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 Question by john colburn posted 06 Jan 2004
 CAt5 Installed
When I remodled 5 years ago, I had cat5 cabling and coax run throughout my house. Each room has an outlet with on of each in it. I did not have a hub installed at that time. I now want to set up a home network. What is the best way to take advantage of the cabling (both types) in order to establish the fastest home computer network?
 Answer by Dmitri Abaimov posted 06 Jan 2004
Dear John,

Speaking of the fastest network, your CAT5 cable (if it was installed properly) may very well be suitable for Gigabit Ethernet and, will surely support 100MBit/sec Fast Ethernet.

The Gigabit Ethernet additional parameters were set forth by TIA/EIA TSB 95 document circa 1999, so if your cable was installed before or shortly after that year, then it was not specifically designed for Gigabit Ethernet. However, CAT5 cables by decent manufacturers normally would pass additional CAT5E tests.

Another aspect of usability of your cabling is the way it's laid out: all cables have to be home runs (separate cables) to the building's central distribution point. If that's the case, then the distribution device is the great spot to locate your hub/switch, or, better yet, router with 4 port Ethernet switch on board for Internet connectivity on all computers. Basically, every individual CAT5 cable will have to be connected to a separate port on the switch, so size your switch accordingly to the number of computers/network devices in your network.

If the cables were spliced or somehow connected in parallel, then they are not very much useful for fast Ethernet connection, but can still be used for a phoneline network adapters, running on much slower speeds.

It is hard to tell about your coax, and in this case that is not speed that matters, but the highest frequency of the signal that can be passed through. Five years ago all major types of coaxial cable already existed, so it could be anything: RG59, RG6 1GHz, RG6 2.4GHz

Again, it is hard to assess your cabling without actually seeing it, so I hope my answers would be useful.

Dmitri Abaimov, RCDD

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