Have you ever wondered why the length of Ethernet cables varies? What if an Ethernet cable’s length has an impact on its connectivity? The length of an Ethernet connection does affect its connectivity, which is known as attenuation.
The maximum length of an Ethernet cable before the signal loss is called attenuation. The influence of electric resistance on the performance of a lengthy cable causes attenuation. The length of an Ethernet cable is discussed in this article.
- 1 What is an Ethernet Cable?
- 2 Categories of Ethernet Cables
- 3 How Long can Ethernet Cable Be?
- 4 How long can an Ethernet cable be used before it loses speed?
- 5 Do Multiple Ethernet Cables Reduce Speed?
- 6 Conclusion
What is an Ethernet Cable?
An Ethernet cable is primarily used to link computers and devices in a local area network or LAN. An Ethernet cable connects computers and other devices on an Ethernet network, allowing them to transfer files, information, and data more efficiently.
In the year 1980, the Ethernet was introduced. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) sets Ethernet cable quality and safety standards, and all Ethernet cable producers must adhere to these standards.
Ethernet cables are compatible with Ethernet ports, which can be found on nearly all internet and network equipment.
Categories of Ethernet Cables
Ethernet cables are divided into several categories, each recommended for a particular purpose. The Ethernet categories are discussed further down.
For standard telephone wiring, this kind of Ethernet cable is suggested.
For the 4Mbps (Megabits per second) network ring, the second category of Ethernet cable is usually used.
Networking frequencies of up to 16Mhz are used in category three Ethernet cables.
Category 4 Ethernet cables are essential for networks with frequencies up to 20 MHz.
A category 5 Ethernet cable has a frequency of up to 100Mbps, a maximum length of 100 meters, and a bandwidth of 100 Mhz.
Compared to the new types, it is frequently slower and less reliable. Cat 5 Ethernet cable is no longer recommended for new network installations and is considered obsolete.
This Ethernet cable is a subclass of category 5. This subtype is found at 1Gbps (Gigabits per second), 100 meters, and 100 Mhz frequencies.
Improved standards for wire shielding twisting to reduce crosstalk prompted the development of this kind.
The category 6 cable has a speed of 10 Gbps and a frequency of 250 Mhz at a distance of 55 meters, making it a rather lengthy Ethernet cable.
The Cat 6 features tighter cabling than the Cat 5 and Cat 5e, making it stand out. It also features braided shielding to keep wires inside Ethernet cables safe.
This sub-category is likewise 10Gbps capable. Its distance is 100 meters, and its frequency is 500 MHz.
With 600 MHz, Category 7 offers 10 Gbps.
The Cat 8 is more expensive than the other models mentioned previously. This Ethernet cable connects access points to a Fast Ethernet network.
How Long can Ethernet Cable Be?
We don’t give it much thought while setting up internet-connected devices. The most important thing is obtaining a cable and connecting it to the port. Most of us are just concerned about whether or not the cable is long enough.
Our internet connection requires an Ethernet connection. The right cable is essential, but we don’t always know which length to choose or whether it matters. When you examine Ethernet cables, you’ll notice that they have CAT labels and a number. The CAT identifies the cable’s category, while the number specifies the specification version.
A higher number indicates that the cable can accommodate higher speeds. Ethernet cable can now facilitate quicker connections. However, the length of the cable is unimportant. It will have little effect on network speed, especially with current Ethernet lines.
Of course, this does not imply that you should install a cable that runs the length of your home and expect it to function flawlessly. The length of the cable is restricted. Although there is no set length for a cable, specific recommendations for the best length are given. Latency is frequently reduced with longer wires.
This distance is due to the length of cable that a signal must travel. The longer the journey distance, the more probable there will be interference. Ethernet wires can be as long as 328 feet. If they exceed 328 feet, it will not affect your connection because some cables may easily reach that distance. This is usually determined by the cable you’re using and the maximum bandwidth it can handle.
If you run a Cat 6 or Cat 5 cable for less than 328 feet, you’ll notice no change in speed. If you extend a cable’s length beyond 328 feet, the speed can drop to 10-15 Mbps. As a result, distances between 328 and 360 feet have no bearing on your speed. Larger distances mean higher latency and a slower connection.
How long can an Ethernet cable be used before it loses speed?
A single Ethernet cable has a maximum distance capacity or the maximum distance it can go before the signal loss (called attenuation). This problem arises because a long cable’s electrical resistance impacts performance.
Both ends of the wire should be close enough to receive signals rapidly yet far enough away from external electrical interference to avoid interruptions.
Because a router or hub can connect numerous Ethernet cables in the same network, this precaution does not limit the network’s growth.
A single CAT5 cable can be 328 feet long before it starts to attenuate. The maximum distance for CAT6 is 328 feet. Even while Ethernet connections can be made longer, signal loss can occur, mainly if they run through large electrical devices. The length varies whether the Ethernet cable is thin (10BASE2) or thick (10BASE5).
The first cable type should be no longer than 597 feet, while the second type can be no longer than 164 feet. However, I recommend sticking to the maximum length that a standard Ethernet cable can reach, 328 feet. Electrical distances decrease at longer distances. Your pace will slow down as the cable length increases.
You can extend your connection by inserting an active component, such as a router, between the signals if you require a longer run. Although the overall reach cannot exceed 328 feet, you can use a network switch to expand it. Your device and the router will still be able to communicate as long as the wire between the router and the switch is less than 328 feet long.
Fibre optics is occasionally used to get around the limitations of Ethernet wire on large campuses. Fibre is less expensive than the other equipment required to complete the job with copper. If you’re wiring your home, fibre is overkill. CAT5e or CAT6 cables are more than adequate when it comes to length.
I propose purchasing a primary network switch if you need to expand an Ethernet connection beyond 328 feet. It’s a network gadget that adds more Ethernet connections to your network. They receive and forward data to your end device by switching packets. It will do the job properly and is reasonably priced.
Do Multiple Ethernet Cables Reduce Speed?
The Ethernet ports on your modem usually are four. Depending on the modem, some ports may be used for IP/TV, and you can sometimes use all four for Internet access. You’ll need a switch or a router if your modem has one Internet port. Internet service providers provide combination devices with a built-in router.
They usually feature four ports and allow for the connection of up to four devices. If your router does not come with one, you can easily purchase one. The speed of each Ethernet cable may be reduced if you connect more than one. However, not the switches themselves but your internet connection can limit their speed.
More cords equal a more inconvenient and difficult setup, especially if you already have some extra cables. Manufacturers reduce ports for current gadgets. To connect additional Ethernet cables in this instance, you’ll need to utilize an Ethernet switch or Ethernet splitter.
You’re probably wondering if the switches and many cables slow things down. It is dependent on the type of network where a splitter is used. Ethernet splitters are based on Fast Ethernet and have a 100 Mbps data rate. The Cat5E Ethernet cable, for example, comprises four pairs of wires, totalling eight wires in one cable.
Only two of the four Fast Ethernet pairs are in use, with the remaining pair being unconnected. The router will send two 100 Mbps signals to the splitter. On one end, it means two Ethernet cables. An Ethernet cable sharing kit is another option. It uses a single wire to carry two Ethernet connections. It comes with two splitter devices and allows you to connect several devices with just one wire.
The RJ45 coupler is the most cost-effective technique to connect multiple Ethernet wires. It’s a little plastic box with two jacks on either end. It also has no impact on the speed of your Internet connection.
Always follow the directions to get the most out of your Ethernet cable. It’s impossible to predict at what length your Ethernet wire will fail. As a result, it’s best to stay within those 328 feet to be safe. If you still need to extend your cable, consider the above options.
Lastly, for most electrical/network cables, their purpose also dictates their length. If you are planning to purchase any cable or electrical components, ICRFQ are the best electrical components manufacturers in China. Contact them and you will get what you need at very affordable price.
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