Are there any credible independent reviewers of ethernet cable quality? I’m looking at running some Cat6 in my house and the options span some 5x in price. Moreover, I have no credible way to assess whether the cable being sold matches the purported quality - most online sellers are rebranding the products of others. They will send an independent lab report for who they claim is the original manufacturer, but I have no reason to trust this when buying online.
I usually buy Monoprice cables. I have had 2 of their Ethernet cables fail on me the last couple years, but that is out of dozens and dozens I have used from them going on a decade now. I also buy Cable Matters and TeraGrand off amazon, and I have had a teragrand cable fail on me too.
All have functioned to spec though. I believe the broken cables are a break in one or more of the conductors from moving it too much. copper can only be wiggled so much before it develops a break, so Im not really holding it against either of the brands.
As someone who pulls cable for a living (not just network cable, but power and other communication as well), I’ll let you in on a not so very well kept secret: there are solid core and stranded core cables for network use. Solid core cable is to be used on fixed installations while stranded core is meant to be moved around. In short: use single core Cat6E between the ISP router and the socket you connect the PC to, while that last piece (between socket and PC) is stranded wire.
However, in your case I’d recommend fibre optic cables. It’s not that expensive anymore (thanks to retailers like fs.com) and it’s an easy upgrade path for more speed later on.
Im a fiber noob. How does one start with fiber? That is where the 10 gig SFP+ ports come in, right?
I don’t think there’s an authority, go by reviews. In general, if you can find a factory that’s willing to put their name on a product, and you can find specs of a product, you can probably check if it looks like the thing you’re after and if it is, it’s probably good.
for cat6 there’s various
- utp … and shielding … and foil
- number of twists per cm
- sheathing thickness
- … and then there’s the wire guage
Do you have some particular examples me (or others here) can help track down for you?
cable termination quality will greatly affect signal attenuation, likely more than the difference between any brand of cable within a category.
If you’re buying pre-terminated cables I know linkup will provide a test report of the actual cable they send you for most of their cables.
The challenge is that “the specs” frequently include spec’d bandwidth, and higher cost is associated with higher range. So I can get Cat6 “rated” for 250Mhz up to (I think) 650 MHz. My residential installation only needs a few hundred feet, so I’m looking at no more than 1 1000’ box.
I’m willing to pay more to get more/better. But I also know that there are people selling $50 flashlights on Amazon claiming to output 10,000 lumens - you can claim anything you want and there’s no guarantee you are getting what you are paying for.
This is why I’m looking for independent reviewers of cable. I want to know that what I’m burying in my walls will meet the specs listed on the box.
If it is certified as cat6 then it should do the job of cat6 (assuming it actually meets spec).
buy from a reputable company and the cat6 spec should be sufficient. I’d be more wary of people making claims about better than cat6 performance to be honest - unless they’re running additional shielding, etc. (i.e., not cat6 spec) and those extra shielded cables are a pain in the balls to work with and don’t buy you much. certainly not give you the ability to run 100 gig or whatever vs. 10 gig. cat6a cabling is commodity/cheap now.
If you’re talking a home install then don’t sweat it - you’re probably well within the distance specs. pay attention to the bend radius, min distance from power sources and termination specs if you’re planning cat6 to run 10 gig - these things are more likely to screw you than buying the wrong brand of cat6 cable.
there is no need for audiophile ethernet.
as above - be aware of solid core vs. stranded. they’re for difference purposes.
solid core is for punching down into sockets. NOT for crimping onto plugs.
i.e., solid core for structured cabling, stranded for patch leads. if you crimp ends onto solid core cable you WILL have all sorts of issues, I have personal experience with diagnosing this; one of our remote sites in Mongolia had the local “IT guy” create a bunch of patch cables with leftover solid core and lets just say there was no end of unreliability on that network until they were replaced.
I second this.
If you’re looking to spend more for better, then run multimode fibre instead (not single mode, you don’t need the distance and single mode laser optics are much much more expensive than multimode LED optics). that will do 40 or 100 gig (or more) in future (or NOW) by simply upgrading the transceivers. Cat6 almost certainly won’t. because physics.
You can buy pre-terminated fibre runs; I don’t have personal experience with running these, but have heard about them from my cabling contractor associates. you don’t need to splice your own shit any more.
Additionally, fibre is immune to things like interference from electrical wiring. Copper cabling is not.
As much as I like fiber and have some in my house as well, for most home things fiber simply isn’t supported. I would really only look at running fiber to a few main locations. Determine where your “network closet” will be in the home, where you want to have your main network gear including router and switches. From there, run a fiber line to the living room, to the garage, to a loft or den if you have one, and if there is another location you may want to set up a high end PC. Anywhere else in the home is useless IMO because you cant plug AV devices into it and fiber will not be replacing copper RJ45 anytime within the next couple decades if ever. Copper already have a spec and is capable of 40gb, and sure it is crazy expensive now but RJ45 is too ingrained in the home and nobody is even trying to drive a transition to fiber in the typical home. And considering home use has an upgrade path well into the future it just isn’t going to be replaced.
I’ve been using ethernet and fiber from fs.com and they’ve been a pleasure to work with. Their prices are very reasonable, they can do custom lengths if needed or you can buy a whole spool, and the shipping is very fast. (I only order if it’s in a US warehouse. )
I pulled about 20k feet of cat 6 ICE cable last year. I really like it. The jacket is a bit thicker and just feels more quality.
I’ve been using a lot of Monoprice lately and their stuff is great too. Purple is Monoprice. Black is terrible Southwire stuff. You can see the difference in jacket thickness. The Southwire constantly kinks.
You can crimp solid core. We do all day in the field. It’s standard practice for cameras and access control. The problem with the solid core is, if you flex it a bunch it will deteriorate and crack. So, the solid cable can be used in punch downs and crimp connectors. Just don’t use solid in a situation where the cables move. If you need movement, you need stranded cable at that point (which is why we have patch cables).
Most of the time when you try to crimp connectors onto solid core the pins in teh plug get displaced as they don’t penetrate the cable cores properly.
Whilst people may DO it in the field, you shouldn’t. You should probably terminate it into a socket and run a shorter run of stranded to the camera or whatever rather than short-cutting it.
The pins are guided through the plastic and straight down into the cable. There is no way for it to get displaced.
Even the manufacturers design these for solid cable: Platinum Tools® | Products | Connectors | EZ-RJ45® Connectors | 100010C
Infinite cables tests their pre-terminated cables with Fluke certification equipment. That is the most effort I have personally seen from anyone to actually guarantee the product.
I usually go with Monoprice solid copper core with punchdown keystone jacks on both ends. Use Monoprice patch cables to the device.
I’ve seen/done it myself. Maybe some connectors are possibly rated for it, but I’ve literally seen the pins splayed sideways down beside the copper core instead of penetrating it with my own eyes. Because the plastic gives before the metal.
I’ve also had to diagnose the network problems from others doing it.