Are you tired of unreliable internet speeds and looking for a solution? You may have heard that using a longer Ethernet cable can reduce your internet speed, but is this really true? The answer may surprise you. While it's true that a longer Ethernet cable can lead to a drop in speed due to signal loss, this is often not a significant enough difference to affect your internet experience. In fact, with the right setup, you can use a long Ethernet cable without any noticeable reduction in speed.
In this article, we'll explore the science behind Ethernet cables and explain how you can optimize your setup to ensure the fastest possible speeds. You'll learn about the different types of Ethernet cables and how to choose the right one for your needs, as well as tips for minimizing signal loss and maximizing your internet speed.
Ethernet Cables Data comparison
The table below shows a data comparison of transmission rates based on the LAN type of Ethernet cables, cable length, and bandwidth Capacity.
Cable 100- Meter Transmission Rate 50- Meter Transmission Rate Bandwidth Capacity Cat5e 100 Mbps 1 Gbps 350 MHz Cat6 1 Gbps 10 Gbps 550 MHz Cat6a 10 Gbps 10 Gbps 750 MHz Cat8 25 Gbps 25 Gbps 2000 MHz Cat8a 40 Gbps 40 Gbps 2000 MHz
Although most people opt for CAT5E or CAT6 cables that can cover a distance of up to 328 feet, this length can still pose potential network speed problems, especially in larger homes. Despite this, many individuals overlook this possibility which impacts their speed later.
Do long ethernet cables delay?
Ethernet cables have a physical limit to the distance to transmit data before the signal degrades or is lost. This limit is around 100 meters or 328 feet for most categories of ethernet cables like Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a. If you happen to transmit data over a distance longer than 100 meters, it will start to experience latency which will be unnoticeable at its first stage and get poor as the length increases. So, the longer the ethernet cable increases and passes 100 meters, the more the delay into the network.
Factors affecting propagation speed
- Ethernet cables connected at an extremely low or extremely high temperature tend to slow down the speed of the cables. The average temperature at most cables operating well is between -40 and 75 C.
- Bending of the cable. Most cables have a maximum bend radius given by their manufacturer's guidelines. A too-sharp angle bend will likely affect the speed of the ethernet cables. Long cables used between buildings with no support will eventually be stretched and crush the cable over time. A shorter cable is more suitable to use than a longer cable unsupported.
- Design of the cable. Ethernet cables that are shielded can withstand electromagnetic interference and crosstalk. Shielded cables prevent resistance and disturbances to disrupt the signal flow and prevent the ethernet cables' speed from slowing down.
Fiber optic vs. Ethernet cable
Fibre optic and Ethernet cables are used to transmit data over networks, but their technology has some differences.
- Fibre provides data speed that is 100x faster than ethernet cables in ideal conditions. However, the need for such high speed depends on the environment and application. For example, streaming services like Netflix don't require high speed to work, while the environment that transmits big data volume, like; financial institutions or data centers, will require fiber optics.
- Fibre optics can cover a maximum distance in miles instead of a few hundred feet like ethernet. The fiber experience significantly less signal loss, known as attenuation, which enables it to transmit data over long distances.
- Fibre optic cables transmit signals using light and are immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI). In contrast, Ethernet cables use electric current that runs through them.
- Fibre optic cables eliminate the risk of fire hazards due to a lack of electric current. In contrast, if the cable is damaged, ethernet cables pose an excellent danger for fire hazards.
- Ethernet cables are cheaper and mainly used compared to expensive fiber optics. Most users use electronic devices such as computers which are designed to be used for ethernet connection.
How can I extend my Ethernet cable without losing speed?
There are a few ways to extend your Ethernet cable without losing speed:
1. Network switch.
A network switch can be used to extend the length of your Ethernet cable while maintaining its speed. You can connect the original Ethernet cable to the switch and then connect a new cable to the switch, extending the cable length.
2. Inline Couplers.
Inline couplers are a convenient way to extend your Ethernet cable. To do this, you must wire both ends of both cables with RJ45 male connectors and then use inline Ethernet couplers with female-to-female RJ45 connectors. However, this method must be at most the 100 meters limit of standard ethernet cables since it will decrease network performance.
3. Coaxial cable extenders
These cables can extend your internet connection using legacy coax cabling, extending the connection to 1000 meters or half a mile. Because of their capability, coaxial extenders have found their use in several instances.
4. UTP Ethernet Extenders.
Ethernet networks can be extended using UTP extenders, network devices that use UTP cables. These extenders can increase the range of your network by up to 2.5 kilometers or 1.5 miles, depending on the cabling and device used. The extenders usually convert ethernet signals to DSL and then convert them back to ethernet on the other end of the cable.
5. Wireless Ethernet Extension
If you don't want longer cables, you can extend your network by setting up two wireless access points (WAPs) using Wi-Fi repeaters to create a wireless bridge. One of the repeaters should be set up as an SDS AP or source, and the other as an SDS Client or destination. From there, you can use splitters to branch out Cat5e cables.
How to test my network delay?
To test your network delay, you can use this site Speed.cloudflare.com, and you can follow the following steps below to know your network delay:
Step 1: Go to speed.cloudflare.com on your web browser.
Step 2: Wait for the test to start automatically.
Step 3: After a few seconds, you will see a summary of your results, including your ping time or network delay.
As you can see from the table, it shows different types of ethernet cables with their data comparison. The length of Ethernet cables can affect their speed and performance, with a physical limit of around 100 meters before latency and signal loss occur.
This information can help any user choose the best cable depending on their use. Other helpful information you need to know is the factors that affect the propagation speed of ethernet cables and ways to extend ethernet cables without losing their speed.