMI and I was thinking a 4th for future use (if needed).
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post #15 of 33 Old 01-14-2011, 05:36 AM
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Even in an office environment shielded cable is very unusual, at least in the DC area. Although it is common for most military clients(The Navy always seems to use it in their office buildings). It's also a PITA to deal with.

At home I've been running gigabit over Cat5e since late 2001, but if I were going to put new copper runs in now, I would put some Cat6 wiring in that is specified to be able to handle 10GigE for at least short distances, like 80 feet to future proof myself.

Termination of the ends is pretty easy with a good termination tool. Plus it is much easer to run the cables without preterminated ends. And if the end gets damaged during install you would need to cut it off anyway and reterminate.

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post #16 of 33 Old 01-14-2011, 07:48 AM
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CAT5 is all you need for gigabit. 5e is more than sufficient. CAT6 only if its the same price as CAT5e. Not a dime more.

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post #17 of 33 Old 01-14-2011, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dnoyeB View Post

CAT5 is all you need for gigabit. 5e is more than sufficient. CAT6 only if its the same price as CAT5e. Not a dime more.

I thought cat5 wasn't sufficient for gigabit. I have old cat5 wiring from the 2nd floor bedrooms going up to the attic and then down to the basement patch panel. I can't get gigabit speeds for these rooms even though I can for the ground floor and basement where i did run cat6.
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post #18 of 33 Old 01-14-2011, 11:50 AM
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gigabit requires CAT5e. You can often 'get away' with using CAT5 if the cable is decent quality and the runs are short.

Remember that to meet specs you need to be able to run cable 100 meters and get full speed connections. CAT5 usually can't meet this requirement for gigabit, hence the need for CAT5e.
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post #19 of 33 Old 01-14-2011, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

gigabit requires CAT5e. You can often 'get away' with using CAT5 if the cable is decent quality and the runs are short.

To expand on this: There really wasn't any physical difference between Cat5 and Cat5e. The difference is only in the specifications.

The Cat5e specifications were simply the Cat5 specifications with some additional parameters that needed to be met in order to insure gigabit rates. There were no changes made to the cable itself, just to the tests that it had to pass.

Therefore, manufacturers of higher quality cable only had to change the labeling on their box (after passing those additional tests). So much of the Cat5 out there will work for gigabit.

But 10gig gear is available now (at a price), so I would be inclined to go for unshielded Cat6. The future is hard to avoid.
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post #20 of 33 Old 01-14-2011, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

To expand on this: There really wasn't any physical difference between Cat5 and Cat5e. The difference is only in the specifications.

The Cat5e specifications were simply the Cat5 specifications with some additional parameters that needed to be met in order to insure gigabit rates. There were no changes made to the cable itself, just to the tests that it had to pass.

Therefore, manufacturers of higher quality cable only had to change the labeling on their box (after passing those additional tests). So much of the Cat5 out there will work for gigabit.

But 10gig gear is available now (at a price), so I would be inclined to go for unshielded Cat6. The future is hard to avoid.

My network buddies concur with this. /\\ Also they say that you can't field terminate Cat 6 to Cat 6 standards, so unless you're buying specific factory terminated cables, it is really Cat 5e.

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post #21 of 33 Old 01-14-2011, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tony Rox View Post

My network buddies concur with this. /\\ Also they say that you can't field terminate Cat 6 to Cat 6 standards, so unless you're buying specific factory terminated cables, it is really Cat 5e.

That would be unusual since the Cat6 my company installs is field terminated and tested to cat6 specs and Commscope gives a warranty based on our certification with them.

We use Fluke DTX1800 testers for certification with our field copper and fiber terminations.

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post #22 of 33 Old 01-15-2011, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Rox View Post

My network buddies concur with this. /\\ Also they say that you can't field terminate Cat 6 to Cat 6 standards, so unless you're buying specific factory terminated cables, it is really Cat 5e.

I'm in networking too and I agree with you... most CAT 6 cables are really CAT 5e... CAT6a (tested and certified) are the real CAT6 - at least from what I encountered and tested... don't believe me just cut up a CAT6 cable and cut up a CAT 5e cable and compare - they are exactly the same in most cases... but if you cut up a real CAT6 (particulary CAT6A) you'll see a big difference - Real CAT6 cables are heavier too...

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post #23 of 33 Old 01-15-2011, 05:06 AM
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The twist of the internal wires is what varies between cat6 and 5e. cat6 is twisted tighter, so there is more copper per foot although the gauge of the wire is the same.

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post #24 of 33 Old 01-15-2011, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by sgvroadster View Post

I'm in networking too and I agree with you... most CAT 6 cables are really CAT 5e... CAT6a (tested and certified) are the real CAT6 - at least from what I encountered and tested... don't believe me just cut up a CAT6 cable and cut up a CAT 5e cable and compare - they are exactly the same in most cases... but if you cut up a real CAT6 (particulary CAT6A) you'll see a big difference - Real CAT6 cables are heavier too...

Yeah, but that might mean makers would be selling 5e that failed 6 testing. Also I think there are physical differences.

To get it straight there is 5, 5e, 6, and then 5e shielded and 6 shielded.
The difference in price between 5e and 6 is negligible, and where labor is a big concern like in wall I personally would go with 6 over 5e. Shielded would be more of an issue f you have runs close and parallel to power runs. Wile terminations are second nature to experts, I think for the amateur like perhaps the OP and myself much more care has to be taken on couplings and terminations
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post #25 of 33 Old 01-15-2011, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by sgvroadster View Post

I'm in networking too and I agree with you... most CAT 6 cables are really CAT 5e... CAT6a (tested and certified) are the real CAT6 - at least from what I encountered and tested... don't believe me just cut up a CAT6 cable and cut up a CAT 5e cable and compare - they are exactly the same in most cases... but if you cut up a real CAT6 (particulary CAT6A) you'll see a big difference - Real CAT6 cables are heavier too...

It might depend on the brand. The type we use from Commscope on our government contracts, Systimax, ranges from 40 cents a foot to 80 cents or more a foot when bought in bulk depending on the version. Their higher end Cat6 is built to higher specs than their lower end. But when we certify the cable to Cat6 specs, if we were to run the same test on a Cat5e cable, the Cat5e cable will fail the test.
With Generic Cat6 that only costs 10 cents a foot, it might be a little different. But on our government contarcts they won't use the inexpesnive generic Cat6. They would rather pay five to ten times as much per foot for the Commscope Systimax Cat6 and the longterm warranty the give. It all seems like a joke though with how much they are willing to spend. Those high bulk prices are my companies cost. It's marked up a lot before the government agencies pay for it.

Ands what's even worse, no one is running anything faster than gigabit on the expensive Cat6, with the vast majority of the network barely even needing 100mbps speeds.
They do run 10GigE on Fiber, which of course is another thing that is very expensive from Commscope. Much of that is also field terminated, which is a pain when dealing with a couple thousand strands. It's very hard on my eyes now.

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post #26 of 33 Old 01-16-2011, 01:11 AM
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It might depend on the brand. The type we use from Commscope on our government contracts, Systimax, ranges from 40 cents a foot to 80 cents or more a foot when bought in bulk depending on the version. Their higher end Cat6 is built to higher specs than their lower end. But when we certify the cable to Cat6 specs, if we were to run the same test on a Cat5e cable, the Cat5e cable will fail the test.
With Generic Cat6 that only costs 10 cents a foot, it might be a little different. But on our government contarcts they won't use the inexpesnive generic Cat6. They would rather pay five to ten times as much per foot for the Commscope Systimax Cat6 and the longterm warranty the give. It all seems like a joke though with how much they are willing to spend. Those high bulk prices are my companies cost. It's marked up a lot before the government agencies pay for it.

Ands what's even worse, no one is running anything faster than gigabit on the expensive Cat6, with the vast majority of the network barely even needing 100mbps speeds.
They do run 10GigE on Fiber, which of course is another thing that is very expensive from Commscope. Much of that is also field terminated, which is a pain when dealing with a couple thousand strands. It's very hard on my eyes now.

Wow... your company has those machines that cost a few thousand dollars to test the CAT cables?!

I don't mind paying extra for real CAT6 cables either - especially for government contracts you can't joke around with fake or generic CAT6 that might not be real either...

Cheers!

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post #27 of 33 Old 01-18-2011, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by lpw View Post

I thought cat5 wasn't sufficient for gigabit. I have old cat5 wiring from the 2nd floor bedrooms going up to the attic and then down to the basement patch panel. I can't get gigabit speeds for these rooms even though I can for the ground floor and basement where i did run cat6.

CAT5 will work just fine. I run it from my basement to my 2nd floor and I run Gigabit. I have to admit that several years back when I first switched to gigabit, the hardware was much more sensitive to the wiring. Some of it kept failing to negotiate any speed and wouldn't link unless I forced 100mB. Today it seems much more lenient.

Also, be sure to use all 4 pairs for gigabit.

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post #28 of 33 Old 01-19-2011, 11:02 AM
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Wow... your company has those machines that cost a few thousand dollars to test the CAT cables?!

..............

Those are standard testers in the industry. Even the two subcontractors my division uses has a couple of them.
You need a good tester that is quick and can create a nice looking hard copy for the client.

When dealing with thousands of fiber strands and thousands of copper cabling on a job, a tester that only takes ten seconds makes a big difference over a cheaper one that can might take 30 seconds to complete each test.

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post #29 of 33 Old 01-22-2011, 03:48 PM
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Who makes quality Cat6 that isn't hugely expensive if not Monoprice (which seems to be a "go-to" source around here)?

Any other suggestions?

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post #30 of 33 Old 01-22-2011, 07:01 PM
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I work for a school system and we have gigabit running across miles and miles of standard Cat5 that was installed in the late-90s. We have runs up to the 100-meter limit for Cat5 and gigabit runs fine across them. We rarely have an issue, occasionally have to re-terminate a jack if the installer untwisted the pairs a little too far. We have never had to re-terminate a patch panel though. All switches are HP Procurve 5400's and 2910's.

New installs are getting 5e of course, but we have not installed any 6 up until this point since the price is still a little high for us.
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