Gigabit Ethernet Cables for AEBS?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by SWLinPHX, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. SWLinPHX macrumors regular

    SWLinPHX

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    #1
    This may be a dumb question, but I've never owned any device with gigabit ethernet before. Do I need to buy special gigabit ethernet cables to get the gigabit speed? Are they the Cat 6 instead of Cat 5 cables? If so, I need to buy 2 10-ft. ethernet cables today as I'm installing my AEBS.

    I found something like this from Cables Unlimited, referred to as a "Cat 6 Gigabit Patch", but not sure what is considered a patch vs. cable:

    http://www.macmall.com/macmall/shop...T+WHITE+CAT6+GIGABIT+PATCH-Cables&dpno=107741
     
  2. jonbravo77 macrumors 6502a

    jonbravo77

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    #2
    No, you can use Cat 5e cable. It works for gigabit. I'm sure someone will say differently but I deal with networking and using a 48 port Gigabit switch to network with 24 port gigabit switches and use nothing but Cat 5e cable. works great...
     
  3. SWLinPHX thread starter macrumors regular

    SWLinPHX

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    #3
    Thanks, I just read up since my post and realize I can use 5e, but 6 works and is backward-compatible too. It just differs in that Cat 6 provides a minimum bandwidth of 250MHz while Cat 5e's minimum is 100MHz.

    But another question: I want patch cords both from AEBS to desktop computer and from cable modem to router right? I assume crossover is only when speaking both ways from two of the same device, like computer-to-computer with Migration Assistant. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also, if my old PowerMac G4 does not have gigabit ethernet, that means I'd just be limited to its speed for that connection, despite the gigabit ethernet cable and AEBS, right?

    What about from cable modem to AEBS? Will it achieve better rates with a gigabit cable and the gigabit AEBS even if the modem does not have or specify gigabit ethernet?
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #4
    Correct. Actually, all Apple hardware and most other hardware has been auto-sensing for years (can reverse the wires for you), so you should basically never, ever need a crossover cable for any reason at all.
     
  5. pilotError macrumors 68020

    pilotError

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    #5
    If you have to buy new, go to monoprice.com and get some Cat 6 patch cables.

    I had some mixed Cat 5e cables and it dropped the ports down to 100Mbit. I had to go get new cables to support it.
     
  6. SWLinPHX thread starter macrumors regular

    SWLinPHX

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    #6
    Okay, thanks for the answer to my question about patch vs. crossover cables. I thought I needed crossover when connecting 2 computers together via ethernet. Now, what about my other 2 questions:

    1) If my old PowerMac G4 does not have gigabit ethernet, does that mean I'd just be limited to its 10/100 speed for that connection, despite the gigabit ethernet cable and gigabit AEBS?

    2) What about from cable modem to AEBS? Will it achieve better rates with a gigabit cable and the gigabit AEBS even if the modem only has 10/100 "fast" ethernet?

    3) Also, if I can only get the lowest common denominator (10/100), then does it make a difference if I just use regular Cat 5 cables with the AEBS?

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #7
    1) The non-GE computer will certainly not receive data at gigabit speeds without adding a gigabit NIC to it. I'd hope that would be intuitively obvious. ;) As I understand it, a mixed 1000 / 10/100 network will provide optimum speed on each connection, so that computer won't drag the rest down, however.

    2) Does your cable connection really provide more than 100 mbps? I don't even think I've ever heard of Cable Internet that fast. The fastest I've heard of is around 50 mbps. If yours does, somehow, then presumably they gave you a cable modem with a gigabit port. If not, then you, like the rest of us, don't have a cable modem with a gigabit port but you also don't have that kind of speed coming through your cable modem so it's irrelevant anyways. The benefit of GE is mostly for intranet traffic.

    3) Per the above, if you happen to get cat 5e cables that can't support >100Mhz then you might have some slowdown. You can definitely use them on all the 10/100 connections, though, like with the older computer and (probably) with the cable modem. So perhaps you can try it all out, and if you see a lag, you can buy a few better cables just for the gigabit devices?

    Cheers.
     
  8. SWLinPHX thread starter macrumors regular

    SWLinPHX

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    #8
    Well I have many extra cables that have never been used, but none are the 10 feet I will need (mostly 6 or 7'), so I have to buy 10' new ones anyway, at least one new ethernet and one new USB A to mini B. However, your conclusion is correct, I don't have gigabit ethernet on anything but the new AEBS. So I guess it is all irrelevant. The only speed increase I'll likely notice is with my MacBook Pro using wireless "n". At any rate, I won't buy less than 5e on the new ones, and I presume 6 would be more future proof.

    Is it really that common for the average person to have mulitple gigabit ethernet devices? Modems are still 10/100 so I guess it only benefits people with newer desktop computers.
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    Average person, no it isn't. That's why this whole thread is, in Monty Python terms, "slightly silly." :p I think you're getting all worked up over nothing.

    Even with your MBP, if you're using 802.11n and it's the only 802.11n device and the only device that has gigabit ethernet, the whole gigabit ethernet is still completely irrelevant, because the only thing that can communicate to the router that fast is the MBP, and it's not even using ethernet.

    Gigabit ethernet is really primarily useful today in a few situations. They affect a number of people, but not anything like 50% of home users.

    - If you are doing any kind of high performance computing, i.e. you have multiple fast desktops in one location, doing data intensive work, then you'll be pushing large files around the intranet and this will be beneficial.

    - If you have a media server in your home, so that a lot of streaming video is going across the network, then GE helps reduce the network strain this causes, assuming you can get wired links between the router and both the serving computer and the media center.

    - If you have a network backup system (e.g. Time Capsule) or network attached drives ("NAS").

    Otherwise, just relax.... ;)
     
  10. SWLinPHX thread starter macrumors regular

    SWLinPHX

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    #10

    Wait a sec... An ethernet hard drive? People are using gigabit ethernet hard drives? I don't get it. Isn't it usually FW or USB, etc?

    And Time Capsule is a built in hard drive with the AEBS.... how is it communicating with itself via gigabit ethernet?

    Yes, I will be using a 1TB FW/USB ext. drive connected to the AEBS, which is one of the cables I need to get in 10 ft.
     
  11. waw74 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #11
    Yes, but today, where more and more people are running networks, it's sometime easier to have a drive on the network always without having to have a computer turned on.

    the time capsule isn't communicating with itself, it's communicating with your other networked computers.

    then you will see a definate speed increase by using GE when accessing the drive connected to your AEBS.
     
  12. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #12
    Get Cat 6 if you're running it like 100 feet through your home, but otherwise just get Cat 5e.
     
  13. SWLinPHX thread starter macrumors regular

    SWLinPHX

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    #13
    Wait, how can there be a speed increase when the wired computers themselves (connected via gigabit ethernet cables) only have 10/100 "fast" ethernet ports? That was what I prefaced up front and what I'm asking. And the wireless clients on the network are using wireless N, which is not affected by gigabit ethernet. And if the FW/USB hard drive is connected to the gigabit ethernet AEBS or TC via USB or FW, then where is the speed in accessing the hard drive (if again, the wired computers are using 10/100 and the wireless are using WiFi)? Where does the gigabit ethernet and GE cables provide the advantage?

    What am I missing here?
     
  14. waw74 macrumors 68030

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    #14
    your speed will only be as fast as the weakest link.

    so yeah, if you've only got a 10/100 port then gigabit will get you no advantage.
     
  15. SWLinPHX thread starter macrumors regular

    SWLinPHX

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    #15
    Right, that's why I didn't understand why you were saying accessing the hard drive connected to the AEBS would be faster with gigabit. The hard drive isn't connected via ethernet. Unless you mean accessing the AEBS itself would be faster so therefore accessing the attached drive would be only in that sense. Not sure what you mean, but either way, my only gigabit ethernet ports are on my new MBP and new AEBS.
     
  16. MasterNile macrumors 65816

    MasterNile

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    #16
    http://wdc.com/en/products/index.asp?cat=14&language=en

    Here are some simple network hard drives or NAS if you're interested. I use a 500GB My Book World Edition so I can access my files from either my MacBook or my iMac. They connect through GE to your router, in that situation having GE on your computers/router for transfering or streaming files is helpful.
     
  17. SWLinPHX thread starter macrumors regular

    SWLinPHX

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    #17
    Oh okay... I'm just using the included USB port on my AEBS. I don't see ethernet hard drives advertised much for consumer use. Don't know much about them.
     

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