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Linksys wireless router question...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by keyman512us, Aug 15, 2007.

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  1. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Hey all...

    Well after some trials and tribulations I finally have the basics... Got the Sony Vaio laptop ("recycle rescue" long story)...got it set for what I need it for. Been shopping/dealing with a "local computer guru" that decided to 'hang out his shingle and set up shop'... conviently enough...right 'next door' to my local small engine shop/chain supplier right over in my favorite section of town...the Union Square area.
    ANYWAY... Got a LAN adapter (hardwired CAT 5 for $10) bought the wireless card adapter for $20 finally got it configured with a service pack upgrade... so I can do the WiFi thing if I choose too...then all I needed...was, you guessed it...a wireless router.

    So low and behold I'm in one of the 'junk dollar type stores' (has the RI name before 'Job Lot') ;) and I see this linksys wireless router, still in the box in good shape...with no price tag. I open it up looks fine, has the AC adapter, instructions, and CD..everything except the CAT 5 patch cable...

    Ohh no what am I gonna do...lol
    $1.50 tops for a patch cable? IF... I decide I'm too lazy of an electrician to grab one of the 1000 foot pull packs out of my stockroom and break out the RJ45plugs and crimp tool...lol

    So I said WTF right? What could it hurt to inquire??? Go up to the service desk, girl checks the box, can't find it in the system...etc etc she call the manager and informs her some things are missing... OK..."She says I can mark it down 20%..."

    I just got it all hooked up and configured...It's a Linksys Wireless B access point, WAP 11 Frame Version 2.5...strictly wireless- no additional ports. It is 128 encryption capable etc etc...

    Last I looked (over at Wally World) the cheapest one they had was over like $50 bucks...SO..



    Now my question is this (to all the 'techie gurus' here): Is there something about this particualar model that helped it find it's way to the dollar junk store...or did I 'do good'...

    Was it worth the $26 bucks and change with the sales tax???

    Any comments would be appreciated...

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The "did I do good" question will be answered when the "is it working" question gets resolved. The only problem I see for the "totally wireless" versions are the fact that you don't have a port to hook into to preconfigure the router. Sometimes it can be a little bugger to figure out what they want, out of the box.

    Before you even get started, find out (from the manual) if there is a way to reset this to factory defaults, and go from there. You never know what happened to this thing that made it find its way to the dollar store. Just my $.00002.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I have one that's a few years old. Worked OK for awhile then something got out of whack. So I called Cisco tech support and after wasting about 10 minutes of my time getting nosy information about me and my system, informed me that it was no longer supported, but that I could shell out $30 for tech support, or try to configure it myself from their website. So that's what I tried. All I can say to that is: Good Luck, 'cause that's about your only hope.

    So much for wireless computing at my house.

    Thanks for nothing, Cisco. Fat chance I'll ever buy one of their products again.

    Maybe there's a similar story behind yours, keyman.
  4. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Thanks for chiming in guys...

    Jags, i probably should have stated it a little more clearly above... i'm typing this post on the laptop through that wireless router right now. To "get to this point"(of accomplishment), It was very frustrating to say the least. But it also has been educational. Figuring out what an SSID is, the MAC address how to make and use a passphrase then configure all the "gobble-d-gook" and then have it work was not exactly "user friendly at first" But so far so good (keeping fingers crossed in light of Eric's experience with wireless).

    Eric, sorry to hear your wireless experience "went south" I hope I'm not headed down the same road...

    Luckily, the installation CD that came with the router was (perhaps) an older more user friendly version. I stuck to a wired connection for long enough because it's not as simple to go wireless from a laymans' perspective. Having started with a regular wired router may have made things a little easier to get it done.

    I don't know if I'm trully "ahead of the game", having already shelled out $30 for a regular router and now $26 and some change for the wireless but from what you guys seem to be telling me from your own experiences, maybe I lucked out...I dunno.

    I've been pondering the pro's and con's of how I did...even though it's not a "multi point" router that can handle multiple cables it does offer some flexability to be able to run some Cat 5 to a central spot in the house... that way I can have one less thing in the office to knock off the desk. Looking at the "spaghetti" of wires already here...the more that can be eliminated the better... lol;)
  5. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Eric, this might be a shot in the dark so to speak but from my own experience (and it sounds similiar to yours) maybe "it's the cart...not the horse".

    I too got fed up at one point (trying to get the wireless notebook adapter to work) and took it to the guru's... the boys over at the computer store. They were a little puzzled too...but were helpfull.

    What they told me was that a majority of the problems with wireless have to do with viruses and adware that are in your laptop itself that have a nasty habit of "shooting down" the drivers. They told me to remove/uninstall the drivers, run a couple anti-virus programs and do a service pack upgrade... then re-install the drivers. I'm happy to say it was good advice..because it worked.

    I've paid a few hours for the education, and it has been frustrating... but in the end, "Mission Accomplished" ;)

    Ain't 'Computin' great....lol
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    keyman - glad to hear its up and running. Once configured, most of those little routers will work for a long time and just catch dust (a term that some geeks use to show how little you have to mess with it). You should be good to go now.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Most of these routers should be able to be configured through a web browser (platform independent) instead of the CD that comes with them -I've done this with linksys, netgear and others. I have never had to add in MAC numbers, etc......

    Usually just set it up to function as a DHCP server and everything should just work.

    Linksys is a good unit - some wireless routers (off-brand) can be has for as little as $20, but brand names usually are $40. up.

    My first cable modem router was $350 and WAS NOT wireless! So EVERYTHING these days is a deal.
  8. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    I tried to set up a LAN here at home about 6 years ago and used the linksys router.
    Had nothing but problems, The folks at Verizon told me that the router wouldn't work on my DSL ......... OH JOY......
    About 8 months ago since the kids got laptops and the wifey had wireless on hers already I bought a wireles router to try again.
    I saw the linksys and others and then saw one in a box that said Verizon......... It's actualy an action tec I got it and it worked great it also had 4 lan connections in the back too. so I could use it on this old HP i'm typing on.
    Now I got a PCMCIA card to wireless adapter. :)
    Any way good to hear it works for you..... Now disable broadcast so your neighbors can't see the wireless connection out there and try to hack in....
  9. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    The wireless "B" is old technology, everything is "G" now. That router you have is probably similar or the same one I have. It has some small issues but otherwise it works good. I am thinking about buying something a little nicer in the near future.

    If you have any questions about networking you can ask me... I do have a degree for that ya know.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Already told the story last year about the non-working Belkin router. And the run around with Noorbash on the help line. And putting a 240 grain .44 mag hollow point through the thing.

    Noorbash on the third call: "You shot the router."

    BB: "Yep."

    Noorbash: "Wow!"
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I've been working with the Linksys B wireless router (with 4 enet port) for about 4 years now. It's been very stable. In the early days ATTBI gave me grief for having ANY router between their cable modem and the computer because they wanted to see the MAC address of the computer. So I let them hook it up their way. Then as soon as they left, I entered the computer MAC address into the Linksys and voila, LAN and wireless in the home. Now Comcast doesn't give a hoot.

    I won't be going to G, probably will jump to wireless N in the next month. I'm looking at Buffalo brand, which is not quite as easy to configure, but is establishing a loyal following, especially for their G routers.
  12. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Well I'm glad to hear the diverse comments, experiences and 'humorous' points of view...

    I came close to what BB would do... luckily for the hardware I don't have a .44....lol But I did contemplate firing up the JD4 Diesel powered chipper and throwing a few electonic pieces through ;)

    I'm a big fan of Cat 5 cable and have some running through the homestead. While it pales in comparison to Gooses' installation I'm pretty well wired.

    Goose has me beat hands down though... After the bee project he "showed me around the homestead a bit" and I was fairly impressed... Never thought I would see a 'homeowner install' to such 'Class A specs' as his. The patch panel is quite nice... but the two 2" interduct runs from the basement to the attic takes the cake:

    Attached Files:

  13. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Note that some (not all) of the Linksys routers are Linux based, and can be reprogrammed to do all sorts of interesting stuff - I've heard of people turning them into mini webservers for instance. I haven't gotten into that side of things because I haven't had a need, (and I don't trust wireless) but I've seen posts for this stuff on the web...

    Linux is getting very popular in the entire embedded market, but a lot of vendors won't admit they are using it (and have therefore gotten into legal difficulties, since the GPL requires you to provide the source, which means you have to say it's there...) Linksys was unusual in that they were more open about the software and how to reprogram their devices - of course if you bricked it that was your problem, but I think that's reasonable.

    That router is not going to give the best security in the world, but it is probably fine for what it is.

    A couple notes on my network install - I have a bit over 6,000 feet of wire in the walls - Every room in the house has multiple outlets for phone, cable TV and Ethernet, each with all outlets home-runned to a central patch panel. I decided that I NEVER wanted to have to pull another peice of cable, so the system is way overbuilt, but I wanted it done right.

    The reason for the innerduct is that our house is the home from hell when it comes to wiring - we have FIVE different attic spaces, I ended up with wire going through four of them - The design of the house is such that none of the walls line up with each other so after much exploration, the ONLY place I could find to run the wires up to the third floor was in the chase for the furnace / hot water heater stack. Research showed that if I ran the cables loose, I would have to get a 12" clearance, which didn't exist. But by using the innerduct, I was able to reduce the clearance to 6", which I BARELY had enough room for.

    Otherwise, I basicly just wired everything else per the standards for a home networking system per the BiSci folks, with the exception that instead of using one of those little proprietary electrical cabinet lookalike hubs that have no expansion room and require proprietary over priced parts, I used commercial hardware and mounting systems - a 48 port Ethernet patch panel, a 300 pair 110 punchdown block for the phone stuff, and two 24 port keystone strips to make a home brew patch panel for the Cable TV wiring... All this is mounted on a plywood backer panel with lots of room for auxilary hardware.

    Gooserider
  14. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    BB, I recently bought an Ativa Wireless 'G' Router/4-port switch from Office Max (or was it Office Depot?). It was only $15 after I finally received the rebate. It's a Belkin in disguise, so you've got me a little nervous. Luckily, after I realized I had forgotten to turn off MS Win2k Internet Connection Sharing, everything worked fine... except... I can't get it to work in switch-only mode (I don't have any wireless devices). But I do have a .44 mag handy if things really go south. :smirk:

    Dang Goose, that sounds nicer than some companies I've seen. The backbone of my "network" here is a single, 100 foot twisted pair run connecting the two opposite sides of the house. I think the cable is actually touching the HVAC vent in the joist space they share. Hopefully, there isn't enough heat in there to melt anything because I'm not sure I'd have the patience to run that cable again.

    I too prefer wires, but that might force me into a wireless mode here, although I suspect I'm potentially supplying network service to neighbors, or driver-byes, right now. I should probably tighten up the wireless security, but I hate messing with stuff when it's working. At least I have a password on it. Maybe I'll limit the MAC's if it doesn't disable the Ativa Router like configuring it to switching only mode.

    Keyman, Glad to hear you are untethered. Do you know where I might get a decent RJ45 crimping tool, and how much should it cost? I will probably use it once and lose it. I saw a funky plastic one at Lowes for $19, but it didn't look worth the money, and another nicer one for $25, but I couldn't convince myself to spend that much to fix the one plug I have here that's intermittently loosing connectivity. Heck, I only paid $15 for the router! :lol:
  15. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    My sister had problems with her laptop while using "G". While G is supposedly about 5 times faster than "B", what we found was that for some reason, there was much interference with "G" (don't know why because I think both work at 2.4 GHz) and the packet retransmit rate was so high as to drag the "G" throughput down to less than 10% of the speed of the "B". So, we switched it over to "B" and it was a screamer! For most small downloads and loading of typical webpages, the speed increase you see while using "G" is minimal because packet delays, retransmits, etc., while loading typical web pages are large compared to the increased speed of the G vs the B.
  16. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Mo...
    The one I prefer is made by GB-Gardner Bender...P/N GMC-2000. I picked it up at a local (Lynde Hardware-True Value) hardware store. They sell the same one at the big box stores. The price tag was $20.49 so it sounds like the $19 version you had seen.

    It has the easiest to follow diagram for 568(a) & (B) pairing on RJ45 Cabling.

    In addition to being able to do RJ45 it also does the 11 & 14 smaller connectors. As a kit it also includes like 5 of each style connector...

    The kit includes the really small ones to fix handset cords.

    The plastic package has a slide out back and a punched card... so tack an 8 penny nail into a floor joist in the basement workshop...or the spot closest to where the wires come through the basement and it will be easy to find. ;)


    Fot the $ value... it's worth it.
  17. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well my preference is to use manufactured patch cables rather than trying to home make them. If you shop around you can get them from reputable dealers for far less than the local computer store charges, especially if you purchase a bunch of them at the same time. I got mine from Miles-Tek, purchased about 10 sets, each with one 2' cable to go from the patch panel to the router at the central node, and one longer cable (I got several different lengths from 8 to 15 feet) to go from the wall outlet to the connected device. I think the most expensive cable was about $3.00. At that price it isn't worth the hassle to make your own, plus you get better long term reliability from the ready made cables.

    That said, my preference in crimp tools is a brand called EZ-crimp RJ45 made by Platinum Tools, it makes life MUCH easier. It uses a special RJ-45 plug that has little holes in the front face so that you can actually poke the wires completely through the plug. With a regular crimper you have to strip the cable jacket, then carefully arrange the wires in the right order, trim them to the same short length and stuff them into the solid front connector, then crimp while hoping that nothing moves on you. If something does, cut off and repeat, hope you don't run out of wire before you get a good crimp... With the EZ-crimp you strip the cable jacket a couple of inches, untwist the wires and poke them through the connector in the right order, double and triple check the sequence (easy) and then slide the connector down over the outer jacket and crimp. The crimper has a little blade that trims the extra wires off the face, and you end up with a 100% perfect crimp, first time, every time. The tool and connectors are a bit more expensive, but I've seen pro's claim that they more than save the extra cost since they are no longer having to chop off half the connectors they make... IMHO it's the ultimate tool for doing RJ-45's, and they also put a nest for RJ-11's on the crimper as well.

    My in the wall cabling terminates in a keystone style female jack at the wall outlets, and the patch panel at the central node, both of which are 110 punchdown items. My jacks are from Leviton, purchased in bulk packs at HD - best price I could find for decent quality Cat 5e jacks anywhere.

    When I did the cabling job, I was determined to do it RIGHT, as I never wanted to futz with it again, so all my stuff is pulled properly (although I do have one section that shares a joist space with an HVAC duct - shouldn't be a problem as the duct shouldn't go over 125* or so, and the cable is rated to about 250*) and terminated to proffessional standards.

    Gooserider
  18. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Cast, your speed quandary is probably due to the much more complex protocol of 'g' (OFDM) vs the simpler and more straight forward 'b' protocol (CSMA/CA). You are probably being overwhelmed with collisions, which is one of the unavoidable problems with wireless IP since it can't talk and listen at the same time like a duplex wire protocol can. 'b' transmist less data so you are probably getting less collisions. Both 'b' and 'g' are spec'd to a max of 40 feet indoors, and that's under ideal conditions. If you get some inductive gizmos or anything throwing off electrical fields, or blocking the signal (like walls) in between, then you can have serious through-put problems on all of them.

    Keyman, Thanks for the reco.

    Goose, I love that EZ connector! Unfortunately, the Platinum tool is $59! Which is a bit much for terminating one plug every year or two. Have you used those connectors before? I see I can buy both at HD. I'm wondering if I can get by without buying the high dollar tool and still use those connectors somehow?

    I also agree about store-bought cables. This one was given to me by an IT dept I was working with. They terminated it themselves. Likely why it is failing, which is why we both prefer store-bought cables. It was hard to turn down a 100 footer ready to roll, for free. And now that I finally managed to get it run 100 feet through "no-man's land" inside a joist between my upstairs floor and my downstairs finished basement ceiling (no access), which was a two day affair that left me shouting at the top of my lungs and jerking it with all my might when I (for the umpteenth and next to last time) finally gave up and realized it wasn't going to happen and I tried to destroy it with all my might for some second rate satisfaction, I hate to even think of trying to run another one through there. BTW: Once I got Mrs. Mo Heat involved on one end of the thing and me on the other, pulling back and forth to finally free the thing loose from where it got "stuck on something in there", we had it run pretty quickly, and she was rolling her eyes at my display of "childish temper tantrums" the day before. :red: But still, I think we got lucky. God, I hate running cables! I'm a software guy for gosh sakes! :mad:
  19. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Depends on the crimp tool. From what I've seen described in catalogs, it looks like there are two main designs of RJ-45's, those made by AMP and those made by everyone else - the Platinum EZ connectors supposedly will work with any of the NON-AMP style compatible crimpers. The only thing is that you will then need to use a sharp knife to trim the extra wires off where they stick out the face of the connector, not a big deal. I bought the Platinum tool because I wanted a ratchet style crimper, and the price difference between the Platinum crimper and the decent quality "Brand X" tool was negligible. I haven't used it that often myself, actually I think I've made more phone cables with it than I have Ethernet cables - Of course I wired the house with RJ-45 jacks for both phone and ethernet - I ran Cat 5e for both, so why waste the extra two traces? Now if I custom make a phone cable I put an RJ-45 on the wall end and RJ-11 on the phone end - works great.

    Well a few fine points that you may be getting caught by...
    1. You need to know what kind of cable you have, and what kind of connectors you are using. There are two types of Cat 5e cable, solid and stranded. You should NEVER put stranded in a wall, stranded is intended for use as patch cable only. If you look at the specs, you will see that stranded has a MUCH shorter allowed maximum length.
    2. There are different connector designs for stranded and solid cable, as well as a hybrid design that will work on both (The Platinum will work on both) NEVER use a solid connector on stranded cable or vice versa - this implies that you shouldn't use connectors that came from unlabeled containers...
    3. 110 punchdowns should only be used with solid cable, they will not give a reliable connection with stranded.
    4. Watch the pull load - Cat 5 cable is normally only rated for about a 40lb maximum pull. Pulling harder than that can disturb the cable construction and cause it to loose integrity. (Sneaky trick, I pulled my RG-6 Quad cable for the cable TV wiring at the same time - that is rated for 90lbs pull, I tied my pull cord to the RG-6 and taped the Cat 5 wires to it, that way all the stress came on the coax that had the higher pull rating.

    I actually found setting up the pulls was the most difficult part - often I would pull in stages from one place to an intermediate point, then pull from there to the next, etc. My usual routine was to set up one or two pulls during the day and then when the GF got home, have her help with the pull to get the wires into the wall. Then I would terminate both ends and setup the next pull on the following day.

    I used nylon masons string for my pull cord - it's light but very strong, and low cost enough that I was willing to leave it in the walls in case I ever need to pull more stuff. I don't anticipate doing so, but it was a trivial expense.

    Gooserider
  20. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    That works as long as the cat 5E doesn't catch on something and your tugging hard to get the whole shebang moving again.
  21. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Alright then. I'll pick up a 10 pack of those cool plugs, or whatever the smallest count is at HD, pick up their $25 tool, or the one Keyman reco'd, and see if I can improve my situation.

    Damn, Goose! I studied that stuff and I didn't know that (of course, I never really used that info and things are being rapidly forgotten these days). Are you talking about solid and stranded twisted pair type cable? Or something else?

    Good tips for cable pulling. I'll try them if I ever need them again.
  22. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    True, which is why I put a great deal of duct tape on the nose of the bundle to make sure that I have a tapered package. I also usually pulled my string back and forth a couple times to make sure the route was clean. (I put a bit over twice as much string in as the length of the run, and tied each end down, so that I had a permanent pull string installed, attach the cable bundle to the center of the string.) - at any rate, I had no problems that way, either the entire bundle went through, or the entire bundle got stuck...

    Exactly - Cat 5e (short for "Category 5 enhanced") is one of the standard grades of twisted pair cabling. It is best useage to refer to TP cable by it's category, since "Twisted Pair" includes everything from 4 wire telco cable to 40 pair telco feeder cable, along with several grades of twisted pair Ethernet cable... Plain Cat 5 is almost never seen these days, but was the original 10BaseT twisted pair ethernet cable, used instead of 10Base2 Coax. It's officially the minimum spec for carrying ethernet, but only at 10 Megabits, though you might get 100 Mbits if you are lucky on a short haul with perfect installation techniques. Cat 5e is a slightly improved cable, with tighter specs on how it has to be terminated. It should do 100 Mbits w/o problems if installed correctly, and MIGHT get 1 Gigabit. IMHO it's the best choice for home networks, and adequate for most businesses. They also make a Cat 6 cable which is even better, but costs 50% more, and Cat 6 terminations cost almost double Cat 5e - The difference is not really worth it. Telco cable is currently spec'd as Cat 3, but if doing a full network most advice is to pull Cat 5e for both phone and data as the cost difference is negligible and it saves having to buy an extra cable type.

    Both Cat 5e and Cat 6 cable have solid and stranded wire versions, just like AC wiring, for the same types of applications. The solid wire is better for data transmission, but has limited flexibility, and is intended for installation in walls and other "permanent" locations with minimal ongoing flexing. Stranded is intended for use as patch cables, it has more flexibility and is intended for applications that have more movement potential.

    Both Cat 5e and Cat 6 have 4 pairs, each pair being twisted at a different rate, which reduces cross talk. Cat 3 wire has 3 pairs, and usually only comes in solid wire, as the flexible application is filled by "silver satin" phone cords.

    Gooserider
  23. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The Cat 5 standard calls for certification up to 100 megabit. 5E certifies up to gigabit. I have a twenty-four run backbone of Cat 5 servicing the office, computers, servers and phones in this joint on three floors from the comm rack and switches in the basement. The data is running at 100 megabit. The fiber equipment is in the boxes awaiting me stopping chopping wood and playing with stoves long enough to pull the fiber to the rooms. The net will then be running POS (packet over SONET) at 155 megabit synchronous through Lucent routers on each floor until I upgrade to gigabit. Which will only be after TV et. al. lands here through FIOS.

    Sends email real good. Well, that and runs the business and makes disk to disk backups over the network easy.
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    True in theory, real world experience shows that actual performance is closer to the numbers I mentioned. One of the biggest differences is in the allowed fanout length between the connector and the end of the cable jacket where the wires aren't twisted. 5 allows a couple of inches, 5e allows about 1/2" - basically the minimum distance across the face of the punchdown area. If you install 5 according to the 5e spec you will likely get 100 Mbit, as long as the run is fairly short. If you want Gigabit performance out of 5e, you need to stay w/in the connection specs and have a really good cable run, no excessive bends, clearance from AC lines, etc but you don't have much margin for less than a perfect install. Cat 6 gives more margin because of the more stringent cable spec.

    Gooserider
  25. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    29,060
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    One I am waiting to hear results from is my old place of employment. The place had no LANs or WAN when I arrived and we spent three years begging money (a small local government) and installing nets. Got a bunch done LAN and WAN wise and everybody up and running before I left. Since I left on less than amicable terms I neglected to tell anybody that shortly before departure I discovered that the General Services telephone guy who did the cabling had used Cat 3 jacks for everything because it saved money and he thought they would work fine. They did at ten megabit but just wait for what happens when they go 100 and up in the future. And they may NEVER figure out the problem. One that is on one end of every drop in the county.
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