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I'm planning to cable network my house whilst building an extension. I want to minimise later requirement for rewiring (and cost). I work from home but am a baby boomer, so don't know for how much longer. I'm not in town, so internet is satellite and I think fibre optic is only dream for phone. I want the network to connect (usually 4) computers, peripherals and carry my video signals for watching and recording TV. I've been planning on Cat 6 with a comms rack with patch panel and ethernet switch. I plan to have at least 2 RJ45 sockets in each room so that I can use one set for phone signals but change use of individual sockets as needs vary. I'm not planning on buying phone system, just plug single line phone to socket carrying the specific line required. My latest request for a quote provided me with advice not to use Cat 6 as high frequency cable gives poor performance with phone signals and can damage components, specifically switches. Can anyone comment on my plans and the accuracy of this advice?

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If you really want to minimize the need to ever do this again, go with CAT 6A, not 6. – MDMarra Jul 16 '10 at 2:14
Gsh, I've not seen mention of 6A. – MaccaHV Jul 16 '10 at 2:16
It allows 10GbE over 100m. – MDMarra Jul 18 '10 at 20:34
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would get a quote from someone else. They probably cannot get any Cat6 cable at a decent price and so are trying to get you to go for cheaper cable. Or they're just, you know, not the company you want to go with.

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Well, he said that others will try to sell me Cat 6 but they don't know what they're doing. I really didn't like his superior attitude but he's got me worried of whether I'm on the wrong track. – MaccaHV Jul 16 '10 at 1:21
They're wrong in any case, so either they're lying, they're ignorant, or they're gullible. Not good qualities in a provider. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jul 16 '10 at 1:35
That's the answer I needed, thanks. I assume ignorant, but maybe I'm being generous. – MaccaHV Jul 16 '10 at 1:45
He could provide the CAT6 cable, at monoprice it is around US$80 for 1000 ft. Plenty to wire a house. As far of using CAT6 I would recommend it, even if you don't have a fiber optic cable connection it would be an investment for the future, you don't want to wire with CAT5 and in 5-10 years rewire because it can't handle the connection speeds. Also it'll improve you local network connection. – octa Jul 16 '10 at 1:52
Yes, I'm thinking I'll enjoy the network speed, especially when I'm moving video files around or watching a show on a different screen from the machine where the file is stored. – MaccaHV Jul 16 '10 at 2:20

There is another question, what speeds can your ISP deliver in your area? If you only can get a ADSL with a theoretical speed at 24Mbit/s it is really overkill to have a 10Gbit/s LAN. If you don't need this speed locally?

I would say that you still get most worth for your money with the old Cat5 cables, and then use them to run 1GBit/s Ethernet.

And since those Cat5 cables are cheep, pull 2 cables in the wall one for Ethernet and one for phone.

But to answer your question, the Cat6 is more expensive a has a little bit better quality but more or less does the same as the Cat5. And there is no problem using Cat6 for both phone and Ethernet (not at the same time thou...)

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You might want to read CAT5 Vs CAT6 - Which Should We Use?

Here's the bottom line, then, in the CAT5 vs CAT6 decision: If your organization or business plans to go to ten gigabit Ethernet, then you'll want to go with CAT6. It operates at as fast as 50 Mhz, thus greatly improving your transmission speeds And in today's heavy-bandwidth days, every gigabyte that you can transfer at faster speeds helps. However, if that kind of performance is not yet needed and your company cannot afford to pay the extra 10% premium, you'll probably need to stick with the CAT5 and CAT5e standards.

From 'CAT-5-cable-company' (emphasis intentional, they are a CAT5 company...),

Most of this confusion comes from a misunderstanding by the buyer that buying Cat6 cable will give them an "all gigabit" network. This is not the case. Unless every single component in the network is gigabit rated, then you will never have a gigabit network, because your network will always run at the speed of your slowest device. Cat5e cable of good quality can run near or at gigabit speeds, it just cannot be "certified" for this use. By comparison, Cat6 is designed especially for gigabit use, and is certified to operate at said speed.

A local question: Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6 cable confusion,
and, a reference from the CAT6 side: Use CAT6 Cables for the Ultimate Network Perfomance.

My short opinion, if you are not planning on a 10G local Ethernet at home some time soon, take the CAT5e option.
But, if you might shift to 10G later, this would call for a re-cable -- check the cost and effort on that against the (about) 10% premium on CAT6 today.


I will once again request that you check your bandwidth requirements at home :-). You can probably run more than 10 Full-HD streams at 1Gbps. What do you intend to do with a 10Gbps LAN in the next 5 years? (this is likely to be taken down like many last words, yet I'd like to know if anyone here has points against this statement today).

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But does using Cat 6 for a voice (phone) system risk damage to the components? As we may get faster, different signals in the future I'd like to get my cabling as ahead of the game now as I can. But if it won't actually work for me, that's a whole other ball game. – MaccaHV Jul 16 '10 at 1:37
Thanks. Gosh, that makes me wonder if I should be looking at Cat 7? – MaccaHV Jul 16 '10 at 1:44
@MaccaHV, 'faster' cable is not a problem with slower communication devices. Don't confuse latency with bandwidth :-). – nik Jul 16 '10 at 1:45
I am sure a lot of people will want you to worry about CAT7 replacing CAT6 ;-). Just focus on the present questions like, when will you shift to 10G and is re-cabling a huge cost for that time? If things are going to remain 1G at your home for a long time (which is quite a lot of speed for a home network), stick to present technology (I mean, don't bother about when-is-CAT7, – nik Jul 16 '10 at 1:47
Thanks. The problem is how good is one's crystal ball. The speed of change with technology has become so staggering. Think I'll go with Cat 6 - just got to find an installer who actually turns up to do the quote! – MaccaHV Jul 16 '10 at 1:52

Seriously, unless you are also going to invest in other elements of a super-fast network, I would imagine the additional cost will be for no noticeable benefit.

CAT6 is not just about the cable, it is also about the other components (faceplates, patch panel etc), and the way they are instaled (CAT6 is only Gigabit rated if installed properly, for example the minimum bend radius is much larger than for CAT5e at 100Mbps when going round corners inside walls).

I can't see how using the twisted pair cable as a phone extension will have any effect on other devices such as switches that are nothing to do with them. I don't know if these low-tech devices do or don't perform less well on cable optimised for higher freqency use.

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