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CAT5 verses CAT6

Posted on 2013-10-25
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Last Modified: 2013-10-30
We are in a building that has CAT5 runs and CAT5e at the patch panels and at the desktops
We now have servers that are running NIC 1GB 331FLR
Smart Switches wtih 1GB ports
All Wireless accesspoints 2.4Ghz Up to 300Mbps
All printers have 10/100Base-TX Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IPv6, BiDi, Hi-Speed USB 2.0
All workstations are 64 bit 1GB NICs
our internet is 10mbps

We generate CAD files and raster images which is larger than your average file most of the time and all data is stored on mapped drives.

Question?
Would I benifit replacing the CAT5 runs with new CAT6 runs?
Would my users notice the differance?
Can you explain why?

I'm just gathering ROI info.
Thanks
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Question by:jsarinana
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by:Nick Rhode
Nick Rhode earned 250 total points
ID: 39600457
For a gigabit network you would want CAT6.

CAT5e - uncertified gigabit
*This means it can go up to gigabit but speeds may vary so it could be less like 600mb vs a true gigabit speed*

CAT6 - certified gigabit
*You are getting the full*

What this will enhance is opening files from the server (will open faster as it pertains to the network). Basically all internel traffic is much faster for uploading and downloading information but as with a gigabit network, everything must be gigabit to function like the following.

PC with gb NIC
GB Switch
Server with gb NIC
etc.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39600459
If the cat5 doesn't meet cat5e specs (some did; most didn't), then I would replace it.

The main symptom you might see is a device not getting a gigabit connection. If you're seeing that, check what type of cable it is. That's usually easy to spot on switches, because they typically have different colored LEDs to indicate 10/100/1000 Mb connections (e.g. they could be off/yellow/green, respectively). If that's happening and it's not cat5 cable (and you're sure the devices on both ends are gigabit capable), possibly a termination somewhere in the path has been damaged and needs to be redone.
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by:Nick Rhode
ID: 39600462
Great article on CAT5e vs CAT6

http://www.broadbandutopia.com/caandcaco.html
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39601021
I've seen issues when Cat5 (as opposed to Cat5e) is used on gigabit networks.  Sometimes devices have a hard time negotiating and can even go off line (the connection establishes, drops, reestablishes, drops, etc).  If you have ANY Cat5 (again, as opposed to Cat5e) cable, I would replace it.  Regarding certification, can't speak on that, but given the factors involved in getting ACTUAL gigabit throughput, I would say odds of seeing (actually seeing) significant improvements by swapping out Cat5e cable for Cat6 are pretty low.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39601132
> odds of seeing (actually seeing) significant improvements by
> swapping out Cat5e cable for Cat6 are pretty low.
I concur, unless it's an industrial environment with lots of electromagnetic 'noise'.

Because of packet/protocol overhead and shared bus contention in the end devices, you'll likely never see more than ~700Mb real-world-throughput from a gigabit ethernet connection, by the way (I don't care what it says on Wikipedia :).
If I was going to replace existing cat5e with anything, I'd go with single mode fiber.
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39601342
If I was going to replace existing cat5e with anything, I'd go with single mode fiber.

Bit extreme isn't it... given the cost implications!? :-)
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by:masnrock
ID: 39604420
If you aren't getting Gigabit speeds on the LAN and it is absolutely essential, then you may look into upgrading the wiring. But I would also analyze network traffic in order to look at anything else which might cause a large amount of traffic. How many workstations are there and how is your subnet structured?
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by:jsarinana
ID: 39604629
Not replacing CAT5e I'm replacing CAT5
I'm just gathering ROI info.

Thanks
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Craig Beck earned 250 total points
ID: 39604981
Install at least Cat6 then. It's usually the same price as Cat5E these days and will also allow for 10Gbps up-to around 40m.

If you want to future-proof for 40 or 100Gbps over copper you should install Cat7.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39606160
You might want to peruse
http://www.cablinginstall.com/articles/2013/05/how-cat8-will-solve.html
before going beyond cat 6a, too.
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by:jsarinana
ID: 39611919
Thanks
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