Question Need help with understanding 1000BASE-T vs. 10GBASE-T bandwidth and certification of CAT6 and CAT6A cables.. 10Gbit achievable on CAT6 <30m?

Dec 7, 2021
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Hi!
First post on this forum, I hope and believe this is the answer to my goal of finding the best network forum for my needs! Not a native speaker, I hereby apologize for any grammatical errors that may occur in this and all future posts.... =)

I am in the process of building a new house. I have from the very beginning of the project informed the building entrepreneurs of my network needs and the wish for a 10Gbit network backbone. Currently I do not have many 10Gbit NICs, but hoping to upgrade my NAS and my computer to 10Gbit NICs and be able to edit videos and photos through an ethernet cable (NAS is placed in a "technical" room together with switch, router etc.). It is also important for meg to future proof. For this reason I had initially asked for CAT6A U/UTP cables to be run in the walls. A week ago I was called bya guy at the wholesale (? Where my electrician gets the products..) who informed me of the problem with alien crosstalk when using unshielded CAT6A cables. We talked for a bit and settled on CAT6-cables. After all, I have read that CAT6-cables without much problem will achieve 10Gbit speeds, at least I thought...

I called the people at the wholesale (is this even the correct word for the company that sells products (middle man) from manufacturer and delievers it to the stores?) and they now say that they cannot guarantee 10Gbit speeds over CAT6, and that I should have gone for shielded CAT6A. Why did they not tell me this sooner. I was told today by the electricians at my hose that they just finished with the wiring/cabling.

So, a few questions:

1a) Have I understood it correctly if I say that 1000BASE-T is a standard for gigabit speeds over paired twisted copper cables? And that this standard runs on 62,5 MHz? And that CAT5e cables are certified up to 100 MHz, CAT6 cables up to 250 MHz and CAT6A cables up to 500MHz?
1b) Is it true that 10GBASE-T is a standard for 10gig speeds over TP-cables and that this operates on 400 MHz? Does this mean that if the (10gig capable) NICs between e.g. my computer and NAS autonegotiates and agrees on 10GBASE-T it will run at 400MHz over the cable, even though the cable is a CAT6-cable? And that this might work since "certified" to 250MHz just means that the manufacturer guarantees this bandwith, but traffic at 400MHz typically works on shorter lengths (e.g. <55m/165ft)? Or can 10GBASE-T work on several bandwidths?

2) Regarding bandwidth. I was told from the ppl at the wholesale that they didn't recommend unshielded CAT6A cable due to noise. I believe (?) they are talking about alien crosstalk. But does this mean that they are talking only about 10GBASE-T operating at 400 MHz? What if i run the entire network on 1000BASE-T? I guess this means that the network is operating on 62,5 MHz, and I cant understand why this would be a problem on unshielded CAT6A and not on unshielded CAT6?? If I understand this part correctly, there would not be any downsides of putting down unshielded CAT6A cables, only a (potential) problem if I rund anything at 10 gig speeds...

3) Regarding shielding. If I chose to shield the network, how does this work? The way I understand it, the patch panel in the "technical room" will be grounded. So will the connections (connectors) and obviously the cable terminations. The cable could be a U/FTP cable (easier to install compared to F/UTP / F/FTP?) and this cable would be terminated with shield to the connector in the wall. But what about the peripheral equipment? Do I have to use a shielded TP-cable between the connector in the wall and my computer? I don't think the RJ-45 connector in my computer is shielded in any way?? What about my equipment that is already grounded through the power cord? And equipment (e.g. printer) that is not? How does shielding work in the periphery?

Thank you so much for helping me understand a complex topic...
 
This is one of those things that are what is "certified to work" and what people actually know works in real life.

That standard only talks about ethernet cables that are 100 meters long. It would get confusing if there where many different cable lengths. It is already bad enough with all the variations of cable type along with shielded and not.

There are really on 2 fully certified types of "CAT" cable.

You have Cat5e which is good to 1gbit
You have cat6a which is good to 10gbit.

Normal Cat6 cable is really not much different than cat5e but it is certified to run 1gbit on 2pair of cable rather than 4 pair. Nobody adopted the 2 pair standard so cat6 cable has been a dead cable since it was invented......the cable vendors still wanted to get there money so they pretend it is better to the uneducated. Many people do not even notice there is a 1000-t and 1000-tx standards.

Cat7 cable was not fully certified but is also designed for 10gbit but is far more expensive than cat6a.
Cat8 cable is designed for 40g I think this standard is still a work in progress.

Now that said what people "know" works is normal cat6 cable will function at 10gbit to about 50 meters. Now this is "about" since there is not official standard. It will also run 2.5g and 5g to 100 meters but I am do not know if they updated the official standard to include that. This is a real life knowledge thing rather than what you can prove in a lab will meet some extremely narrow standards.

Shielding is a completely separate issues (even though cat7 cables are all shielded). As you seem to know you must ground both ends of shielded cable. What makes this ever more complex is you can not use the ground wires in a electrical outlet to accomplish this. It must be a completely separate grounding system...ie a separate copper wire running from a ground bar to each location. Partially this is because of code requirements for safety but as far as data goes it if there is some faulty equipment anyplace in the house it can actually cause interference to be injected into the shield via the common ground.

It is impracticable for a home user to install this. Mostly this is a scare tactic by cable vendors. There is no magically interference to beign with. This means the shielding does nothing and even if you install it ungrounded there is no interference to amplify with the shield. So you have home users who install it incorrectly and have spent extra money mostly for a feel good thing rather than technical need. Shielded cable is used in manufacting or in places like hospitals or airplanes where they want to keep the ethernet data in the cable and prevent it from interfering rather than the reverse.

So in the end you want to run cat5e for 1gbit and cat6a for anything faster like 10gbit. There used to be a huge price difference between cat6 and cat6a but with the huge increase in the price copper the extra manufacturing costs between cat6 and cat6a gets hidden more.

You will be fine with normal cat6 in your house. It will not be a install you could take a meter and get a actually certified install but it will work fine, assuming you do not have a huge house and are getting near the 50 meter limit.
 
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Reactions: Anterialis
Dec 7, 2021
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thank you so much for a very good input!

Could you explain a bit about the 2,5 and 5Gbit speeds? Is this a standard, or are those speeds a result of a “bad” 10GBASE-T throughput?
 
No they are actual speeds using a different form of signaling. This is why you need ports that have the correct hardware to work at these speeds.

There connections only run at 1 constant speed depending on the hardware. They either run at full line rate or they run at zero. The things that confuses people is that most network rates are averages over time. It makes sense because if you used instant rate on a 10 gbit port you would only see 10gbit or zero not real useful for your general user. It is not some analog system that can actually send the data at say 1.85gbs
 
Dec 7, 2021
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Aha, I see. But still a bit confused on which protocoll or standard is in use when 2,5 Gbit and 5 Gbit is happening? Its a bit OT, but I would like to learn!
1000BASE-T is 1000Mbit and 10GBASE-T is 10Gbit, and if what you are saying is correct (I have no reason to doubt this), these standards give either 1 or 10Gbit speeds, nothing in between?

Or did I get it right in the first place, saying that 2,5 and 5 Gbit (or anything in between 1 and 10 Gbit) is a result of sub-optimal 10Gbit speed (over the 10GBASE-T standard)? Maybe I misunderstood what you tried explaining me…
 
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They are official standard I just never learned what the official name is. They are mostly used in consumer gear so I didn't pay a lot of attention since you have to have a very uncommon application to need more that 1gbit. Maybe its called 2500base-t :)
 
Dec 7, 2021
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Thanks. I want to achieve highest possible throughput between a PC and a NAS over Ethernet, both with 10Gbit NICs and through a 10Gbit switch. Interesting to learn there are more “speeds” between 1 and 10 Gbit :)
 
It is something new ?

We have had 10gbit ports for many years and the price was finally in the range that a home user could actually afford to buy them. You wouldn't think there is a huge difference in the pricing of the actual chip for 2.5g vs 10g.

It has to be some kind marketing thing since only home users buy 2.5 and 5g stuff. Business will just go to the full 10g since the technology is very mature and there is not a lot of cost difference. The 2.5g stuff on motherboards has been kinda unstable. They had all kinds of driver issues and intel even had a design flaw in their early chipset that they could not fully fix with a driver. You have to be very careful about motherboard manufactured in the fall of 2020.

If you have not done 10g NAS stuff before you are soon going to find out that the network is not the bottleneck. Many people go cheap single disk based NAS and then are surprised that it won't exceed even gigabit.
 

gggplaya

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You guys are talking about the IEEE standard 802.3bz which allows for 2.5gbe and 5gbe. This is often called multi-gigabit for lack of a better term. I use it in my house. But yes, it is an offical standard adopted by the IEEE in 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2.5GBASE-T_and_5GBASE-T

Officially, it allows 100 meters of cat5e to run 2.5gbe. Or 100meters of Cat6 to run 5gbe.


Also, I do think that IEEE 10G spec does allow CAT6 to run 10gbe at 55 meters which is plenty long for a house.




I use 23awg CAT6 cable in my house and it runs 10gbe just fine.
 
Dec 7, 2021
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If you have not done 10g NAS stuff before you are soon going to find out that the network is not the bottleneck. Many people go cheap single disk based NAS and then are surprised that it won't exceed even gigabit.
Understood. Speaking of NAS, I am planning on using a combination of HDDs (main storage, file server, Plex, etc) and maybe just a single 1-2GB SSD to temporarily edit video/photos on. SSDs are about 500 MB/s (?) which is 4Gbit/a, so still comes in short compared to a 10Gbit network system…
 

failboat

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Sounds like bs to me. I'd recommend cat6a CMR UTP 23awg 100% copper UL listed. terminated to patch panel or keystones rated to the same degree as the cables only then run premade patch cables. any type of shield is going to cost you more and do nothing but potentially cause issues. can test speeds yourself it takes fairly expensive tools to do a proper test that a professional installer might do.

If you have an easy path I'd recommend running fiber or both. Fiber switches and nics are much more common and priced better. Don't run DAC through the wall incase you have to switch transceivers.
 

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