Installing the wrong network cable can result in poor signal quality, connectivity issues and lots of wasted time and money. There a quite a few cabling standards, all with their own set of uses and capabilities. One of the most used cable types is Cat5e. Make sure to view and understand the specifications of this cabling standard before selecting it for your network.
This measures the maximum length of a cable run you can utilize before you lose too much of your signal to allow for certification of the line. Cat5e cable has a maximum run length of 328 feet, or 100 m. Beyond this measure, your signal will become unstable and transmission errors will occur.
This measures the variation from the highest frequency of the signal to the lowest. This higher the MHz rating the cable receives, the more Mbps can be transferred over the line. For Cat5e cabling this is 100 MHz.
This measure outlines the acceptable limit of signal loss that can occur from one end of the line to another. Attenuation can be affected by cable length, the resistance of the cable itself and signal interference. The attenuation limit for a Cat5e cable is 24dB.
Near-end Crosstalk (NEXT)
Crosstalk occurs when the signal on one pair of wires crosses over into another pair. This creates interference and can cause errors. Near-end crosstalk (NEXT) describes the amount of crosstalk occurring between two pairs of wires starting at the same end of the cable. The acceptable limit for NEXT is 30.1 dB.
Attenuation to Crosstalk Ratio (ACR)
This measure outlines the difference between the attenuation and the near-end crosstalk. The attenuation value gives you an idea of how many dBs of the signal make it through the line. Comparing that against the crosstalk value lets you know how many of those decibels will be lost to crosstalk. If the values are too close, you won't have enough of the signal left to provide reliable data transfer. The ACR value for Cat5e is 6.1 dB.
The connector is placed on the end of the cable. This terminates all of the internal wires in their proper places and allows you to plug the wire into a port on a computer or networking device. The connector used for a Cat5e cable is an RJ-45.
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