Cat5e components on cat5 cable

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 Question by Eldon Sexton posted 17 Dec 2004
 Cat5e components on cat5 cable
I have a customer who has a cat5 cable plant. They want to upgrade their switches, servers, etc. But they don't want to spend the money to run new cat5e cables. Can they expect good performance from their new network equipment on the cat5 cabling?
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 Answer by Dmitri Abaimov posted 17 Dec 2004
Dear Eldon,

The answer will greatly depend on what kind of CAT5 cable that is. The CAT5E standard was introduced back in 1999 (and were under development for about 3 years before that) as additional parameters to regular CAT5. Back in late 90's many manufacturers made component that were good enough for CAT5E, but were not labeled this way as the standard was not yet ratified. Therefore and it is possible that the system is already CAT5E-compliant, although the cables and components are marked as CAT5 (without "e"). You would have to get a certifying tool, such as Fluke's DSP-4xxx or OmniScanner, and test every cable to tell if it is CAT5E-compliant.

If they are not, it will make very little sense to upgrade the cables by only changing the jacks and the patch panel: the rating of a cabling system is defined by its lowest performing element.

If the cabling system was installed before 1996, donít bother testing as the technology was not available prior to that time.

Sincerely,
Dmitri Abaimov, RCDD

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