Which LAN cable is best?

By GAM3R ┬Ě 12 replies
Sep 23, 2006
  1. Hi,

    I've been looking at some LAN cables for my home network but I don't know which brand is best. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks, GAM3R
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    If it is CAT5E or CAT6 rated, then there is no difference from a technical viewpoint. You can get shielded cables for extra long runs or noisy environments.

    You might want stranded cable instead of solid - stranded is softer and easier to bend and work with. And of course, make sure the colour matches your Feng Shui ;)
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Yeah, paying $50 for 18ft of CAT-6 Monstercable® is senseless. Gold connectors, oxygen free wire etc... won't make your data go faster. Such things MIGHT help increase signal integrity at great distances, but we're talking about 300ft or more.
  4. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    Don't forget the Belkin Ultra Cat 5e rated at 350Mhz... That's good for video and audio streaming. As I don't really see much of a difference using Cat 6 instead. Then again I would have to go all Cat 6 and remove all Cat 5e. Also any brand will do. I use Belkin, but also have other brands to me they work just as good. Most Corp America companies stick with Belkin Cat 5 and Cat 5e, some using Cat 6 an etc..
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Why is 350MHz good for audio/video streaming? If you know, I'd like to hear because it is something I'm not very familiar with.

    The Cat 5e standard is 125MHz, which is good enough for 1Gbps. I imagine most copper-based networking equipment doesn't operate at a higher frequency than this, since it is the standard in networking. More MHz would imply more bandwidth, so it doesn't seem like its useful.
  6. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Posts: 373

    So can you mix cat 5 and 6 together becuase I think thats what I did and I dont see much of a problem
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,138   +985

    cabling / shielding / so called frequency response is all about RF transmission efficiency. An efficient cable is one with 100% efficiency and 0% loss or reflection.

    Wiring, after all, is an antenna, and if there's a mismatch in the impedence,
    you get a 'reflected standing wave', which reduces the signal being received.

    In the real world, there's always some reflection and signal loss.

    A twisted cable pair (CAT 5) is better than untwisted.

    Shielded cable (ie braided shielding around a twisted pair is better still.
    Cat 5e and Cat 6 are top of the line.

    btw: ethernet max cable length between any two NICs is 100m (328ft)
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    LAN CAT 5e vs FastCAT 5e

    CAT 6e:

    Signal Attenuation

    File Sharing - yes
    Broadband Sharing - yes

    Mission Critical Video Editing - yes

    FastCAT 5e
    Increased frequency range of 250%, providing the bandwidth necessary to reliably deliver your voice, video and data well beyond today's 100Mbps systems.

    Offset twisted pairs to virtually eliminate cross talk and strengthen your singal integrity.

    Signal Attenuation

    File Sharing - yes
    Broadband Sharing - yes

    Mission Critical Video Editing - no

    Standard CAT 5e

    Signal Attenuation

    File Sharing - yes
    Broadband Sharing - no

    Mission Critical Video Editing - no
  9. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Let me guess.. You got that table from a page selling that FastCAT cable?

    One can use twisted pair cables for anything, not just Ethernet. All that enhanced frequency range and such is for those other purposes. E.g. if you want to shove some analog signals into that cable.

    For ethernet, it makes absolutely no difference. GBE runs over CAT5E, period. You don't need anything ridiculously expensive unless you plan long cable runs or have a noisy environment.
  10. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    No I got it from a review I did for network streaming of video and audio. I use FastCat 5e from Belkin around 100 feet that I use for network streaming of A/V from network server.

    Actually the cable wasn't that expensive here in the states.. I don't have any problems with that cable though... Cat 6 would be better to use, but with Cat 7 out also, I might just wait on the next upgrade...
  11. GAM3R

    GAM3R TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks for the advice, guys

    Regards, GAM3R
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Probably 90% or more of people with broadband and multiple computers at home use 5e.
  13. lehsstudent

    lehsstudent TS Rookie

    yeah a new upgrade is soon coming so wait for that in the mean time if you must go ahead and buy a cat6 currently there is no use for the speed capabilites but buy it any ways
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