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Author Topic: Cat5 vs Cat6 - Shielded vs Unshielded  (Read 657 times)

Offline zman

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Cat5 vs Cat6 - Shielded vs Unshielded
« on: April 11, 2013, 04:17:01 PM »
Hopefully this is the right spot for this. If not, mods, feel free to move it.
I am on a quest for input and have been parusing the forums for more info on this subject, but nothing jumps out at me.
Forget cost. That is not a factor (at least for this discussion)
Cat6 is the wave of the future for data transfer. Agreed. Today's controllers do they take advatage of this?
Today, for what we do, is there a benefit in using shielded Cat6 over Cat5/6 or shielded Cat5? We lay a lot of cable in our yards and they have to intersect with power cords and such. I assume shielded will help with EMI interference, or does it, when you are crossing a 120V extension cord, or potentially running parallel to it for a distance. I know, we all attempt to create nice routing etc... but stuff happens.
For power injection, Cat6 will have a slightly higher amerage rating, is this an advantage?
I guess I am looking for some general input, pros vs cons, etc... TAOT
 
Zman
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Offline Fasteddy

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Re: Cat5 vs Cat6 - Shielded vs Unshielded
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 06:30:54 PM »
What you find is that regardless of using CAT5 or CAT6 the issue lies with the amount of data being sent over the network and data flooding the controllers epecially using multicast.
 
If you are going to be at the level of network utilization where you need a 1000mbit  network then you are better off adding an additional network card and seperating the networks.
 
With 50 universe you will be lucky to see 25% network ultilization on a 100mbit network
 
Sheilded can help if you have a lot of AC mains lighting which can cause AC interference but in most cases this is not required.
 
But im fairly sure the interface on the E1.31 controllers is only 100mbit anyway because this is cheaper and anything more is not really required. I may be wrong. :D
 
Now for power im not a believer in using solid core for any power as our applications are not permanent installations and what can happen is with moving around over a couple of years you can then start breaking cores, if you have doubled up on a core then this can then overload the other core and then possibly lead to a fire as the cable becomes very hot with the added load.
 
The cost of stranded Cat cable is very expensive when you compare it to using other alternatives that can cary more current per core like alarm or speaker cable
 
 

Offline anon

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Re: Cat5 vs Cat6 - Shielded vs Unshielded
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 06:39:21 PM »
Hopefully this is the right spot for this. If not, mods, feel free to move it.
I am on a quest for input and have been parusing the forums for more info on this subject, but nothing jumps out at me.
Forget cost. That is not a factor (at least for this discussion)
Cat6 is the wave of the future for data transfer. Agreed.


Agreed!


[quote ]
 Today's controllers do they take advatage of this?

[/quote]


Yes and no,  CAT6 might provide better data transmission from it's inherent properties, but are probably not going to be seen in our installations at the speeds they run.


[quote ]Today, for what we do, is there a benefit in using shielded Cat6 over Cat5/6 or shielded Cat5? We lay a lot of cable in our yards and they have to intersect with power cords and such. I assume shielded will help with EMI interference, or does it, when you are crossing a 120V extension cord, or potentially running parallel to it for a distance. I know, we all attempt to create nice routing etc... but stuff happens.
[/quote]


Crossing a power cable does little for interference, parallel is the killer.  The key to the UTP principal is the twisted ensure any RF for one pair affects the other giving a net gain of zero.  CAT6 will be better, but at the lengths and speeds I doubt you'd need to go shielded.
 
[quote ]
For power injection, Cat6 will have a slightly higher amerage rating, is this an advantage?
I guess I am looking for some general input, pros vs cons, etc... TAOT
 [/quote]

This is the only real advantage I see, CAT6 is 23AWG compared to 24AWG CAT 5 (typically, cheaper cables may be 24 and 26 respectively).  This will allow for lower resistance thus more current for a given voltage drop.


Cat 6 (real CAT6) also contains a spline separating the pairs, and makes it difficult to bend and work with.  This is fine for permanent installations, but no so great for our installs that are put and pulled down for a few weeks.



In summary my view is CAT6 will provide minimal gains which will not be noticed while making installation a PITA.

Offline JPB

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Re: Cat5 vs Cat6 - Shielded vs Unshielded
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 09:51:32 PM »
For the speeds that we use unshielded Cat5 is fine between your show computer and controllers.
As anon said, cross the power cables at right angles and avoid running your data cables parallel to your power cables.
And as Fasteddy recommends, don't use cat5 from your controllers to your lights, use something like alarm cable which will give you a thicker wire for less voltage drop and higher current carrying capability ( which are two sides of the same coin).


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Offline zman

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Re: Cat5 vs Cat6 - Shielded vs Unshielded
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 01:13:35 PM »
I was not intending to use solid core rather stranded.
 
So suggestion states that shielding would not provide much EMI benefit for our application.
 
Thanks for the input!
 
 
 
Zman
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Mark Zembruski
www.woodinvillewonderland.com
I have CLAP - Christmas Light Addiction Problem - Do You?
~ Christmas is not a time ~ Rather a state of mind ~