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Long run of ethernet cable vs wireless

Last response: in Networking
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July 18, 2009 8:51:52 PM

Hi all,

I just moved into a new house and am trying to get my networking figured out. I have a cable jack in the living room, family room, and master bedroom, but want my PC in none of those places. It looks like I'll have to run a cable from the living room or the master bedroom, which will end up being between 60-100 feet.

I figured that performance is going to degrade at long runs so the other option is to get a wireless-N PCI adapter for my PC. My router is a D-Link DIR-655 which will end up being probably 10 feet away from the PC through a foot and a half of floor or a few walls. As far as the presence of network interference, my laptop usually picks up 3-5 wireless networks within range including mine.

The PC is my main internet and bittorrent machine and my cable service is rated at 15 Mbps which is of course well within the spec of even wireless-g. I don't do much gaming online these days nor do I do much video streaming besides youtube, etc. I do nightly backups and a decent amount of file transfer to/from my NAS which is attached to my router via ethernet.

The only streaming activities I do right now is using my Squeezebox to play lossless music and my laptop to stream HD movies, both of which have been on wireless in the past. While there have been occasional issues with that, it generally performs fine.

In terms of speed and reliability, does the ethernet cable at this length of run still offer a significant advantage over wireless? If it's not going to be noticeably better for my everyday applications I'd rather not have wires running from room to room and put dozens of cable staples in the walls.

Thanks for any input!
July 19, 2009 12:37:45 AM

I prefer cabled networking rather than Wireless, even given the extra effort required. Ethernet (10baseT, 100baseT, 1000baseT and 10000baseT (from what I read)) cables can always run for about 100m (290-300 ft) so you should have no worry about length. And since I mentioned 10000baseT (10Gbps) networks, you might want to use cat6 cables (unless price difference with cat5e is really high) because it's supposed to support 10Gbps as well (I helped my dad recable his house 3 times now, you might want to save yourself the trouble :p ).
May 2, 2010 6:17:14 PM

@ OP - that length of wire is ok, in my country i have ISP's who run cable's at absurd lengths! :p  besides the data loss is negligible beyond 300m...or so from what i've read an seen.

:)  ...was snooping through this part of the forum for an answer like this.

Not that i'm high-jacking the OP's thread but, i have 3 PC's i want to connect to via lan. The 2 PC's are in 100ft +/- from my room...and i own a rampage extreme 775. It has dual gigabit lan, so should i get anything else to complete the network? as i'm a noob in this field.
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May 3, 2010 2:31:45 AM

Lengths of over 100m is possible, but either using another protocol than ethernet OR using another medium than copper twisted pairs. The reason why 100m is considered the limit is because of the ethernet timeout delay; if over 100m over copper, the data packet and acknowledgment packets might not have time to go back and forth within the allocated delay.
May 3, 2010 2:53:13 AM

Over 100m with twisted pair ethernet is not feasable as you will start generating all kinds of problems. Also, if your running 10Gb ethernet over twisted pair, Cat 6 cable is not only recommended, it's required, and even then the distance is limited to 50m. Thats ok though, cause 10Gb ethernet is still out of most peoples price range.

At the very least try wireless, I think it should work just fine, but be aware that the heavier the encryption, the slower the connection. Also, for alot of home routers, the throughput to wireless isn't so great and your limited to about 10 computers, but try it and see. If all else fails, you can run cable then.
May 3, 2010 6:03:57 PM

Zenthar said:
Lengths of over 100m is possible, but either using another protocol than ethernet OR using another medium than copper twisted pairs. The reason why 100m is considered the limit is because of the ethernet timeout delay; if over 100m over copper, the data packet and acknowledgment packets might not have time to go back and forth within the allocated delay.


You're semi-correct with this. There is an issue with the actual signal propagation down the line when you go over 100m. It's not a brick wall, but it drops off fast. It's been a while since I worked with Layer1 theory and the 100m limit.

But no, it's not an "ACK" packet delay issue. ACK packets are protocol(TCP) specific and Ethernet doesn't care about the protocol.

As to the OP, I would use a wired connection when available. Assuming there isn't too much EMI, you should get full 1000 speeds with 0 packet loss.

As for 10-gig connections, they're actually cheaper for fiber for the time being. And once you use fiber, then you can really extend the range. So really, when working with 10gig, range isn't much an issue unless you're talking about site-to-site.
May 3, 2010 6:19:32 PM

I re-read my old notes and you are right, there is no ACK in the ethernet protocol and therefore couldn't be the source of the limitation.
October 2, 2011 4:48:10 PM

Just ran about 300 ft cat6 and my laptot will not hook up internet. The cable tester checks out fine on new cable. I didnit follow pro. on wire colors but both ends of cable are in the same order?

Jerry
October 3, 2011 1:59:56 AM

It is important to follow the coloring in order, not just match both end's order. Each wire has a purpose and the cable is made so each pair's electrical interference doesn't impact the overall functionality and that depends on how each wire is used so order IS important.
October 3, 2011 4:27:51 PM

jerry_35 said:
Just ran about 300 ft cat6 and my laptot will not hook up internet. The cable tester checks out fine on new cable. I didnit follow pro. on wire colors but both ends of cable are in the same order?

Jerry


Zenthar said:
It is important to follow the coloring in order, not just match both end's order. Each wire has a purpose and the cable is made so each pair's electrical interference doesn't impact the overall functionality and that depends on how each wire is used so order IS important.


+1 (ie. some of the wire pairs have tighter twists so the actual travel distance can increase over that distance on certain wire pairs) --- Also have you tried connecting directly with a short test cable to ensure it is the cable causing the problem and not just something with the laptop itself ?
March 31, 2012 5:46:36 AM

Kewlx25 said:
You're semi-correct with this. There is an issue with the actual signal propagation down the line when you go over 100m. It's not a brick wall, but it drops off fast. It's been a while since I worked with Layer1 theory and the 100m limit.

But no, it's not an "ACK" packet delay issue. ACK packets are protocol(TCP) specific and Ethernet doesn't care about the protocol.

As to the OP, I would use a wired connection when available. Assuming there isn't too much EMI, you should get full 1000 speeds with 0 packet loss.

As for 10-gig connections, they're actually cheaper for fiber for the time being. And once you use fiber, then you can really extend the range. So really, when working with 10gig, range isn't much an issue unless you're talking about site-to-site.



@kewlx25 so can we use 100m cat5 ethernet wire or not?..plz reply..
November 15, 2012 1:00:38 AM

bunny_58 said:
@kewlx25 so can we use 100m cat5 ethernet wire or not?..plz reply..

yes you can
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