Cat 6 is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by LongSticks, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. LongSticks macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #1
    Bit of advise

    I currently have a cabled network in Cat 5 with a Cat 5 switch as follows:

    Cable modem to Time Capsule (3ft) - for wireless and Macmini home theatre system hard wired to the time capsule.

    Second long cat 5 (30ft) cable from Cable Modem to a another room and a 5 port switch then out to a 27" iMac - spare feed for MBP and a couple of 2tb NAS drives.

    Questions - Our cable modem has been upgraded to 60mb - about 32mb/s average download. Would I notice a difference in speed at the iMac end if I switched to Cat 6 and a Gigabit switch? It definitely feels quicker cabled than wireless, but I haven't found away to demonstrate it?

    Thanks in Advance
     
  2. ray648 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #2
    Your existing network will be running at 100mb, which is already above your internet connection speed, so upgrading your network will not improve your internet speeds.

    Replacing the switch with a gigabit one will improve speeds between devices on your local network (except the mini to time capsule which is already gigabit).

    Over typical home use cable lengths, cat 6 will over no noticeable improvement over cat 5/5e.

    Wireless is going to be slower than using cables. I always run cables to any device that will remain stationary.
     
  3. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #3
    Cat 5 is only 10 MB/s. Cat 5e (enhanced) supports Gigabit speeds (100 MB/s) so if the OP has Cat 5, then upgrading to Cat 6 will make the entire network much faster. There is no difference in speed between Cat 5e and Cat 6 using a Gigabit switch.

    I don't know what the cable modem is capable of, but a Time Capsule has Gigabit Ethernet ports so it would be best to use those ports instead of using the cable modem, unless the cable modem also has GbE ports.
     
  4. ray648 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #4
    See http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/231/ and also various other sources from around the internet. Gigabit ethernet will work just fine on cat 5 up to lengths of 100m. If you are putting in a new network then use cat 6, but if you already have cat 5 cables in place in most cases it will not be worth the hassle of replacing them. The only benefit is that you get less interference with cat 6 and this won't really be an issue unless you do silly things like run very long cables and tangle them up with power cables or something.
     
  5. yensteel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    #5
    I think Cat 5e is good enough for most cases for gigabit ethernet
     
  6. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #6
    The cables themselves will be printed in small letters. You may already have cat5e. If so, there's no need for cat6.
     
  7. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    #7
    Well that's not entirely true. While a cat 5e cable sensed by an ethernet card will allow autonegotiation for a 1000 vs 100 mbp connection, in fact the higher quality cable will get you better throughput. Whether it's meaningfully better is a separate question.

    Ethernet isn't like FireWire where you always get the rated speed. It actually does a really good job of dumbing itself down dynamically, rather than flat out failing, when the network isn't optimum. For example if you run a cable longer than the spec 100m between ports, or you pinch a cable under a sofa or staple, or if the bend is too tight: you will not see the network fail to function in most cases, but it will get a LOT slower. Higher quality cables will be more resilient especially with respect to tolerance to nearby EM sources.

    That said, with short (less than 10') good cat 5e cables, linksys gigE router running dd-wrt, a MBP 4,1 running Fedora 17 serving NFS async, and a MBP 8,2 running Mac OS X 10.7.4, I get push/pull 5+MB files at just over 100+MB/s. This is not with jumbo frames either. Could I do better with Cat 6? Maybe...but at 10' drops, which are no where near any other electrical sources, it's not worth trying.
     
  8. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #8
    Thanks for the link. That is very interesting.
     
  9. LongSticks thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Location:
    Kent, UK

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