So let's look at unshielded twisted pair. Unshielded twisted pair we're going to run in a star configuration just the same design pattern that we have talked about. It's going to run from the network rack location to individual outlets in offices or labs. We recommend you run at least two cables and actually we recommend four if you can afford it and i will talk a little bit about wireless here in a second and you will see that four might be the right thing to do for a number of uh cases you also want to run network cables between the network racks from where you have the fiber come into your building from that main rack up to every other network rack location and again we recommend using four to six cables the reason we do this is because uh it's often cheaper to run things on copper than it is on fiber you certainly will be running fiber between the network racks but having copper in there it just allows you to save some money the real question as you look at unshielded twisted pair is what kind of cable should you run i've built this little table here it has the cable type and how fast it'll go for how far and it has this thing called cost factor the cost factor if it says 1x it means it's the same price if it's 1.2 it means it's uh 120 of the cost so rather than being you know a hundred dollars to run it it's a hundred and twenty dollars and then one point four would be a hundred and forty dollars uh and again this is going to depend on your cost of labor in particular materials aren't that much more expensive but in the u.s labor is a key factor and so you'll have to develop what the cost factor is for your region so category 5 cable will support 100 megabits for 100 meters i will point out that much of the category 5 cable that we see installed actually meets category 5e performance specifications so you might certainly be able to run gigabit for 100 meters so cat5e will support gig in two and a half gig category six will support uh five gig for a hundred meters it will support 10 gig for a shorter distance of 55 meters and then if you want to support 10 gig for a full 100 meters we recommend the cat 6a cable if you notice in that previous table we were talking about speeds and cable type this table looks at the standard that you know a switch will implement and what type of cable is required to support that standard so 100 megabits the standard name is it's an 802.3 ethernet standard it's a 100 base tx is what that's called gigabit is a thousand base t and gigabit requires a category five e cable to support the full distance again uh some category five cable actually will meet the performance specifications and might well support these speeds for a limited distance you probably aren't that familiar with the 2.5 g base t and the 5g base t these are wireless standards that were developed as wi-fi access points became faster the wi-fi part became faster starting with 802.11 ac you really needed to provide more than one gigabit to an access point to take advantage of the wireless speeds and so 2.5 g base t and 5 g base t were introduced we would also note that a minimally compliant category 5 e is a hundred megahertz cable uh but many uh category five installations utilize a 200 or even a 350 megahertz cable so the cat5e will support the 5g based team as we look at 10g base t it requires category 6a cable to support the full 100 meters however cat6 cable will support 10g base t for a limited distance let's talk for a minute about twisted pair and wireless we've run into any number of people that say hey i don't need to do wiring we're just going to do wireless however for good wireless performance you must provide wiring to each access point you don't want to use mesh networking to backhaul from wireless access point to wireless access point finally back to the wiring closet you really really want to use cabling out to each access point these wireless standards are moving at a breakneck speed in terms of the type of speeds you can get and you need better cabling to support these faster speeds let's take just a really quick look at the wireless standards we ought to be really familiar with 802.11n that's a standard that's been around forever and a day it runs on 2.4 and 5 gigahertz it'll support 576 megabits at full rate and you can support those access points with cat 5e or cat6 because you need a gigabit to the access point if you look at the next generation which is what you probably or hopefully have installed it is 802 to 11 ac it actually can support almost seven gigabits and that is going to require cat6a cabling the next generation of wireless which is being dubbed wi-fi six prior to 802.11 ax people never talked about wi-fi for wi-fi five but for some reason with 802.11 ax they've introduced wi-fi six as a term and uh it will be running in the 2.4 and five gigahertz uh spectrum there is a 6e standard wi-fi 6e standard that will also support 6 gigahertz as a frequency that runs at almost 10 gigs so uh you are going to have to have a cat6a cabling to support that kind of speed and then finally there's a new standard that's coming i mean 802.11 ax is available you can buy it that is what we recommend that you buy now if you're buying new access points but there's a new standard coming it's called 802.11be it's going to be probably called wi-fi seven it will definitely support the six gigahertz spectrum in addition to the legacy spectrum and it will be faster than 10 gigabits so to support an access point that is 802 to 11 be or wi-fi 7 you're going to have to have two cat6a cables to serve that access point to take advantage of the wireless spectrum that it's using note that as you move to the six gigahertz spectrum your access points are going to have to be closer together than they are particularly in the 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz range because the signals won't go as far 6 gigahertz is not going to go as far so we actually recommend that you run four category 6a cables to each access point location today so that will support your 802.11 ax installation your wi-fi 6 installation as you move to 802.11 be you have four cables there and you can simply drag those cables that extra 30 feet or so or even use a 30 foot patch cord to reach the additional access point that you're going to need to place to have complete coverage in the six gigahertz range.
© Produced by Philip Smith and the Network Startup Resource Center, through the University of Oregon.
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