Cracking the Cabling Myths

Anyone involved in network cabling will know that at time things can get complicated. People don’t always have the same views when it comes to which cabling category is best for the job. So, we’ve uncovered some cabling myths to help you untangle the cords.


1 . “Category 6 cables can carry a signal further than Category 5E cable."

Myth: Category 6 cables do not carry signal further. They carry it better. ... Why? Since Ethernet is a digital signal, the amount of time it takes for the data to pass over the cable is very important. If the cable is too long, the network equipment will determine that the data was lost and re-transmit it. People who often exceed the distance limit and do not find a problem. This is partially true. Although they do get a connection between computers and some signal does get through, the network equipment spends more time re-sending data resulting in a slower network speed.

2. "Category 5E cables are compatible with Category 6 cables."

Fact: A Category 6 Patch cable plugged into a Category 5E wall jack will work. Why? Although the overall system performance rating can only be Category 5E in this example, the cables will work. Both ratings use the same colour code standard and have straight through wiring. Your data signal will pass through both cables correctly as long as all other aspects of the standard are met (i.e. cable length).

3. "Category 5E cables are rated up to 350MHz."

Myth: Although most cable resellers claim 350MHz or higher ratings on their boxes and marketing literature, the cable standards only offer a passing grade based on the 100MHz requirements in the Category 5E published standard. Why? The higher numbers are more of a marketing description than a factual description. To make this simple to understand, think of water passing through a straw. Although you can push one million gallons of water through it, would you still choose a straw? Using that comparison, we could say that the straw is tested to one million gallons of water flow. Basically, the 500MHz ratings you read do not tell you much about the ability of the cable to pass a 100Base-TX or a 1000Base-T signal. There are many factors involved that are more important than a marketing number listed on a cable. The important thing to remember is that Category 5E cables are certified for 100MHz and Category 6 cables are certified for 250MHz.

4. "Category 5E cables will not handle gigabit Ethernet. "

Myth: Category 5E cable is the minimum requirement for gigabit transmission. However, Category 6 is recommended for new installations where Gigabit Ethernet is planned. Why? When the standard for gigabit was developed, one of the requirements was that it would work over existing cables. The augmented Category 5 standards or Category 5E was developed to define this requirement. Before choosing a cable, decide what type of network speeds will be used. If this is a new installation and you plan to have gigabit connections, install Category 6 cable. If this is an update to an existing system and some of the links are already Category 5E, then use the same cable rating as the installed links.

5. "If you use Category 6 bulk cables with the connectors you bought from your local retailer, you can build your own Category 6 patch cables."

Myth: Most retailers do not sell connectors that are rated for Category 6. Why? The Category 6 connectors are harder to assemble and sometimes require special tools. Be sure to choose the correct connector for your cable. If you use a Category 6 bulk cable then make sure you have Category 6 connectors. Not all connectors are built the same. Also, it is not just simply a matter of sticking the wires into a plug and crimping. Much of what makes a hi-performance plug is in the assembly process

Why Pinacl-GDA?

A structured cabling system which has been designed properly and is well-maintained can provide many benefits, such as the flexibility to accommodate changes and savings in cost and time through lower maintenance, reduced downtime and faster speeds, overall increasing productivity and maximising business potential.

Top Quality cabling systems guarantee consistently high speeds no matter the network user number. The right SCS can last up to 20 years, so getting it right is essential. Cabling systems that cost a little more upfront can be much better for long term use.

Pinacl-GDA can deliver cabling services across the globe using leading cabling manufacturers and leading technology solutions. Our Project Division consists of designers, managers, project support staff and installers who take a consultative approach to ensure that each customer receives a bespoke, future-proof solution that meets and exceeds their requirements.

To find out more about our structured cabling solutions, contact us now.

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