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I am doing an extension in my house and it is the perfect time to set a home network. There are some posts on this issue here but I didn't find all the answers I was looking for.

This is my (simple) situation:

  • Trying to future proof the network (or trying to ;-))
  • Small house (hence lots of electric cables going through the stud walls, no cable over 30m)
  • Cat6a U/FTP cables
  • Will use a patch panel
  • Need a 16 ports switch (recommendation? maybe with 1 POE port), and in the future a 10GbE switch when they become more affordable
  • Node Zero is under the stairs

I have a hard time finding details about how to make this work properly.

Scenario A: I use the U/FTP cable as a UTP cable with an unshielded patch panel, with plastic RJ45 plugs for the wall outlet, and UTP patch cables between the patch panel and the switch (not grounded other than the power cable)

  1. I read multiple time that it is possible that this would result in worst performance as simply using UTP cable but is this a theoretical risk or is it likely to happen?

  2. can 10GbE be achieved in this scenario (with the appropriate switch)

Scenario B: Using the U/FTP cable as intended. And this is where I am lost. Here are my assumptions:

  1. I need a shielded patch panel

  2. I need shielded RJ45 modules (metal plugs) on the wall faceplate

  3. I need shielded keystones on the patch panel for each port

  4. I need shielded RJ45 plugs for the patch cables on both ends

  5. I need shielded RJ45 plugs for shielded patch cables between the wall faceplates and the workstations

  6. In situation B, what does need to be grounded? only the patch panel? only the switch? only the faceplates?

There are so many contradictory information out there :-( The goal is simply to have a decent home network and optimising the speed.

Can someone help?

P.S: telling me to go with a UTP cable is not an option. I have it, I keep it ;-)

  • You should read the white paper in my answer in the link, it explains everything: superuser.com/questions/1295256/… don't go with 6a if you are trying to Future proof, it's a standard from literally a decade ago. – Tim_Stewart Oct 23 '18 at 22:28
  • @Tim_Stewart, there is really no such thing as Category-7 and Category-8 cabling. ANSI/TIA/EIA define the cable categories, and they only do that for UTP, and the only currently registered cable categories are 3. 5e, 6, and 6a. There are ISO/IEC cable classes that go beyond that, and many people call them by categories, which is completely incorrect. – Ron Maupin Oct 23 '18 at 22:35
  • @ron maupin: Ansi/tia 568-C.2-1 was ratified in 2016? Are you saying cat-8 cables you can purchase now are not specified to 2000mhz? – Tim_Stewart Oct 23 '18 at 22:53
  • @Tim_Stewart There is nowhere in that standard that Category-8 is mentioned. – Ron Maupin Oct 23 '18 at 22:58
  • @Tim_Stewart: "4.2 Recognized categories The recognized categories of balanced twisted-pair cabling and components are: Category 3: This designation applies to 100 W balanced twisted-pair cabling and components those transmission characteristics are specified from 1 to 16 MHz. Category 5e: This designation applies to 100 W balanced twisted-pair cabling and components whose transmission characteristics are specified from 1 to 100 MHz." – Ron Maupin Oct 23 '18 at 23:00
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You simply cannot mix shielded and unshielded parts in a link. The shield only works if it continuous end-to-end and properly grounded on both ends. The actual wires in shielded cabling cannot meet specifications without working shielding. Having unshielded connectors means that the shielding is broken on the link, and it is not properly grounded. Improperly grounded links with shielded cable cannot meet the required cable specifications.

You need to use Category-6a for 10GBase-T (10 gigabit).

There are documents that explain things for you. For example, Shielded and unshielded twisted-pair cable revisited:

If STP cable is combined with improperly shielded connectors, connecting hardware or outlets, or if the foil shield itself is damaged, overall signal quality will be degraded. This, in turn, can result in degraded emission and immunity performance. Therefore, for a shielded cabling system to totally reduce interference, every component within that system must be fully and seamlessly shielded, as well as properly installed and maintained.

An STP cabling system also requires good grounding and earthing practices because of the presence of the shield. An improperly grounded system can be a primary source of emissions and interference. Whether this ground is at one end or both ends of the cable run depends on the frequency at which a given application is running. For high-frequency signals, an STP cabling system must be grounded, at minimum, at both ends of the cable run, and it must be continuous. A shield grounded at only one end is not effective against magnetic-field interference.


FYI, cable categories are defined by ANSI/TIA/EIA, which only defines UTP. Many cable many manufacturers cannot meet the category specification without adding a shield, and incorrect use of the shielded cable will prevent it from passing the category test suite.

Also, Caetgory-6 and Category 6-a should be installed by professional installers as it is highly doubtful that you have the expertise or (very expensive) test equipment to determine that the installed cable passes the category test suite. You can use all the correct category parts, but most important to passing the tests is the actual installation, and even many experienced installers have difficulties with Category-6 and Category-6a cabling.

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    So basically from what I understand I need to have everything shielded. I might hire an installer however I need to buy the equipment I am missing. So we are talking about a shielded patch panel, wall outlet with shielded module and shielded patch cables. Am I right? – LinuxIntermediate Oct 23 '18 at 22:07
  • If you want to use shielded cable, then, yes, and the equipment (routers, switches, etc.) into which the cables connect must be able to use shielded cable (most enterprise-grade equipment is outfitted for this).. You really wouldn't see any difference between using a shielded vs. unshielded network, other than cost. It is unlikely that you have RF equipment using frequencies that would cause interference with unshielded cable (it is really rare to need shielded cable). – Ron Maupin Oct 23 '18 at 22:18
  • Argh it feels like Scenario A would then be better/easier but I wouldn't be able to reach 10GbE with it... – LinuxIntermediate Oct 23 '18 at 22:21
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    You can run 10 Gb on unshielded Category-6a cable. You could probably run 10 Gb on unshielded Category-6 cable (up to 55 meters), if the cable is properly installed, passing the test suite, and using solid-core horizontal cable, with stranded patch cords no longer than a total of 10 meters in any cable run. – Ron Maupin Oct 23 '18 at 22:26
  • Unfortunately I have a U/FTP cable as I've mentioned so going with unshielded cable isn't possible at the moment :-( I guess that I need to hire an installer now. I just need to make sure I buy the right gears ;-( – LinuxIntermediate Oct 23 '18 at 22:31

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