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Discussion Starter #1
What I don't understand is why everyone is still using, and recommending to others to run CAT 5 cables. I see the odd person saying they have used CAT5e but in this whole forum have only seen one other person who has stated they have wired with CAT6.


Personally, whether my cable is being used for data, phone, or even perhaps stereo audio with baluns, I still want it to be able to carry the signal, regardless of the source as fast and as efficiently as possible.


With the popularity of home networks, DVR's, PVR's, home media servers, and streaming HD I would think that the throughput of our home network should be as important as what type of home audio/home automation system being chosen.


Could you imagine spending 10-20k on a system and then realise in a few years that when yoiu a re ready to move to full HD distribution that your network is the bottleneck. That would be a shame.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
CAT6, Gigabit, 250MHz !!
 

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There are not many people who can properly pull and terminate CAT6, nor is it clear that it will be needed. There are many other more significant bottlenecks.

But sure, if you have the money and can find someone who can properly install and verify it, CAT6 is great.
 

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What is the max. bandwidth of CAT5 or CAT5e?
 

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The reason is that Cat 5e is all you need and Cat 6 gives you very little that Cat 5e can't offer. For example, Cat 5e is designed to handle Gigabit (1,000 Mbps) speeds. While the 10Gig Ethernet standard for copper cabling is still not complete, it will almost certainly require Augmented Cat 6 cabling (6A) to reach 10G speeds for the full 100 meters.


For homes, the 90 meter (295 feet) limit for the permanently installed cable is rarely reached as most homes are just not that large.


Cat 6 is really not any harder to install than Cat 5e. Meeting the spec does require carefully following "best" installation practices like 25 lb pull tension (max), 1" bend radius (min), 1/4" untwist (max), separation from sources of RFI/EMI, etc.


If you just want to build more headroom (difference between signal and noise floor) into your system, by all means use Cat 6.


Carl Fedders


(Product Manager - Coleman Cable Inc.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by emillika /forum/post/0


What is the max. bandwidth of CAT5 or CAT5e?

Cat 3 = 16 MHz = 10 Mbps max

Cat 5 = 100 MHz = 100 Mbps max

Cat 5e = 100 MHz = 1,000 Mbps max

Cat 6 = 200 MHz = 1,000 Mbps max (spec requires testing out to 250 MHz)


Of course, many systems use frequencies beyond those listed above, but the minimum requirements are set by the TIA/EIA-568B specifications.


Carl Fedders

(Coleman Cable Inc.)
 

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Carl,


Thanks for the good info... know of any good sources for CAT5e in Chicagoland? I need to have a bunch pulled soon.


Thanks.


Elmer
 

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I did a home remodel about two years ago and used structured cable- 2 cat 6, 2 fiber, 2 rg6. Cat 6 is in a state of flux right now as Cat 6A is supposed to support 10 gbit, while Cat 6 doesn't. There is talk that 10 Gbit will be usable on Cat 6 at a shorter length. Investigate carefully- when I bought Cat 6 I thought for sure it would do 10Gbit, but now they are pushing 6A for that purpose.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by styxx_78 /forum/post/0


...Could you imagine spending 10-20k on a system and then realise in a few years that when yoiu a re ready to move to full HD distribution that your network is the bottleneck. That would be a shame.

Have you read the forum much..?



Many (most?) of us *ARE* doing full HD distribution. Now.


(over CAT5e)



Cheers.
 

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This has been argued quite a bit in the past, and it basically comes down to 2 groups -


Group 1 says that Cat6 offers no real advantages today since Cat5e already does gigabit, and future standards probably will need Cat6A or greater.


Group 2 (which I'm in) says that for the slight added cost of the cabling and connectors, why NOT run Cat6 instead.


Personally, when I wired up my new home 2 years ago, I went with Cat6. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to take advantage of it, but I know I won't be kicking myself in the butt for cheaping out and running Cat5e instead.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Boulanger /forum/post/0


...Group 2 (which I'm in) says that for the slight added cost of the cabling and connectors, why NOT run Cat6 instead..,

Mike,


IMO, it comes down to this (a variation of your "CAT6 offers no advantages" summation of "Group 1" opinions)...


Being that CAT5e has plenty of capability to handle HD, via component, I think encryption will be the "weak link."


Content providers everywhere are scrambling to "lock down" content (hence the ongoing HDCP fiasco), and (again IMO) I think it's a safe bet that as higher resolution content becomes available, neither CAT5e or CAT6 will have the ability to meet whatever the encryption standard of the day might be (that said, I'm plenty happy with 1080i or 720p component signals).


Of course, there is the possibility that, perhaps, someone will create a fully HDCP compliant (or whatever the encryption standard of the day evolves into) set of baluns for passing video signals over CAT5e/6, but I expect that's highly unlikely.


Ultimately, I don't think CAT6 (or even 6a), even if it does provide substantively higher capacity, will matter as I do not expect to see CAT able to keep up with the increasingly onerous restrictions imposed on our video signals.


Given that, I'm a CAT5e kinda guy.



Just my $.o2...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickyfingers /forum/post/0


Of course, there is the possibility that, perhaps, someone will create a fully HDCP compliant (or whatever the encryption standard of the day evolves into) set of baluns for passing video signals over CAT5e/6, but I expect that's highly unlikely..

The HDCP issue is a legal issue not so much one of bandwidth.

And baluns ain't the way to go!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzz Goddard /forum/post/0


The HDCP issue is a legal issue not so much one of bandwidth...

That's what I (thought I) was saying...



My point being, if there is an advantage w/CAT6 it's almost (IMO) meaningless as neither CAT5 *nor* CAT6 are likely to be able to take advantage of higher resolution content...
 

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Quote:
My point being, if there is an advantage w/CAT6 it's almost (IMO) meaningless as neither CAT5 *nor* CAT6 are likely to be able to take advantage of higher resolution content...

I agree with that. But if you're going through the huge task of wiring up your house, for the slight difference in cost, why not run the best available today - just in case?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Boulanger /forum/post/0


I agree with that. But if you're going through the huge task of wiring up your house, for the slight difference in cost, why not run the best available today - just in case?

Because depending on how you look at it, cat6 is not the best. It's a technology without an application which doesn't make it the best at anything, and judging by most literature, the next leap in application will require 6A, 7 or better.


Also, as for the slight difference in cost and practical application, I would argue that the stringent installation guidelines for Cat6 to realize full bandwidth potential (minimum bend radii, minimum pull torque) not to mention that everything now has to be cat6 compliant (all wall jacks, patch panels, switches/hubs, connectors, etc.) quickly increases any perceived 'slight' difference in cost.


Just my opinion
 

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Quote:
Because depending on how you look at it, cat6 is not the best. It's a technology without an application which doesn't make it the best at anything, and judging by most literature, the next leap in application will require 6A, 7 or better.

Maybe I'm not following you, but how is it NOT better than Cat5e? Just because there's no practical application today to realize it's benefit doesn't mean it isn't a superior cable.

Quote:
Also, as for the slight difference in cost and practical application, I would argue that the stringent installation guidelines for Cat6 to realize full bandwidth potential (minimum bend radii, minimum pull torque) not to mention that everything now has to be cat6 compliant (all wall jacks, patch panels, switches/hubs, connectors, etc.) quickly increases any perceived 'slight' difference in cost.

OK - so even if you DON'T follow the "strict" guidelines for pulling Cat6, it's still a superior cable and more resilient than Cat5e. And even if you DON'T want to spend the extra dollars on Cat6 rated connectors, you could still spend the extra few $ on the superior Cat6 cabling, cheap out and use Cat5e rated patch panels all wall jacks, then at least have the option of upgrading to Cat6 just by replacing the termination at some point down the road.


None of these arguments make any sense to me. Again, I 100% agree that the chance of any major application utilizing Cat6 but not Cat5e is slim, if for no other reason than the fact that Cat5e is far far more popular than Cat6.


If you think that saving $40 on a 1000' spool of cable makes it worth sticking with Cat5e, if Cat6 isn't in your budget, then fine - I can accept that.


But personally, if I'm going to spend a week running cable all over my house, I'll spend an extra $40 per 1000' to go with a higher gauge, higher performance cable - just in case.
 

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I work for one of the companies developing silicon for the new 10G over copper standard, and from what I understand:


1. 10G *should* work for some short distance over cat5e. realize that a short distance in this context might still be 20-30 meters, which might be the full run in your house.


2. The only real difference between cat6 and cat6a is shielding. So, if it's a single run per room, and/or the wires are not bundled together, cat 6 should handle the same data rates as cat6a.


3. You WILL need to use cat6a wall jacks and connectors to get the benefits, they will be much better than cat6 for 10G


The 10G standard is expected to work over 100M of cat7 or cat6a. But realize that only 2 companies have silicon "kind of" working over short distances right now. No one has demonstrated 100M yet, as far as I know.


Bend radius is probably important, but I'm not sure that the tension matters, since most test setups I've seen are just giant bundles of cable, stuck in a big cardboard box :)


Note again that the "least understood" possible problem with 10G over copper is alien crosstalk (i.e. crosstalk from other nearby cables), so bundling your cables together and running data on all of them at the same time can cause trouble (although, again, the distances you are likely to run in a home, and the number of cables are far from worst-case). The "worst-case" test setups for 10G is the test wire in the center, surrounded by 6 other live cables on the outside.


I plan to wire my house with cat6, since it's cheaper than cat6a, but I will make sure that there is a few inches of space between each run, and that I don't bend too tight. In 5 years, when 10G is available on every PC, I will change my cheap cat 5 or 6 wall jacks for (hopefully cheap by then) 6a wall jacks.


The way I look at it, cat7 will probably not have enough BW to run 100G, and cat6 properly cabled should run 10G just fine -- but cat5e is likely to have real problems with 10G.


BTW, I also agree that the real issue is the legal issue, and while I despair of ever having a giant HTPC in the closet serving HD video and HD-DVD and HD-TV to small media extenders all over the house, it seems silly not to cable expecting it to happen. And while 1G is probably fine for HD with lots of copy protection slathered on top, 10G will definitely cover it :)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by emillika /forum/post/0


Carl,


Thanks for the good info... know of any good sources for CAT5e in Chicagoland? I need to have a bunch pulled soon.


Thanks.


Elmer

Graybar has fairly good prices or if you need something quick, Fry's in Downers Grove has decent prices.
 
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