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Wireless vs Powerline vs cat5


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#1 techieboy

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:08 PM

I've given up trying to get a decent wifi signal between my study (where the broadband connection terminates) and my lounge which is only about ten metres away. Too many concrete block walls between the two, I think.

I've tried 3 different wifi routers, two of which are pre-N (Belkin and Netgear) and a regular g (Linksys) and the best I've managed to get was a "low" signal, more often than not "very low" or no connection and now have a great stockpile of kit. The wifi laptops usually manage to eek out a connection but the Xbox wireless adapter has never once seen the network (I finally managed to hook up to Xbox Live by trailing a cable through the house). Done all the usual things with shifting frequencies away from any other networks in the neighbourhood and tinkering with other settings but still no joy. Can't try high gain antennae either as the existing aerials are either non-replaceable or internal to the router.

Bearing in mind I'll probably be streaming downloaded HD content from the main pc/server in the study through to either the Xbox 360 or maybe a differnet media player of some form. I think I've got a few possible options:-

1. Wireless repeater somewhere where it can see the existing wireless router and also the lounge?

2. Power line networking kit of some form?

3. Cat5e cable from existing gigabit switch in the study to a new switch somewhere behind the equipment rack in the lounge?

I'm not sure whether 1 or 2 will work any better or whether I'll run into bandwidth issues (doesn't the repeater effectively halve the available bandwidth?).Any experiences, good or bad?

If I go with cat5 and take the easiest option, is the cable OK to run externally around the outside of the house? If I go the internal route, are cat5 cables safe to bury in a screed floor. Not sure about how robust the sleeving is? Would it make sense to put in an additional run of cable (or two) in or would a gigabit switch/hub be sufficient at the loung end?

Lots of questions there but any advice much appreciated.

Cheers

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#2 Calm Chris

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:25 PM

Cat 5 isn't external and doesn't have UV protection. You might be able to find some which has been over sleeved with an external grade sheath.

If you run it internally then you should drop it in to plastic mini trunking, conduit or ego tube, ego tube is likely to be the smallest of the plastic profiles. This will prevent the plaster contaminating the cat 5 sheath and give it some protection when (in later years) you drill in the area. Most cable tracers will not be able to identify the cable due to its size and the lower power passing along the cable so there is a risk of drilling straight in to it.

If you wanted to, you could buy a predetermined length fibre pig tail and use that as the link between the units, fibre has limitless capacity in a home / SoHo environment.

If you go for the copper cable I'd suggest running a few at the same time and go for the highest Cat rating 5e/6 or even 7. Even if you use Cat 5 terminating ends, at least the cable should never need upgrading.

Do pay attention to MBR (minimum bending radius) and don't snag cable, pull it too hard or feed it through over tight holes. The cable is quite sensitive to mechanical damage and the higher the Cat rating the more fragile it is /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/169144-ok.gif
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#3 Daz

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:28 PM

Chris,

Could you run CAT5 externally inside some sort of trunking, either plastic or grounded metal?

#4 Calm Chris

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:34 PM

Checked the net, over sleeved Cat 5 for external use is available, most is special order or 305m drums as the minimum.

Providing you don't mind drill holes big enough to allow the passage of the cable complete with RJ 45 plug then this firm can supply Cat 5 external leads that will do the job.

Cat 5 external leads

Check your lengths, it's amazing how much cable can be used, before you order /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
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#5 Calm Chris

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:43 PM

Yeah, not a problem, other than cost.

Plastic copex is a favourite because its flexible, doesn't need earthing and can be secured with saddles a la conduit.

Problem being that it's difficult to make it look nice and at home most people do care about the external asetics of a property.

In all honesty, internal Cat 5 can be run outside, but will have a shorter life span- 5-10 years in direct sun light and exposed to the weathering factors of the UK.

It's only WRONG if you pay someone to do it /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Anyway- hopefully the external Cat 5 leads will do the job /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/169144-ok.gif
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#6 cheechy

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:43 PM

I think what the boys are telling you here is that cabling is the way to go for HD streaming /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

The powerline stuff is better than g standard wireless in most cases (in my experience anyway) but isnt good enough at the moment to stream HD content.

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#7 techieboy

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 07:06 PM

Excellent. Thanks guys.

Favourite options looks to be a copule of runs of external quality cat6. Either round the outside wall of the house or possibly in some flexible conduit through the gravel soakaway around the edge of the house for neatness. Would prefer to do it internally but think it'll turn into a mammoth job. Now to dig out my old RJ45 crimp tool and punchdown tool and work out which way to wire the Krone adapters for the wallplates....

One further question, should I go shielded or unshielded with the cables. It's been many years since I've done any network cabling but I seem to remember that shielded cabling didn't perform as well as unshielded (in a 10/100 environment anyway)?

Does anybody want about 260m of surplus external cat6 cable /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
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#8 chasdrury

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 07:38 PM

[ QUOTE ]


Does anybody want about 260m of surplus external cat6 cable /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

[/ QUOTE ]


Yes!!?!

#9 Calm Chris

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:09 AM

Shielding isn't really required in a domestic (or simple commercial) site, unless you live next to a power generating plant, a TV broadcasting station or EMC is an issue.

Colour codes for simple 568B are here

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#10 techieboy

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 09:38 AM

Reel in a box of CAT6 UTP duly ordered. Thanks Chris.
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#11 sufu

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:24 PM

[ QUOTE ]
I think what the boys are telling you here is that cabling is the way to go for HD streaming /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

The powerline stuff is better than g standard wireless in most cases (in my experience anyway) but isnt good enough at the moment to stream HD content.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm streaming HD content via powerline already, but its defintely not the best solution. If you can run cable, DO IT! If you can't then ethernet over powerline is the next best solution, the only reason I'm on it is that the house is up for sale, so we don't want any more cables/mess!
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#12 Gren

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 05:56 PM

Solwise have a powerline product specifically for AV uses - has a much higher throughput. Probably still not as good as Cat5 but may be good for the majority of users.
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