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Cat 5 over distance Issues

By snowin
Aug 28, 2008
  1. Hi there,

    I work for a small airline. At one of our airports we're attempting to connect a thin client & printer at our boarding gate to our check-in counter (where our DSL & Sonciwall are located that maintain the VPN to our server located off-site). At the back of our check-in counter there are RJ-45 jacks hardwired in that go to the server room in the airport basement.

    Sweet I thought, all I need is to jump from our sonicwall router into one of those and bridge it to a line strung to the boarding gate counter, one of which already existed in place.

    So I called the airport electricians in to check the lines and see if one at the boarding gate went to the server room. They found one connected all together and it checked out ok. So I set up my equipment and couldn't pull an IP. Seemed like signal degradation as I seemed to be getting intermittent activity on the switch I set up.

    So I called the electricians back, they checked the line again, seemed ok, so we took the switch downstairs and used it to bridge the two lines in the server room. It got solid link to the router and the outgoing line was mad with activity, but still no IP on the thin client at the other end (either of them). So I grabbed my Sonicwall and brought it downstairs having bridged my DSL modem straight into the line. Think client pulled an IP (barely), but extrememly slow and RDP connection to the server timed out.

    We all figured that there was obviously alot of data loss in that line and perhaps some sort of amplifier might be in order.

    What are my options? Is there a signal booster/filter that would help?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    Than ks,

    Owen
     
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,348   +622

    if you have the RJ45 in place, you can just plug directly into it w/o the sonicwall to
    test the connection and system access.

    if that works, then the sonicwall is getting in the way and it needs to be reconfigured.
     
  3. snowin

    snowin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi jobeard,

    Thanks for the reply! The sonicwall works fine at the check-in counter (two thin-clients + 2 printers and a serial to ethernet converter for our POS system) to create the VPN. Connection is a little slow mainly due to latency with our Internet Connection serverside.

    Do you mean just plug the DSL modem straight in and see if I pull an IP at the other end w/ no sonicwall or switch in between?

    Or do you mean that the Sonicwall might just be having issues with the distance?

    Thanks,

    snowin
     
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,348   +622

    any/all of the above.

    The rj45 at the station goes to a patch panel and then to the main switch or router.
    That line can be configured differently than some other line you have been testing or using,
    try to reduce the number of boxes between the 'system' and the client at the station.
     
  5. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Posts: 228

    Just an FYI, both Cat 5e and Cat 6 Ethernet cables are spec'd to work without signal degradation for up to 100 meters (about 330 feet). If you are going beyond that length, then you can use a switch in the middle to add power to the signal over the longer distance. Most organizations switch to a fiber optic cable if they have to go really long distances. However, it really does not sound like you have a distance problem.
     
  6. snowin

    snowin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Jobeard-thanks I will try what you suggested.

    NetCablesPlus- The electricians estimated the total distance to be around 300 feet, so with the switch in the middle It should've been around 100/200 split. The IT guy at our sister company suggested running a new cable instead of using the existing one (it's been around since the renovations or before around 5 years ago), as it may be patched at other locations in the bowels of the airport that we don't know about.
     
  7. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Posts: 228

    Snowin, some of my customers refuse to re-use any copper patch cables once they have been disconnected from a system. In addition to potential breaks in the line, they worry about the RJ45 end plug crimp coming loose when you pull the plug out. I have seen situations in which the crimp is working enough to light up the connection led but not actually provide connectivity or only provide minimal connectivity. In your case, it also sounds like you are creeping up on the 100 meter limit, so I would definitely want to use a new and tested cable, if at all possible.
     
  8. snowin

    snowin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi NetCables,

    Thanks for the advice. I've called for a quote to run a new cable. I'll let you guys know how it goes!

    Thanks,

    Owen
     
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