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What network cables to use when.

Posted on 2002-06-25
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I have set up and administered many networks including a 100/16MB Full-duplex Token-Ring and 10/100 Ethernet switched network. We used ICS (IBM Cabling System), CAT5e, and CAT6 Avaya network cables. The main cable runs from the netwrok closets to the workstations were all ICS and the patch cables were ICS, CAT5e, CAT6, or a Hybrid Type 9 with RJ-45 and Type A data connectors. We also connected all the network closets using Fiber Optic cables. All this is just to give you a littel idea of what my experiences have been.

My problem is that I have an outside client who I am helping to set up 6 Dell PowerEdge Servers in a Dell Rack.
He is currently using some spare CAT5 and CAT5e (old and ratty) network cables that are quite frankly too long, too short, frayed, etc. Right now, he is plugging them into a 100MB Ethernet connection. He is planning on plugging them into a Gigabit connection and I told him to call his supplier and get some CAT6 cables that were the right length right away.

He called Dell on a support issue and they told him to buy CAT5 cables. Now, it was my understanding that CAT5 cables are not verified to work at gigabit speeds. CAT5e (to the best of my knowledge) is. Avaya CAT6 cables would be my one and only recommendation though. I think that CAT5e would work OK, but being on mission critical equipment like this, the chance for errors in data is more dramatic.

Can anyone point me to some contrete literature that points out what CATagory level to use for what and what is verified at what speeds? Anything that you throw at me would be appreciated.

PS - I am offering 200 points to get as much information ASAP to give to him. If they are multiple good answers, then I will either split the points between experts or add additional points.

Thanks
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Question by:jmiller47
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 7108568
I would check any cable supplier.
www.oscaroscar.com blackbox etc.
They normally state if/what cables are tested fot the speeds you want.
In any case get good cables !

I am not sure if there is any certified defintions beyond CAT 5

I hope this helps !
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 7108574
CAT 5  From http://www.oscaroscar.com

Meet EIA/TIA TSB-36, TSB40-A Category 5 standards.

CAt 6 http://www.oscaroscar.com/pp_TW6-C.asp

Meet proposed EIA/TIA Category 6 Channel performance specifications.
All the connecting hardware are compliant with proposed EIA/TIA Category 6 requirement.
Ideal for Gigabit Ethernet over UTP applications.
In-house testing labs, channel link tested by HP 8753E network analyzer & DCM PCT-350 tester.

I hope this helps !
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7108580
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Expert Comment

by:wallew
ID: 7108588
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7108591
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Author Comment

by:jmiller47
ID: 7108628
All good information indeed. I am just waiting a bit longer to see an article that would point out whether by spec, you can meet the gigabit standard with just CAT5 or CAT5e.

SysExpert, I believe that last post yuo had may have the information I need but it costs 68USD and that is a bit much for me for this situation. Thank you though. I may but that in the future!

Thanks
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lrmoore earned 800 total points
ID: 7109623
According to most documents, basic CAT5 should be adequate, at least for short hauls

http://www.10gea.org/GEA_copper_0999_rev-wp.pdf
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Expert Comment

by:cmfigue
ID: 7111697
Yo need to obtain a 150 ohm. cable to get Gb less than 25 mts. length.
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Author Comment

by:jmiller47
ID: 7112737
Thank you! I think that was the best representationof what it can and cannot do.

It seems that Gigbit can be run over CAT5, but only if the cable is stringently tested to make sure that it meets the minimal requirements.

This was very nicley laid out.
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