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Thread: What's the lenght limit for a cat5 cable?




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    What's the length limit for a cat5 cable? I made a straight-through cable which is more than 100' in length, possibly 200'. When I connect it to the PC and the router, the lights on the ethernet card and the router turns on like it should, but I can't gain access to the router's setup page. I'm guessing it's because the cable is too long and that the integrity of the signal is weakend due to the length. I made another cable of length 6' and everything worked fine.

    Also, when I crimped a straight-through cable with all 8 wires and connect it to the PC and router one way, the light on the router blinks while the ethernet card doesn't light up at all.
    If I only use #1,2,3, and 6 wires, the lights turn on solid for the both ethernet card and router. I don't think it should make a difference if I use the 4 or all 8 wires; why does it?

  2. #2
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    Nov 2001
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    In theory, cables will work up to 300 feet long (100 Meters)

    BUT, each of these aspects can cause problems.

    * Crappy Hubs/Switches/Routers/NICs can't boost the signal that far
    * Use crappy wire and you have no chance at all
    * Use of good wire than has been abused.. (excessivly bent, flexed, pinched)
    * Ends not installed correctly (crimper required, wires trimmed to fit, -use common sense)

  3. #3
    Beefy Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by erwin1978
    What's the length limit for a cat5 cable? I made a straight-through cable which is more than 100' in length, possibly 200'. When I connect it to the PC and the router, the lights on the ethernet card and the router turns on like it should, but I can't gain access to the router's setup page. I'm guessing it's because the cable is too long and that the integrity of the signal is weakend due to the length. I made another cable of length 6' and everything worked fine.

    Also, when I crimped a straight-through cable with all 8 wires and connect it to the PC and router one way, the light on the router blinks while the ethernet card doesn't light up at all.
    If I only use #1,2,3, and 6 wires, the lights turn on solid for the both ethernet card and router. I don't think it should make a difference if I use the 4 or all 8 wires; why does it?
    Like Zeradul said, in theory you can make CAT5 cables up to 100 metres in length. In practice, you can go as long as you like, but there's a much greater chance of error / failure in longer cabling.

    Have you tried using the cable with something else, as in not for the router? Or, even better yet, have you got a cable tester where you can test the cable?

  4. #4
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    Nov 2001
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    The *official* TIA/EIA standard says 90 metres for cabling... but that's assuming perfect conditions.

    Reasons for your cable not working problem could be shoddy twisting in the cable.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osiris
    The *official* TIA/EIA standard says 90 metres for cabling... but that's assuming perfect conditions.

    Reasons for your cable not working problem could be shoddy twisting in the cable.

    The 90 metre limit is the actual run of the cable, and allows for up to 5 metres patching at either end to make the grand total of 100m :)

    And yes, poor twist ratios make all the difference to CAT5 cabling - keep the twists ALL the way to the end.

  6. #6
    Beefy Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albinus



    The 90 metre limit is the actual run of the cable, and allows for up to 5 metres patching at either end to make the grand total of 100m :)
    Actually, if ya wanna get really picky... it's 90m for the cable run, 6m on one end and 3m on the other.. making a total of 99m.. :) (Had this discussion Wednesday night with CCNA teacher)

  7. #7
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    It turns out that the cable length was not the problem; it was because I left all 8 wires crimped on one end of the cable and 4 on the other, in effect disabling the 4,5,7 and 8 wires. That's logical isn't it? What I don't understand is why would uncrimping the 4,5,7 and 8 wires on the one end that had all 8 wires crimped make a difference? The wires are already disabled.

    It took me two days to figure everything out when it really should've taken a day.

    What's the difference between a cat5 and a cat5e ?

  8. #8
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    cat5e = category 5 enhanced...

    which means it meets or exceeds some added quality standards, lamens terms, its better, and probably a good idea for very long sections of cable.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefy


    Actually, if ya wanna get really picky... it's 90m for the cable run, 6m on one end and 3m on the other.. making a total of 99m.. :) (Had this discussion Wednesday night with CCNA teacher)
    I thought it was 90m for the run, 3 metres on each end for patching... ah well.


    cat5e = category 5 enhanced...

    which means it meets or exceeds some added quality standards, lamens terms, its better, and probably a good idea for very long sections of cable.
    Yup, Cat5e is enhanced-standard cables... I don't think it would really affect how long you could run the cable though, the attenuation specifications for both Cat5 and Cat5e are still 24dB.

    Would be a good idea if you wanted to cut down on NEXT or return loss, thought :).

  10. #10

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    cat5e is capable Gb over copper, thats the main difference, u can get aaway with it on standard, but the loss-levels on 5e are way lower.

    i'd nearly think that your cable u r making has been wired wrong, did u use the correct colour order when u placed connectors on it?

    and Osiris, 3m patching on either end dont make sense, 6/3 does, coz at one end u have your switch cabinet, which a patch is made from the hub to the patch panel, generally being a .5/1m cable, they allow longer, at the other end, u'd have your workstation, and lets face it, 5m leads are the norm, as PC points never seem to be in the Perfect spot ;)
    sKuLLsHoT
    www.morb.ath.cx

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