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I have Cat 5 running in 3 rooms in my house, but how do I make sure its always running at 100MB? I want to build a server with all the media(videos,music,etc)Right now runs at 10MB with it is not fast enough for video viewing, anyone care to explain their setup
 

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Connection speed is a function of the cable AND the devices (hubs, switches and network interface cards (NIC)) connected at each end.


To be 100% 100MB, the NIC at each computer need to be capable of running at 100Mbs.


Cabling should be a home run from each NIC to a 100Mbs capable switch.


It is possible to cascade switches if an insufficient number of ports are available at a location, but then the bandwidth between the switches will be shared for traffic crossing that link.


Wireless bridges can also be used along with your 100MBs wired lan, but the connection speed there will be limited to 11MBs for 802.11b or 54MBs for 802.11g


Most broadband connections that I have seen with cable/dsl modems only go to 10MB, but the switch should be able to handle 10Mbs and 100Mbs, so you would connect the broadband connection to your NAT enabled firewall and then the firewall to the switch.


Improper termination, marginal cable and EMI can all contribute to slowdowns due to excessive retries.
 

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The only way I know to be certain that your network is running at a particular speed, albeit 100 MHz, 350MHz or higher is to have your network certified. Many residential contractors do not have the CAT5 certification tester as new ones can cost in excess of 7k and older, used meters cost over 3500k. You pay a contractor to test per drop ( connection ) and it the price ranges from 250-450 per drop. Businesses almost always have it written into their data contracts that each network connection be certified but most residential customers do not want or often do not need certification. If all you are connecting to is a gateway with a max speed of 1.5MBS a 10baseT network will work fine. But as you point out the time is fast approaching when we will be using home networks for more and more applications and bandwidth limitations will be an issue.


In all honesty we purchased a CAT5 tester not to certify data connections but because we run video over CAT5 and the only way to tell for sure why one has a problem is to take the measurements CAT5 certification test equipment.


Jim Hughes has ably explained how to wire and terminate such a network. I hope this response answers the rest of your question.


Alan
 
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