So for unshielded twisted pair the rules are very simple: you run it in a star configuration from the network rack to individual outlets in offices or labs. And notice that even places that you have access points you'll run cabling to support that. We recommend you run at least two cables to every outlet and four if you can afford it, particularly to faculty offices. And on my campus we used to run two cables to each office, two unshielded twisted pair cables. Today we put two four-way outlets in every office so we actually run eight cables to every office, into classrooms particularly where you have some A/V audio visual equipment and projectors that kind of thing. It's a great place to run at least six cables into the A/V cabinet. It's a great place to put an access point and for you to be able to support various technology associated with your A/V. We also recommend you run between four and six cables between network racks as long as the distance is less than 90 meters. Really the only kind of decision point on unshielded twisted pair is what kind of cable do you run. Do you run Category 5? Category 5e? Category 6 or category 6a? So let's just take a quick look at some of the various factors that you ought to be looking at as you try to decide what kind of cable to run from a speed perspective. If you're just trying to support a specific speed I've built this table here that outlines the speed associated with every cable. So a Cat 5 cable for example will support 100 megabits for 100 meters. This column called cost factor, when I say it's one times the cost, it means anything that's 1x is the same cost if it's 4x, it's four times as much. And I need to qualify that these are prices in the USA. With USA contractors you ought to be working with and talking to your contractors about what the different types of cable costs. As we look at the speeds Category 5 supports 100 megabits Category 5e supports a thousand megabits so it supports gigabit ethernet. It will also support, even if it's minimally compliant, Category 5e. It will support two and a half gigabits for 100 meters. Category 6 cable it will support gig, it'll support 5 gig and it will support 10 gig for a limited distance. So Category 6 will support the 5 gig for the full 100 meters, it'll only support 10 gig for 55 meters. I probably ought to point out that the Category 5e cable if you are installing extra headroom, extra performance, if you're installing a 250 or 350 megahertz Category 5e, it will also support the five gigs for 100 meters, the same as Cat 6. You know looking at this my recommendation is pretty clear: figure out you know what the costs are in your country and then go with the highest rated cable you can afford. In our case it's really clear that Category 6 cable is a clear choice with some runs of Category 6a simply because the category 6 won't support 10 gigabits for the full 100 meters. So let's just talk really quickly about these speeds and the standards. So the standard name and i don't have the 802.3 spec right in front of me but the 100baseTX is 100 megabits. You need to have at least category 5 cable. Gigabit is a thousand baseT, it requires at least category 5e. The 2.5GbaseT is also supported by Category 5e cable. And then 5GbaseT which is 5 gigabits requires Category 6 cable. I will point out again that if you have installed Category 5e cable that's better than minimally compliant, if it's at least 200 megahertz rated or greater, it will support the 5GBaseT for the full 100 meters. Finally we have the 10GbaseT, it's 10 gigabits and that requires Category 6a to support the complete 100 meters. These 2.5GbaseT and 5GbaseT are kind of newer standards and the reason that they've been developed is for people that have installed the lower quality Category 5e cable that you can support newer Wi-Fi devices that require an uplink speed of greater than one gigabit. So the 2.5GbaseT and the 5GbaseT standards were built specifically to support Wi-Fi 6 which is 802.11ax and this is the new wireless standard that you should start to see a variety of equipment.
© Produced by Philip Smith and the Network Startup Resource Center, through the University of Oregon.
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