[nSLUG] Cat5 vs Cat6

Jim Haliburton jim at on-site.ns.ca
Mon Nov 2 07:57:37 AST 2009

There was some discussion about Cat5e vs Cat6 for Gigabit.  Gigabit was 
designed to run on Cat5  It does not require Cat5e or Cat6.  If you have a 
speed issue there is a lot more than the cable that is an issue.

Probably the most reliable way to determine the problem is to have the cable 
tested with a cable tester, not the program from a NIC vendor.  

Using a meter such as a Fluke DSP 100 or better will determine the quality of 
the connection.

Getting a link light or auto negotiation is not an indication of connection 

A simple test to see if the wiring is at fault is to make a transfer test.  
Then lock the card in 10 not 100 mbit.  Run the test again.  If the cable is 
the problem then the speed at 10 may be faster.

The likley fault of the cable is poor or incorrect termination, not the wire.  
Gigabit runs just fine on Cat5 that is properly installed and terminated.  

The 2nd biggest cause of poor speed is the patch cord from the wall plate to 
the PC.  Gert a new 8 conductor patch cord.  Try it.

Often time Aliant (sic) would supply 4 conductor patch cords with their DSL 
modems.  They work for the miserable speeds they deliver, but not for a gigabit 

Gigabit requires all 4 pairs to work properly.  10 and 100 does not.

I have a Fluke DSP 100 and termination tools as part of my work, and that is my 

Jim H

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