Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If I were to have a fully compliant cat6 or cat6a network running through my walls... that is to say, wires and jacks... What would be the concequence of plugging a cat5e wire into one of the jacks? I'm assuming that it would still run at cat5e standards, but obviously not cat6/6a standards because the whole connection is not cat6.

I only ask because it seems silly to me to make a bunch of cat6 patch cables for connections that don't really matter, like standard desktop computers and other equipment. Or will doing so hamper the whole network?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Note: my answer assumes you have plugged all these Cat6 cables into an ethernet switch or router. My answer also assumes all cables have been pinned and terminated correctly.

If I were to have a fully compliant cat6 or cat6a network running through my walls... that is to say, wires and jacks... What would be the concequence of plugging a cat5e wire into one of the jacks?

Speaking as a professional network engineer, the only meaningful consequence is possibly lower speed negotiated on that particular link.

I'm assuming that it would still run at cat5e standards, but obviously not cat6/6a standards because the whole connection is not cat6.

Correct assumption

will doing so hamper the whole network?

Nope. Furthermore, the compelling reason for using wiring rated higher than Cat5e is 1GigE or 10GE speeds; however, Cat5e is capable of 1GE as well.

share|improve this answer
1  
Moreover, having CAT6 cables + CAT6 jacks does not equal CAT6 compliant system... Installation matters, a lot! So unless you paid high $$$ for testing, I wouldn't assume that the in-wall cabling would ever support 10gbps. –  haimg May 28 '12 at 22:33
add comment

According to wikipedia, CAT 6 standard:

Category 6 cable, commonly referred to as Cat 6, is a cable standard for Gigabit Ethernet and other network physical layers that is backward compatible with the Category 5/5e and Category 3 cable standards. Compared with Cat 5 and Cat 5e, Cat 6 features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise. The cable standard provides performance of up to 250 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet) and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet).

And Cat 5e:

The specification for Category 5 cable was defined in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A, with clarification in TSB-95. These documents specified performance characteristics and test requirements for frequencies of up to 100 MHz.

Assuming these premisses, you can see that the main phisical reason to addopt a Cat 6/6a wire and conectors is the possibility to use more than 100 MHz to send/receive data signals, what you will actually ned only on Gigabit speed(such as 1000BaseTX Gigabit ethernet).

Adding Cat 6/6e conectors on a Cat 5e wire network will only provide the capability to use up to 250MHz into your conectors, what wouldn't be noticeable in terms of speed on any way(unless your Cat 5E conectors are bad) because the main device on a wired network is acutally the wire, not the connectors. Actually, if you had a Cat 6 wire network using Cat 5e conectors then you could maybe see your Gigabit Ethernet running Ok(Ok not means good or perfect, you could see a lot of packet loss).

If you want to use a Cat 6/6a network, then you should use all components of this standard(cables, connectors and actives) and not only one of this component alone.

share|improve this answer
    
I don't know if it was clear or not, but I meant to imply that the whole network in the walls and jacks would be cat6, but the patch cable from the wall to the device might be (for some, but not all of the devices) cat5e. I understand fully that this would make the wiring moot for that run - but would it affect other connections between a different jack and the switch it's plugged into? –  agent154 May 28 '12 at 19:33
    
What do you mean with "affect other connections between a different jack and the switch it's plugged into"? Whathever it is, if you change any component of entire path of a Cat 6/6e network you may(probabilly will) have some problem with your Gigabit network(unless you are using FastEthernet 100Mbs over your Cat 6/6e network). The explanation is just due t the fact that any lower component on your netowk will work as a filter to high frequencies(from 100 to 250MHz). –  Diogo May 28 '12 at 19:50
    
Well... if I plug a printer into the network with a cat5e cable... Will that hamper other devices, even if they're all plugged in using cat6? –  agent154 May 28 '12 at 22:42
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.