Cat5e vs Cat6 Ethernet Cables for NAS storage

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tekboi, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    tekboi

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    New Orleans ✈ WesŦward
    #1
    So, i've recently discovered that I only have Cat5e ethernet cables (not surprising since I haven't bought any in a while. I have a NAS (by Wester Digital) and the speeds are slow. I was wondering if it would help if I had a Cat6 Cable instead of the 5e. Especially since my router has gigabit ports on it.
     
  2. gr8tfly, Mar 29, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013

    macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    Oct 29, 2006
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    #2
    Cat5e is needed (over Cat5) for 1000BASE-T because of changes which result in lower crosstalk. 100m is the maximum run. While I haven't used Cat6, it appears to be a slightly larger gauge and, is actually certified for 1000BASE-T. Although for most installations (especially shorter runs).

    Cat5e should be fine unless it's a long run (>100m) and/or an especially noisy one, (it's rated for up to 350GHz). Lower noise environments would be good for either (plan cable routing as best you can).

    The article I'm referencing also says if you are or intend to use 1000BASE-T, and all components in the network are rated for 1000BASE-T, it might be worth getting 6.

    You didn't say what the slowdown speed actually was and if the NAS was RAID or?; also all interfaces: routers, switches, iNICs, etc all need to be rated for 1000BASE-T.
     
  3. macrumors member

    nightmars

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    What gr8fly wrote!!!

    Cat 5e is absolutely enough - except if you ant to spend more money or built networks >100m (300ft)

    Cat 5e at home usually works great up to 80 MB/sec

    Actual network speed depends on your NAS - I am used to approx. 14 - 18 MB/sec (WD MyBook World - everything connected to a 1000 Mbit network) which usually is considered relatively fast for a private NAS (NAS only) - small server boxes (with CPU, RAM,...) can go up to 60-80 MB/sec, but are way more expensive.

    If you have a 100 Mbit switch /router - then get used to 6-10 MB/sec transfer speeds.

    cheers
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Location:
    Rochester Hills, MI
    #4
    I have a feeling the terrible speeds are actually due to your Western Digital NAS, not your cabling.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    tekboi

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    New Orleans ✈ WesŦward
    #5
    I think u are right
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #6
    It's definitely the NAS. My old house was wired with CAT5 and I was still able to get gigabit ethernet speeds at most locations with no issues. Cat5e would be more than plenty. The problem with a NAS is that many are very slow. You really need to do your research before purchasing to see whether it is a "good" one or not. Frankly, I stick to DAS and just use file sharing because I can almost guarentee decent transfer rates compared to a NAS. But that's just me.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #7
    question.


    assuming all devices and hardware on a home network is capable of saturating gbe, would cat 5e vs cat 6 make a real world difference?
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #8
    No. At least not anything you would really notice from day to day use. Besides, outside of file transfers, there is very little in your home network that would saturate gbe. Video streaming doesn't even max it out (you would need several streams). Internet surfing uses a fraction of the bandwidth (at least for the "average homeowner", at my house I get a choice of 7mb or 12mb depending on the service). Music uses almost no bandwidth really. The only thing you are left with (as previously stated) is file transfers and frankly whether a file would arrive at 80MB/s or 100MB/s, I'm probably not going to notice since most of the time I start a file transfer and come back to it at a later time (so whether it completes if 4 minutes vs 5 doesn't really matter to me).
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #9

    let me rephrase it,

    is there a difference greater than nothing and dick on file transfers assuming all hardware is capable of saturating gbe and is currently doing so i.e. file transferring

    i.e. 80mBs vs the supposed 120mBs gbe is capable of.
     
  10. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #10
    No difference.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    tekboi

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    New Orleans ✈ WesŦward
    #11
    I'm getting mixed results with my NAS. When I first purchased it the speeds were decent. But now it's almost pointless to use it. I did move to a new location recently and I wonder if that has something to do with it sometimes.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2014
    Location:
    San Diego
    #12
    If your NASs,router/switch support Jumbo Frames,switch them on. Cable is not issue in your case as Most people use Cat5e Cable For Telephone and Internet and it can serve well what you want from it. Cat6 used in cases where distance is more than 100ft,for home networking will be overkill. Have you checked port duplex settings. Routers/Switches set to Auto by default change it to Half duplex. Port settings on the PC, Router, and NAS need to be at 1GB Full duplex.
     
  13. VoR
    macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    UK
    #13
    Jumbo frames is a very bad idea. All equipment needs to support it - lots of experimenting and tuning for little to no gain (you're far more likely to make things worse).

    Switching your devices off Auto negotiation is equally bad. You're instantly breaking gig-e specifications and again, far more likely to make things worse.
    Checking everything has negotiated to 1000 full is very different than manually setting it - If it hasn't, you've almost definitely got a cabling issue and much less likely, a compatibility issue.

    As others have said, 5e and 6 won't make a difference assuming the cables aren't broken/kinked. The bottleneck will almost definitely be a slow nas device (the cheap ones often pump their network traffic through low power mips/arm cpus) and irrelevent of the port spec/negotiation/protocol overhead, simply can't handle anywhere near gigabit throughput.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #14
    No, not all devices need to support it.
    I have a recent 35 bucks 8-port gigabit switch, and it can handle 16 gbit of traffic on its controller, and it can give each port the needed configuration: 100 or 1000 mbit, jumbo or normal frames, single or full duplex. The controller converts one type on one port to another type on another port. My Macs on the network are at 1gbit/jumbo/full duplex on regular Cat 5 (no 5e) cables. Zero problems and I reach the promised speed.
     
  15. dyn
    macrumors 68000

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    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #15
    You're wrong. If you want to do jumbo frames everyone needs to play along. If they don't things won't stop working, they'll use non-jumbo frames instead. And for 1Gbit that's just fine since you'll be able to get the max out of 1Gbit easily.

    There are very little to no benefits in settings jumbo frames on 1Gbit networks. In most cases it won't do anything, you'll get the same performance as before. In some cases it will give you nothing but problems and in a very small amount of cases it will give you some better performance. That's why they always recommend you to use the default settings and change to jumbo frames ONLY when you're having problems.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Dowjohnny

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Location:
    Germany
    #16
    Are we talking about the WD my cloud? I'm looking to buy one and it has mixed reviews (for example about decreasing speed like yours..)
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    #17
    In my office we were doing video editing and we realized we had cat5, we changed to cat6 and the difference was HUGE, I mean, first time I see a HUGE difference in the electronic world. Now we were able to preview SD video from one computer to the other via network instead of transferring the video from one computer to the other.

    Cat5 was like 10/100 compared to 100/100 of Cat6. Personally I would recommend the change. But be sure your router is good. But yes, there is a difference.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    larrylaffer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #18
    Any two devices that are going to communicate need to agree on the frame size. If the NAS is set for jumbo frames, all clients talking to the NAS must also be set for jumbo frames. This will not be auto-negotiated. If the router is supporting multiple clients, which do not talk to the NAS and do not talk to the client talking to the NAS, they can be left at the standard MTU.

    In general, you really shouldn't be messing with this, as it puts more pressure on you, the admin, and the risks far outweigh the minimal gains using jumbo frames provides for a typical NAS scenario.

    As a test, I recommend trying an iperf between two clients, with both the standard MTU and jumbo MTU, and see what the difference is. It won't be much.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    #19
    Cat5 to Cat6 is a huge jump. Cat5e to Cat6 is not in most cases.
     
  20. dyn
    macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #20
    If we're talking long runs (30+ meters) then yes, if not then no. In case of short runs it is more likely that the quality of the cable made a difference (crappy cat5 one vs proper cat6 cabling), not the cat5 vs cat6 difference. Cat5 is perfectly able to do gigabit ethernet over a distance of say 10 meters (maybe even more). Cat5e and cat6 are just better suited to do this over very long runs like in a big building (30+ meters will be more common there). At home you won't see the difference.
     

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