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Standard User fiddler
(member) Sat 15-Jul-17 23:01:18
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Cat6a Overkill?


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Advice on planned home network changes appreciated.

Shortly after moving into our home, I had Cat5e installed to run the length of the house. At the time, it was to share internet throughout the house so the set up was:

router---Cat5e---Netgear GS108 (supplying TV, Sky HD Box, XBox One) ---Cat 5e---Netgear GS116 (supplying PC, Mac, network printer, Time Capsule for wifi)---Cat 5e---Netgear GS108 (supplying another Time capsule for wifi at the other end of the house)

All worked very well, coping with the addition of two added NAS and another Time Capsule in the same room as the PC, until we built an extension that allowed me to have a "man room" tinker with my PC, store parts and keep the two NAS and a Time Capsule (providing the wifi at the end of the house) all linked to the network by a Netgear GS116.

With me so far?

I want to replace the Cat5e with Cat6a as the Cat5e's 1Gbps is now the speed limiting component. But, it's just as easy to replace the single Cat5e "spine" with multiple lengths of Cat6a as it is just one length of Cat6a.

So, until such time that 10Gbs switches and components become more affordable, the existing Gigabit 8 and 16 port switches stay, each interconnected with 4 lengths of Cat6a:

Router---Cat6a---GS108---4xCat6a---GS116---4xCat6a---GS116

I'm not expecting much of a speed increase currently as the rate limiter will be the Gigabit components but will reduce congestion. As they get replaced with 10Gbps I'm hoping that the switches will support ethernet bonding. If not, I still have more than enough redundancy.

Sensible planning, overkill or just adding complication?

Regards,

Rob
Standard User ian007jen
(experienced) Sun 16-Jul-17 08:43:37
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: fiddler] [link to this post]
 
4 lengths of Cat6a

Does that work with a non-managed switch?....no....https://serverfault.com/questions/159432/do-multiple...

Personally I am waiting a few years before upgrading to fibre networking between my switches.


Ian
Standard User prlzx
(experienced) Sun 16-Jul-17 12:27:29
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: fiddler] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by fiddler:
So, until such time that 10Gbs switches and components become more affordable, the existing Gigabit 8 and 16 port switches stay, each interconnected with 4 lengths of Cat6a


Cat5e cable already supports 10GBASE-T up to about 50m, so in a residential setting is unlikely to be a limiting factor.

Meanwhile connecting unmanaged switches with 2 or more ethernet links does not increase the bandwidth available, worse it creates loops which would prevent the network from functioning.

If you are lucky and the switches have built-in spanning tree they will disable 3 of the links and you will have a kind of redundancy instead.

If you do want to utilise 2 or more links, you need switches supporting LACP, a protocol to negotiate Link Aggregation of the multiple links (aka port channels). As has been said this needs managed switches (some "smart" switches may have this too).

Switches with all interfaces 10G are significantly more expensive but if you aren't tied to one brand, you can find switches with 1 or 2 10G interfaces and the rest 1G, which would give you a faster backbone (and without replacing any cabling.

Nevertheless, when time comes for rewiring it doesn't hurt to add more cables to the runs, and you might find unexpected uses for the spare cables such as hdmi over CatX, or just powering access points from a single PoE switch (after all most houses don't need more that 8 APs !)



prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G
prlzx on iDNET: ADSL2+ / 21CN at ~4Mbps / 700kbps with IP4/6


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Standard User fiddler
(member) Mon 17-Jul-17 10:52:30
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: prlzx] [link to this post]
 
Thanks.

The problem is that I have no way of knowing if the existing Cat5e is the limiting factor or not as the switches, NAS and mobo ports are only Gigabyte rated.

As it is, transfer of files from my QNAP NAS with 4 WD RED at one end of the Cat5e to a 20GB ramdrive on my PC tops out at 105MB/s give or take 2MB fluctuations either side. I Guess the is the best real world rate I could achieve with Gb rated equipment allowing for overheads etc.

Regards,

Rob
Standard User prlzx
(experienced) Mon 17-Jul-17 23:35:30
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: fiddler] [link to this post]
 
No worries, I meant that the Cat5e won't be a limiting factor in upgrading to 10G in the future unless you have cable runs >50m long, meaning no pressure to replace wiring as a pre-requisite to anything.

While naturally if already settled on rewiring for other reasons then by all means add capacity while you can smile

P



prlzx on iDNET: VDSL / 21CN at ~40Mbps / 10Mbps
with IP4/6 (no v6? - not true Internet)
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Tue 18-Jul-17 10:24:58
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: fiddler] [link to this post]
 
IEEE have been working on 2.5Gb and 5Gb ethernet standards, with the target speeds deliberately aimed at the installed base of cat 5e and cat 6 cables - ie keeping the 100m distance limit. The driver is that WifI APs can now deliver more than 1Gb, so need cable standards to cope.

A 2015 presentation on upcoming Ethernet standards is here. I set it to start at the 2.5G/5G portion:
https://youtu.be/0UFi5wOnBds?t=127

It seems the product market is still building up:
http://www.cablinginstall.com/articles/2017/07/dello...
Standard User prlzx
(experienced) Tue 18-Jul-17 22:11:33
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
Yes something I want to take advantage of, as usual some vendors are trying to brand it as if a USP of their product line.
I'd forgotten about it and expect to see it on NAS boxes populated with SSDs particularly NVMe.

The market probably doesn't want a distinct interface with these "in-between" rates but rather an interface that can connect and autonegotiate up through 100M > 1G > 2.5G > 5G > 10G.

However if that proves difficult due to integrating PoE, these type of ports may top out at 5G.

I already use some older switches that have stacking ports that operate at 1G or 5G (but with 5G currently requiring a 10G module) but I think that was only meant to create a price point below true 10G interfaces.



prlzx on iDNET: VDSL / 21CN at ~40Mbps / 10Mbps
with IP4/6 (no v6? - not true Internet)

Edited by prlzx (Tue 18-Jul-17 22:15:07)

Standard User jabuzzard
(learned) Wed 19-Jul-17 12:31:33
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: prlzx] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by prlzx:
Cat5e cable already supports 10GBASE-T up to about 50m, so in a residential setting is unlikely to be a limiting factor.


Er that's a load of rubbish I am afraid. 10GBase-T will run to about 55m on Cat6, but is not specified to run on ANY length of Cat5e, though I imagine you might get away with a 5m patch lead. You need Cat6a for the full 100m.

If you go to NBase-T you get speeds of either of 2.5Gbps and 5.0Gbps with various length options for Cat5e and Cat6. However NBase-T switches are currently more expensive that 10Gb ones and rarer than hen's teeth.

As such in a domestic installation with small cable bundles so lower crosstalk and runs well under 55m it is unlikely that you need more than Cat6 for 10Gbps. That is quite a cost saving over Cat6a for the cable. That said my house is done in Cat6a but that is because the cable was free (lots of ends of boxes left by contractors in the patch rooms at work), but I have just done my sisters house in Cat6 because it's a £100 saving on a box of Cat6 LSOH over Cat6a.

In reply to a post by prlzx:
Meanwhile connecting unmanaged switches with 2 or more ethernet links does not increase the bandwidth available, worse it creates loops which would prevent the network from functioning.

If you are lucky and the switches have built-in spanning tree they will disable 3 of the links and you will have a kind of redundancy instead.


That's the new way of doing it. Plug it all together like mad, and let shortest path bridging (an extension of STP, actually more of a replacement) take care of everything. Think if it like rapid spanning tree but all the links are active. It's how you build software defined networks.

In reply to a post by prlzx:
If you do want to utilise 2 or more links, you need switches supporting LACP, a protocol to negotiate Link Aggregation of the multiple links (aka port channels). As has been said this needs managed switches (some "smart" switches may have this too).


LACP/802.3ad only allows one link to be used between any two end points. So plug two computers each with 2 1GbE links into a switch setup the 802.3ad bonds for each, and then do a file transfer; max speed you will get is 1Gbps.

The original post has a GS108 and GS116 in the diagram. I would take these to be Netgear GS108 and GS116, both of which are layer 2 "smart" switches doing STP and 802.3ad, the latter only with static mind you. I doubt they do SPB though.
Standard User prlzx
(experienced) Wed 19-Jul-17 18:03:41
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: jabuzzard] [link to this post]
 
re: 10G on Cat 6a vs 6 vs not on Cat5e, yes my whoops, totally misread, and a while ago too, so probably made an idiot of myself several times over by now.

re: SPB, yes looks interesting and I would have applications for it, though the vendors seem to promote proprietary flavours of this sort of thing, don't know if SPB has reached the sub £1000 level of switches yet.

re: LACP, yes 1G for any given pair of devices,
I'm used to networks with enough devices that the hashing algorithm (MAC or MAC+IP) has a chance to divide the flows up and I'd say that is still worth doing if there are interfaces to spare. I suspect switches which can hash on port too, which suits servers pr appliances hosting multiple services, is out of the OPs budget.

re: GS108 and GS116 - if Netgear I used to use them years ago until had problems with the web interface becoming inaccessible after sustained operation, as well as something odd about VLAN handling. Indeed no SPB last time I looked.

Thanks for the clarifications smile



prlzx on iDNET: VDSL / 21CN at ~40Mbps / 10Mbps
with IP4/6 (no v6? - not true Internet)

Edited by prlzx (Wed 19-Jul-17 18:39:33)

Standard User fiddler
(member) Thu 20-Jul-17 17:22:24
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Re: Cat6a Overkill?


[re: prlzx] [link to this post]
 
Thanks all.

Well, yesterdays lightning and thunderstorms has really banjaxed my network. The episodes of power going on and off quickly before finally going off for a few minutes looks to have fried my ReadyNAS 104 and my netgear switches have lost 1Gb on a few of their ports, one of which only purchased the week prior frown

So, I'm now in the market for some new switches and might as well get a couple of 5-port 10GB switches for either end of the backbone to which I'll connect whatever can utilise then then use one port either end to connect to whatever GB ports on the current switches I have remaining.

Also some UPS to prevent any of that malarkey happening again.

Regards,

Rob
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