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Lan run of 240 ft. Cat-5 vs Fiber Optic

Posted on 2009-07-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Hello,

We are installing a new EIA Line (Ethernet Internet Access) which will connect to a Fiber Optic fed  Cisco ONS 15327 in our first floor tel. closet.

Our office is on the second floor, which is about 30' verticle and then 220' horizontal from the Cisco switch.

We have the option of running an unsheilded Cat-5 from the Cisco 15327 to a switch in our unit for a copper hand off to our Lan. Alternatively, we are considering either a direct Fiber Optic connection to the Cisco switch, or, a short copper hand off which we would then convert to Fiber Optic for the approximately 250' to our office.

My question is, what gain would we experience from using the more expensive Fibre Optic cable? For Bandwith, we will only use 3mbps of the Cat-5 available 100mbps, so that is not an issue, what we are wondering is if there is a significant latency difference between the 250' copper vs Fibre, and are their any other advantages that would justify the added cost.
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Question by:bagua2
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points
ID: 24865198
I do not think you will see much increase in latency for a 250 foot run of Cat-5 cable. I have done that before and not seen issues.

I do not know what the transit time for signals is for Cat-5 cable, but it is about 2/3 the speed of light in Coax cable. It is only a few dozen nanoseconds down and back for that distance, so I think you should be fine. .... Thinkpads_User
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by:2PiFL
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ID: 24865223
You won't see a difference.  If you're not planning on needing more bandwidth in the future the copper will be fine.
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flob9 earned 168 total points
ID: 24865246
The latency loss is not due to transmit time of the signal, but the transmission errors wich force the sender to send the data again.

Consider different cat5 cables (type E...), or cat6, before switching to optical fiber.
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by:2PiFL
ID: 24865248
Almost forgot.  You can use Cat5 for runs up to 100 meters - I cap it at 300 feet.
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by:bagua2
ID: 24865350
Flob9:   I believe they would be using cat5e as it is more common, would there be much difference in errors and crosstalk between the cat5e and the cat6 at the 3mbps down/up speed?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24865365
If the cable is carefully laid and connected you will not see any appreciable error rate difference over that run (the run is noticeably less than the maximum allowable). Cat-6 cannot hurt, but Cat-5e will work just fine if that is what you want to use. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:flob9
ID: 24865393
I agree :)

(please just dont talk about light speed and ethernet connection)
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by:bagua2
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Thank you everyone for the prompt answer!
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