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Topic: Stupid Network Question

  1. #1

    Question Stupid Network Question

    OK, I need to set up a LAN with just two machines, and want to run Giga Teleport over it. The problem is I know squat about networks, and web searches just reveal more and more obscure terminology that I can't piece together into an overall picture.

    The question I'm stuck on at the moment is what kind of cable I need. I've decided to go with a crossover, rather than using a hub. I was about to order a Category 5e crossover cable, but then noticed that it said 'Ideal for 10baseT and 100baseT' but didn't mention 1000BaseT. Then I found a forum which seemed to confirm that I need category 6 cable for Gigabit LAN. But I can't actually find category 6 cable anywhere.

    So is category 5e sufficient for Gigabit LAN or not?

    Please help

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Winsted, CT

    Re: Stupid Network Question

    CAT5e will be fine.

  3. #3

    Re: Stupid Network Question

    Crossover cable is fine with two PCs, but don't get a hub. If you want to add a further PC to your network you will need a switch.


  4. #4

    Re: Stupid Network Question


    Personally, I recommend Cat6. Cat5e is still restricted to 100baseT networks.
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

  5. #5

    Re: Stupid Network Question

    Pingu, maybe I can help a little. The 'category' designations of cables & connectors specify signal integtrity characteristics of the wire when being driven at specific voltages & frequencies. Gigabit networks actually drive the wire at the same frequencies as 100 megabit networks and the cable & connector specifications are the same; Cat5e is the standard for both of these.

    100BaseT networks only use 4 wires of the 8 in a cat5 (or cat5 enhanced) cable; if you're adventurous this lets you do some tricks like run 2 100BaseT networks on a single cat5 cable (with proper wiring) or even run 2 phone lines on the same cable with a 100 meg network. I've done this several times without trouble and it works fine though it's almost certainly outside the cat5 spec, especially when a ringing phone bumps the voltage on those lines.

    1000BaseT gets additional throughput not by driving the wires at a higher frequency, but first by using all 8 lines and second by using a more efficient encoding (ie what is the oscillation pattern on each wire that is read as a zero or a one).

    So Gigabit doesn't require better cables or connectors, but it's possible that a cable could be miswired (ie not wired to cat5 specs) and work for 100 megabit but have the 4 'extra' wired bungled for gigabit. This is more likely to be true of hand-crimped cables than of commercial cables, and I bet any moderate quality commercial cat5e cable of the last 5 years will be fine.

    A hub is a cable 'broadcaster'; a signal that is recieved on any port is broadcast on all ports _including_ the port the signal came in on; thus the signal is implicitly half-duplex (you can't talk on one line and listen on another, the signals are all the same) and bandwidth is used identically on all wires at all times. A switch is a smart hub; logically the behaviour is identical but the switch learns who is connected where and the device has some protocol smarts so all non-broadcast transmissions (which is almost everything except device discovery chatter) is just routed over the correct wire. These devices allow much higher gross throughput. Hubs are pretty stupid and simple and almost nobody makes them anymore. Since the devices are equivalent except for throughput characteristics (and the amount of ignored chatter on the lines) many people use the terms switch and hub interchangably.

    Finally, specifications for cat5e crossover cables only cross 2 of the 4 pairs; I'm not wired for gigabit here so I can't test this but IMO this must make them unacceptable for crossing gigabit connections. If you want to google for the standards, look up T568A and T568B. It must be possible to wire a gigabit wire to talk between 2 connections without a switch, but I wouldn't expect that the standard for 100 megabit crossovers would do it. (later edit addendum: Looking up T568B crossover specs on the web, I see TWO standards; the original & updates for gigabit, so you can bet there's some confusion out there. Here's a gigabit friendly reference: http://www.ertyu.org/~steven_nikkel/ethernetcables.html)

    Oh and finally finally a gigabit network won't have performance advantages over a 100 megabit network if you don't have the traffic to saturate the 100 megger. Something to consider if you're adverse to the costs of gigabit kit.

    Whew! Good Luck!

  6. #6

    Re: Stupid Network Question

    Interesting input.

    (Pingu, when you’ll get your cable, you can see here to setup windows :
    http://northernsounds.com/forum/show...ht=SUBNET+MASK )

  7. #7

    Wink Re: Stupid Network Question

    Thanks everyone, especially Sam and Crystal - I feel much more confident knowing this forum's here.

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