Question Speeds capped at 100mbps despite using cat5e/cat6 cables

Oct 16, 2019
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Hi,

I’m at the point of absolute despair with this issue. Basically to cut a long story short I recently upgraded my internet from 50mbps to 150mbps on my fttp connection. Ever since it went live I haven’t been able to get 150mbps, with it capping at around 94mbps. After a phone call to BT I was told that an ethernet cable is to blame as they suspected one of the cables was only cat5, limiting it to 100mbps. After swapping in cat5e cables I ran speed tests and found the results to be the same as before. I tried many different cables and configurations but the results remained the same.

The way my house is wired up allows for ethernet cables to run through the walls via an outlet box located next to my modem under the stairs. So each room has an assigned socket on the outlet box corresponding to an outlet in each of the rooms. Eventually I started to suspect that the cables behind the wall were cat5 explaining the 100mbps cap. However after pulling them out I discovered they were actually cat6 cables which crosses them out as the weak link.

In order to rule out the pc or router I found a long 20 metre cable (which just happened to be cat5e) and connected it directly from the router to my pc which finally gave me the correct speed of 150mbps. My ethernet speed read as 1gbps when connected like this. However this left me with a great big ugly cable running all the way through the house. I also have other devices like game consoles that use wired connections that would leave additional cables going all over the place. Due to the way my house is wired I’d ideally want to use the outlet boxes to keep cable mess to a minimum.

So now I have a cat5e cable running from the modem to the router, another cat5e going from the router to the outlet box, a cat6 going up the wall to the outlet in my office which is then connected to another cat5e directly to my pc. I am starting to wonder if the 100mbps cap is due to a disparity between the cat5e cables and the cat6 in the wall. If that is the case would it be wise to purchase three more cat6 cables in order to replace the cat5e’s and guarantee a consistent connection method at each of the points? Or perhaps it would be better to get three cat7’s instead but that may re-introduce the potential disparity I am having with the cat5e’s.

There are also powerline adapters that can transfer gigabit speeds but I’m not sure how reliable they are. I recall someone telling me that the speed and stability of a connection over a powerline adapter is never as good as a wired connection.

Anyway I’ve rambled enough. If anyone can provide any advice or insight as to why I can’t get over 100mbps using cat5e/cat6 cables I’d be extremely grateful!
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Network connection path being:

ISP --->Modem --->[WAN] Router [LAN]---Ethernet cable --->Outlet box near modem -----Wall installed ethernet cable ---> Room outlet box ---Ethernet cable --> Computer/device.

Last run ("Outlet box near modem -----Wall installed ethernet cable ---> Room outlet box ---Ethernet cable --> Computer/device") X 4.

Have you opened up any of those outlet boxes to check the terminations between wall wiring and the jack?

Take a look and post some photographs.

http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2173703/post-images-tomshardware-guide.html

And you can also go online and look for network installation "howto's" that may show proper terminations. Not all such links are good.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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I can take and provide pictures if need be. I just know the cables that run through the wall have "cat 6" printed on the outside.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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Not sure if this is any use at all but this is what the wiring looks like in the outlet box that feeds into the wall (also a pic of the "cat 6" on the cable):



 
Be nice if it where as simple as looking at them but you would need to be very lucky.

Do all the jacks not work or just 1.

Who ever did those did a good job. You need to check the other end and hope you get lucky and see a loose wire.

If it is all the jacks I would be more suspect of some mistake but if it only 1 jack then you suspect a poor connection on 1 wire. Finding it is not always simple.

Still it could be just a matter of re punching down the wires. It may be nothing but if you look at the jack on the far right of your photo and look at the top left pair (blue-blue/white). See how it looks very different than the others ones. These wires do not appear to be fully punched in.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Overall, I would not be too pleased with the punchdowns. For example the third port from the left - that "hairpin turn" white wire.

How tight are those zip ties? They seem to be drawn up rather tightly. And I see another zip tie pulling all four purple cables in together.

Take a look in the individual room outlet boxes. And check any visible parts of the purple Cat 6 cables that you can. Look for sharp bends, kinks, other zip ties, staples, nails etc. that could be pinching and squeezing the connectors all too tightly.

Likely that you will get other response to the photograph as well.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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Thanks for the responses. I'm not an expert in these matters at all so I wouldn't like to start fiddling around too much in case I make things even worse...

I just tried connecting my laptop directly to the router using each of my cables just to be 100% sure that they are all ok. But strangely enough I also tried two cat5 (not cat5e) cables and they both gave me gigabit connections!? I ran speed tests on both and they both gave me the full 150mbps. I don't understand that at all...

I also tried the laptop upstairs in substitute of my pc with the same connection setup as before and got the same results. I have also tried connecting to each of the four outlets in each room and the results are identical as before. Something is definitely wrong with those cat 6 wall cables. But if it means fiddling around with the individual wires until I achieve the desired results I wouldn't have a clue what to do!
 
It would be very rare for you to have a actual cat5 cable they have not been sold in more than 10yrs.

Check the other end and see if they use the same wire pattern. What is most important are the green and orange pairs are in the same positions.

I would buy the tester recommended in one of the above posts. These are very simplistic but will show if you have open connectors and if the pins are wired correctly end to end.

I would also buy a very inexpensive punch down tool. The cheap ones do not last as long but you are not going to use it very much. If simple repunch of all the pins does not correct it you end up pulling all out cut off about 1/2 inch and repunch it down.

When you put it back you want to do it very similar. Look at how little wire is stripped back and how little the wires from the pairs are untwisted. This is the proper way to do it. If only they had done a better job of punching it down. Then again they may have pulled it loose when they put the zip ties on if they were not careful.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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Just seems really strange to me that they provide such a perfect connection, albeit a 100mbps only one. Could some adjustments with a punch down tool really allow them to transfer gigabit speeds?

I am way out of my depths with this one. Until recently I thought there was only one type of ethernet cable.... Gotta love technology.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Just seems really strange to me that they provide such a perfect connection, albeit a 100mbps only one. Could some adjustments with a punch down tool really allow them to transfer gigabit speeds?

I am way out of my depths with this one. Until recently I thought there was only one type of ethernet cable.... Gotta love technology.
Yes. Only 4 wires are required for 100Mbit but all 8 are required for gigabit. Just one wire bad will cause it to drop to 100Mbit.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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Well you are teaching me something new today! Wish I knew about all this sooner.

Ok so I just took a pic of the outlet socket in my office. Not sure if anything is wrong or not:

 
Oct 16, 2019
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Well holy <Mod Edit> I fixed it.... Noticed the white and blue not properly touching on the outlet box downstairs so I managed to push them back onto the connector with a thin screwdriver (don't judge me!). Then I noticed the brown cable on the port upstairs had broken off at the side (top left, you can see it in the pic above). So I took it off and reattached using the ol' screwdriver. And it works!! gigabit connection all up and running... I feel so elated right now that I managed to fix this without having to call out an electrician. Thanks for the help everyone and let this be a lesson to always proof check your work!
 
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