Home Networking - Cat5e or Cat6 wiring, or Cat6A patch cords

Hi, I am working on wiring a small home for Ethernet. The goal is to make it ready for HD video streaming to multiple PCs from a home server, so there is probably going to be a lot of local traffic. There is currently a 24-port gigabit switch of which there are plans to use about 15-20 ports to run cables to different rooms, and the cables will be generally pretty short (20-100 feet)

I am debating what kind of wiring to use and how to do it. I plan to use wall plates with proper keystone jacks. All of the devices in the home currently use gigabit internet, as a 10GbE switch or NIC is currently cost-prohibitive. However, we would definitely be open for 10GbE as soon as reasonably possible in terms of affordability.

The first option that came to mind would be using Cat5e or Cat6, with a patch panel, and keystone jacks where the wires would connect at either end. It seems that there is not a large price difference between Cat5e and Cat6 equipment, so is there a significant benefit to choosing Cat6 over Cat5e? Is it true that either one would probably have to be replaced in the future for 10 gigabit?

The second option that was appealing was purchasing Cat6A patch cables and running them between the switch directly (no patch panel) and wall plates using (female-female) couplers. This seemed like an economical way to get Cat6A (cost and availability seem a little bit prohibitive for spools of Cat6A and connectors, patch panels, etc.) by just purchasing some patch cables. It also, of course, would be a lot easier. However, I am concerned as I have read that this method is rather unprofessional.

Basically, is it worth going with a Cat5e or Cat6 installed the proper way versus Cat6A installed the amateur patch-cable way? Should future 10GbE upgrade be considered at all or is it better to consider only the immediate future? Lastly, if going with Cat5e or Cat6, any reason to choose one over the other?
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More about home networking cat5e cat6 wiring cat6a patch cords
  1. Best answer
    Either Cat5e, or Cat6a. There is no real benefit in regular Cat6.

    Cat6 does 10Gb, but only over short distances. Cat6a will do 10Gb over the same distance as CAt5e does 1Gb.

    I'm in the process of doing the same thing...wiring a house. 2 drops in each room, multiple drops near the entertainment center and my main PC area.

    24 port switch, and a patch panel. And a couple of 8 port switches where needed.
    All tied into a Verizon FiOS 50/25 fiber line.
  2. But also, as you run whatever....either run it through a conduit, or run a piece of twine alongside the wire. That way, a few years from now, you can pull something new without too much pain.
  3. USAFRet said:
    Either Cat5e, or Cat6a. There is
    Cat6 does 10Gb, but only over short distances. Cat6a will do 10Gb over the same distance as CAt5e does 1Gb.

    Are you saying that Cat6 (not 6a) can still do 10Gb over short distances like how Cat5e can do 1Gb over short distances?

    Also, I have purchased a few long patch cables that are Cat6A already. Is it worth investing in full equipment of Cat5e or Cat6 to do it over again the proper way with a patch panel?

    Is there any way to cut the ends off the Cat6A patch cords and terminate those into a patch panel or something so I can turn the improper way into the proper way some time down the line?
  4. Cat5e will do 1Gb out to the max distance of 100 meters
    Cat 6 will do 10Gb out to (I believe) 55 meters
    Cat6a will do 10Gb out to 100 meters.

    More info here:
  5. Cat5e can do 1g to 100m exactly the same as cat6. There is no reason to run cat6 if you are going to run only 1g. The only reason to run cat6 cable really is because you can get it cheaper sometimes than cat5e. Why this happens I have no clue.

    Trying to chase future unknown product is a waste of energy. By the time 10g gets in common use in homes there will be a another standard that people will say oh I have to put it in to future proof myself. You can already get 40g and 100g interface for high end cisco switch gear. Maybe people should cable their house with fiber so they can use those when they come out for the home router. This is the same garbage they used to try to sell people about buying motherboards you could upgrade your CPU.

    Although networks can use 10g to serve many users, PC type devices the bottlenecks are inside the machines. They will have have some huge technologically breakthrough to solve this. Even with solid state drives you can barely reach 1g.

    By the time they figure this out who knows what will be the standard for things. Look at video cards almost everything now is moving to use display port cables making almost everything else obsolete. Who could have predicted that.

    Unless you can show a actual use I would say in the next 5 years I would not worry about it.
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