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Old Apr 25, 2008, 11:26 PM   #1
uplusd
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Gigabit Network

I just bought an Airport extreme with Gigabit Ethernet. However, my house is pre-wired with CAT5 cable only, not CAT5e or CAT6. Will it still be worth for me to replace my 10/100 switch with a Gigabit switch given the wiring I have?
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Old Apr 25, 2008, 11:31 PM   #2
spork183
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Yes, your existing cable will handle gigabit. If you go to 10-gigabit (and I know we're all rushing to install that in homes), then you need fiber. Here's a link to a discussion about it.
http://www.networkworld.com/news/tec.../1016tech.html
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Old Apr 26, 2008, 09:26 PM   #3
razorme
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Originally Posted by mrurmil View Post
I just bought an Airport extreme with Gigabit Ethernet. However, my house is pre-wired with CAT5 cable only, not CAT5e or CAT6. Will it still be worth for me to replace my 10/100 switch with a Gigabit switch given the wiring I have?
Some Cat 5 cable will not work at Gigabit speeds. I would test your devices by plugging the cables you intend to use directly into the Extreme and verifying that they are at Gigabit speed.

I have Cat 5e running through the house, but when I first switched to Gigabit it didn't work until I realized I was using a short 7' Cat 5 cable from the computer to the wall jack. Switching that to Cat 5e fixed the problem.
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Old Apr 27, 2008, 12:42 AM   #4
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Unless you are simultaneously streaming multiple HD-quality movies all over the place (to AppleTV, to another computer, from/to a media server) I don't think you need to upgrade a switch at this point.

The quick bursts of activity are wasted on Gigabit. That's more for sustained gigabytes of transfers happening rather frequently, or for lots and lots of smaller groups of networks that might need to share space with each other while slinging a bunch of data all over the place.

Your setup would have a hard time making gigabit even notice it was being used.

Think of the slowest link in the chain, typ. the cable modem, and that is the limiting factor of the whole network - again unless you are slinging a LOT of data around inside to your various computers its just a waste.
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Old Apr 27, 2008, 01:51 AM   #5
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^^^^
While what Sayer says is 100% correct from a technical perspective, I would just point out that we're not talking about a lot of money here! Gigabit switches have gotten pretty cheap--a quick look on Amazon shows that a 5-port gb switch will set you back a whopping $35; an 8-port switch costs about $50. Unless you're extremely tight on cash, if there's any chance you'll occasionally need to move a large amount of data around, I'd say it's worth it.
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Old Apr 27, 2008, 07:59 PM   #6
razorme
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You may as well use Gigabit if you already have it in the computer and the Airport Extreme. Since there are 3 lan ports on the AE, you could use your old switch on 1 port, and use the other 2 ports for gigabit use without having to buy a new switch.

How many devices do you have that can use Gigabit?
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 09:36 AM   #7
Le Big Mac
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^^^^
Gigabit switches have gotten pretty cheap
Even at cheap, why bother replacing before you need to? If you were asking whether you should spend the extra money for gig over 100, that's one thing, but you already have a switch, right? So I'd wait until you need to replace that.
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