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Length of Cat5e Cable between switches

I am writng from a small charity that could do even greater things if our computer network was fully functional!

My problem is that I have a length of Cat5e cable going about 100m from a central switch to an outbuilding used by volunteers where it connects to another switch.  From there, it goes about another 15m to a further switch.

Devices connected to the final switch aren't functioning.  I've substituted in a Belkin Switch (Model F5D5141) used elsewhere on site and it works ok.  So I've tried to get another one.  But this particular model has two incarnations!  The one readily available has the ports at the back and the led lights onthe front and doesn't work for us.  I am struggling to get hold of one of the original type.

Do you think the problem is with the type of switches we are using, the length of the cable runs or the fact that I am daisy-chaining switches together?

Any advice is much appreciated.

Yours, as a relative novice,

Ben
Project Manager
Deen City Farm (www.deencityfarm.co.uk)
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DeenCityFarm
Asked:
DeenCityFarm
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3 Solutions
 
Shecky919Commented:
Well, the maximum run for a Cat 5e cable is 100 meters so you could be loosing some connectivity due to that, but with the switches daisy chained, are you using a crossover cable or port between the two switches. Plus are they managed switches with possible configuration internal to them that you might need to do?
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JohnGerhardtCommented:
100m is the generally accepted max limit for a Cat5e cable..
If you have connectivity in the building 100 metres away and then not in the building connected to that then the problem is located in teh second part..
Do the two switches have a link between each other.. Bare in mind that if you are linking two switches rogether then you need to a cross cable.
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
First time of using this forum and I am massively impressed with the speed of your responses.  I feel you could sort this for me very swiftly... here's more info:

I am not using crossover cables, though would happily do so.  Our little network, on this particular avenue, goes (Modem/Router to) Switch (24-ports) to 2nd Switch to Final Switch.  There's one PC connected to the 2nd Switch which is functioning fine.  But only if the Final Switch is a Belkin f5d5141 do I get any success.

I have a crossover union connector (forgive terminology) which I guess I could use with a standard patch lead to replicate a crossover cable to connect the 2nd to the Final Switch?  Does it matter that a crossover cable only connects two pairs of Cat5e wire?

Again, seriously impressed by your responses thus far.  If I can sort this, it meas our Heath-Robinson-esque CCTV system will work and save us money on security which we can put into working with disadvantage kids, etc.

Thanks so far
Ben
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chilternPCCommented:
what a small world - I grew (or was that dragged) up in roslyn close just a few streets away from your location! -
the max run for a Cat5e is 100 metres and then needs a repeater or a switch as long as each section (ignore any breaks in the cable with passive panels and patch panels) does not exceed 100 metres.
I use  broadbandbuyer very fast delivery, cheap and will provide advice over the phone,
see:
http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Shop/ShopSearch.asp?CategoryID=126
hope that helps,
peter (  now at www.deepmillfarm.com)
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JohnGerhardtCommented:
The only think a cross over cable does is swap the trasmit and receive wires in the cable else there will be collisions.  
It looks like the Belkin switch is capable of detecting this and switching itself..
Can you not continue to use that switch?
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
I would do, JohnGerhardt, but I can't seem to get hold of the particlar Belkin model that works.  As I said, I've got one in place elsewhere on site and need it to stay there but can't seem to buy another.  I ordered one using the model number F5D5141 and ended up with the latest incarnation and it doesn't function quite the same.

We are an odd (but inspirational!) organisation with an odd set up of central switch feeding to several other switches dotted about the place.  The network functions, but the central switch does flag up collisions.  Should I use some crossovers to get rid of these, including the one where I have this current problem?

Still hoping...
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JohnGerhardtCommented:
Ah ha, If you have connectivity then there is no need for you to have cross cables.. I think all of your switches are auto sensing that the cable need crossing and are doing this.. You will often see collisions if you have a hub on the network..
What is the model number of the new incarnation of the belkin switch.. We can check whether it has the auto sensing feature because this might be why you are having trouble with connetivity..
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Hi again.  It's an F5D5141UK5, I think.  The original incarnation (the one that works when I swap it into place) has ports at the front and led lights at the front.  The latest incarnation is neater, smaller and has the ports at the back and led lights at the front.

You can see the difference in the following pics:
http://www.probsolvexpress.com/products.asp?partno=F5D5141UK5
http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/factfinder/search.asp?querytext=f5d5141

The second link shows a pic of the original one!

You've got me thinking that it might be the cables not crossing over...!
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JohnGerhardtCommented:
When you link the two siwtch together with the cable do the LEDs show link?
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
I think they do, but I am not at the site at the moment to check.  The other devices (CCTV cameras), however, show intermittent rather than constant connectivity (the lights come on for a second then go off for a couple of seconds, then back on, with that timing throughout).  I could try using shorter patch leads (because the current ones are about 40m long) on the current switch and see if that gives constantly flashing leds.  And I could try using some crossover cables.
Any other inspiration greatly appreciated.
If chilternPC wants to buy a cracking pony then let me know!
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chilternPCCommented:
Hi deencityfarm
no more horses (I'm the horse widow as it is)
when I cabled up my place, I remember reading the cables should not run in parallel with mains cables, which creates noise. maybe at yours?
the make of switch should not be a problem you should be able to use any ethernet switch, and I don't believe you should be using any crossovert cables anywhere. do you have a network tester to check the cables? (maplins) - the newer switches have auto sensing , and the older ones  have a separate 'uplink/daisy chain' socket to use when joining switches.
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JohnGerhardtCommented:
chilternPC is totally correct with the mains power cables.. If the cable isnt shielded and you have it next to a strong mains power cable then the classic sympton is a flapping link (you have link then it is dropped, then it is there etc etc)..
Maybe what is happening with the CCTV...
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Thanks JohnGerhardt & chilternPC.  You might well be right, though the link to the final switch seems very good.

I think I've isolated it either to this* or to the final lengths of Cat5e cable which run about 40m outside (when the cable is designed for internal use).  I was going to nip to a supplier next door and get some Cat6 cable.  Is this wise?

*The reason I think it's the final lengths of cable is because when I connect using a shorter, pre-made patch lead it works fine.
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JohnGerhardtCommented:
a 40m length is fine.. Bare in mind the 100 metres is from the switch to a device that is not capable of repeating the signal (like a webcam, PC, printer etc. but a switch will receive the signal and naturally repeat it..
You dont really need CAT 6 cable CAT 5e will be find the importance is to find one that is ok to put outside, preferably shielded aswell..
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Thanks, JohnGerhardt.  I just tried re-crimping the existing cable without success so that leaves trying external cable or getting another of the types of switch that is working for us.  I am waiting on someone on Ebay to come back to me about an auction item they are offering which looks like the type I want.

I'll keep you posted.  If you come up with any other ideas, do let me know!
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chilternPCCommented:
I use external (stops rodents to an extent)  Cat 5e (try www.tlc-direct.co.uk)  also I now put ethernet sockets on the end of the run and use cable to connect the device to the socket - I have had better success than going straight to a plug (in either case the colours are important which way they go into the socket/plug)
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chilternPCCommented:
Hi, I thought I'd mention thew colours if you are crimping yourself as I actually started life just doing any colour to any pin as long as it was the same at each end - that's why alot of my cables failed. its important for loss of signal.
see this link:  http://www.incentre.net/content/view/75/2/

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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everyone.  My experimenting will continue.  I am going to try external cable (ordered) and then try again to get hold of the one type of switch that's given me success so far.

I still don't understand the difference between internal and external cable, ie what difference the coating makes?!
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chilternPCCommented:
its slightly tougher and UV resistant (the other stuff may breakdown over time (I think thats the answer)
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JohnGerhardtCommented:
DeenCityFarm, are you happy..? Are there any more questions that you want to ask in this thread..?
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chilternPCCommented:
Ben,
how's the network ?
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DeenCityFarmAuthor Commented:
Really impressed with the speed of answers and the care the experts took.  Persuaded me to spend our limited money on a subscription!
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chilternPCCommented:
I wonder if there is a case for lower subscriptions for charities?
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