I have a customer who requested internet connections in each room of his house. Apparently the guys who wired the house pulled RG6 and Cat3 to each room. They did not pull Cat5e! The RG6 and Cat3 terminate in separate boxes. What's the best way to solve this problem?
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Greg is correct; there's no need for CAT5e at all in a residential environment. In fact I'm using the white/orange and white/brown pairs in my "CAT Nothing" voice cables at home to connect to my switched hub/router with no trouble at all. Unless you have a situation where huge file transfers between computers will be an ongoing issue, basic Internet access can easily be accommodated using CAT3 or less.
CAT3 cable was designed to carry data speeds of up to 16Mbps, 60% more than a DSL or cable modem connection can provide anyway.
It's all about hype generated by manufacturers to sell more wire, and more expensive wire at that. Let's not forget those insanely-priced "wiring management centers" that all of the manufacturers want you to be scaring people into buying. With their line of thinking, you should also be wiring every receptacle in the house with a home run of 8/3 Romex on a dedicated AFCI 20 amp circuit, a 6,000 amp three-phase service and you should have ten ground rods driven in the yard.
While such an installation might not "look" proper to those who claim to be "pros", electrically they are fine. Is it possible that you might get an occasional instance where ringing voltage might distort a data packet or two? Of course! That's why computer networks check the send/receive status of data packets and resend them if they don't receive a confirmation that they were received. That's how the Internet and TCP/IP networks were designed to operate. A human will never know if a data packet was missed and resent, even multiple times.
Rest assured that people will shoot you down in this theory, but I'm using one of those connections from home right now while I am on this site. I'm also downloading a 600 page manual at the same time and my wife just received almost 300 pictures from our son's wedding a minute ago. I also have three other computers at home and four VOIP phones that we frequently use simultaneously over this same wiring. Don't be afraid to stand out in the pack.
By the way, my company installs these wiring networks as our primary line of work, so I do speak from experience.
Just be sure the customer understands the limitations of the "work around" you have provided. It *might* even work with the 100mz transfer rate but you sure don't want them to say you said it would. Use good termination practices, watch your twists and keep the leads short to the keystone. Give yourself the best chance of being successful. We ran 10/100 ethernet all the time on the old 16mz rated IBM cable system wire.
Right again, Greg. My VOIP phones from my office system 40 miles away "require" a 100Base-T connection, yet they work just fine on my workaround solution. Don't get me wrong, I could have easily added more cable, but I just couldn't justify the expense.
My wife hasn't had to go to the office in three years using her IP phone over our 'sub-standard' network. These phones are also showing as being on a 100MBps connection on my auto-sensing switch, meaning that my wiring that supposedly won't work is working just fine.
Quality jacks and hardware really are the true key to an operational network, not that cheap imported stuff marketed under the names of major electrical equipment manufacturers.
Another great response from ECN guys. This is one of the best learning tools I have. Thanks Greg and Ed. Of course wireless was my first train of thought but I much prefer hardwire systems. So am I correct in thinking I can use two pair of the Cat3 for ethernet and one more pair for the phone line?
Again, that is not recommended but it will usually work. Solid state ringers have gone a long way toward reducing noise on the LAN when ringing. If they are getting a lot of calls they need to be tolerant of LAN hits. That is not usually a problem in a residence. In a business with a dozen people banging away on the LAN and a phone ringing all the time it may show up as a problem. I would be sure I warned them of all of these issues and keep WiFi or running the right cable as their "plan B"
When I was still on the tools i did a lot of structured wiring and I was always ticked at the govments need to constantly upgrade the network cabling to the latest and greatest. No sooner did we install cat 5 then turn around and install 5e. Yet the network was still using 10 base t nic cards and simple hubs instead of routers. I would submit my cable test reports often right after some network geek would complain that we installed a defective network or some other reason that the network was running at some level well below 100 mhz. Most of the staff were running simple word processor or small spreadsheets and the network worked fine. There are some ministry offices like forestry where file transfer speed really do need to run the fastest available technology but often the geeks would still install some roadblock or non compatible component. These guys are using cat 3 patch cords too. I had one guy complain to his IT manager that the cable I just installed was no better than the one we replaced. I made him a patch cord from the router to the patch panel and the network speed went up to his expectations. I told him to buy some cat 5e patch cords as well as throw away some of the ones with broken tabs etc. Point is the speed on a network is determined by the weakest link and it is still often plenty fast enough.
A lot of people in the residential side of things don't really understand the different speeds anyway. I was talking with a fellow telephone guy a week or two ago and it turned out he'd just had somebody come to him with exactly the same story that I'd just gone through with someone here. They were both claiming to have a DSL connection of over 50Mbps!
Of course, it turned out they were looking at their LAN speed to the router, and needed an explanation of the difference and how to access the router configuration page and line stats.