Ethernet wall jacks question

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Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,450

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

@Harry112358 just so that you know what's going on with the cabling, pull the wallplate off of the wall and check the cable that connects to that port to see how many wire pairs are connected to the connector.  An ethernet connector for anything over 100 Mb/s requires all four wire pairs (8 wires) connected end to end.  If there are only two pairs of wires connected to the connector, that will allow you to run 100 Mb/s.  If there is only 1 wire pair connected to the connector, I'm not even sure what the device port controllers at both ends will do.  In theory both port controllers will negotiate a data rate based on the number of pairs available, just not sure what they would do with only one wire pair in operation.  

 

At the other end of that cable, if you can easily locate it, check to see how many wire pairs are connected.  This is the same situation as above.  

 

Fwiw, assuming that you're running something over 100 Mb/s for your internet plan, its worth the effort to change or install the keystones, properly connected to all four wire pairs.  Its really not a lot of trouble and you'll be much happier with the results.  Other customers have done this with good results when everything was completed.  



I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 4

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

I think you are right. Makes more sense to check before buying adaptors. So, the speed from the ethernet doesnt depend on the type  of the cable - such as CAT5/5e/6 etc but on the number of wires connected inside the port? sorry bit confused on this one.

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,450

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

The data rate that you can see over ethernet depends on both factors, the number of wire pairs in operation and the cable type itself, Cat 5e, Cat 6, 7,8.

 

In general, you can run any ethernet cable type with only 2 wire pairs (4 wires) connected end to end.  That will provide 100 Mb/s service up to 100 meters.  

 

If you configure the same cable to connect with all four wire pairs (8 wires) then you can run gigabit ethernet up to 100 meters.

 

Now, over time, cable technology has improved the performance of the cable, allowing cables to run higher data rates, reaching into the 10 Gb/s range and beyond.  So, these days, Cat 5e is the lowest tier cable that you will usually see installed.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to cost as the higher performance cabling, Cat 6, 7 and 8 will cost more, but, its a small cost when you consider that ethernet cabling, once in place will probably be used for a very long time.  

 

Just to mention this, the push these days is for wifi to replace cable systems, by using mesh networks with multiple pods or access points around a home, in theory negating the requirement for ethernet cabling.  Only problem with that theory is that wifi channels are a fixed resource, as in there is a limited number of channels that everyone can use.  So, everyone shares the bandwidth, and when everyone is home at night, gaming, streaming, etc, etc, all over wifi, the channel usage increases which slows down everyone's wifi systems.  

 

What wifi enthusiasts fail to mention is that in order to feed multi-gig wifi, you need multi-gig ethernet.  That's coming in the form of improvements to the DOCSIS cable modem standards which will allow cable modems to run multi-gig data rates.  Fibre modems as in Bell's Fibre to the Home (non-DOCSIS) already run 1.5 Gb/s downstream with a promise to run 5 Gb/s this year.  We'll see if Bell manages to make that happen.  Beyond any modem that might provide multi-gig data rates, DOCSIS or non-DOCSIS, you need a method to distribute multi-gig data rates.  Sounds a little comical, but simply put, you can't do that with todays 1 Gb/s ethernet ports on devices.  The exception is to run two output ports on modems and two input ports on a router.  Both of those have to be  configured for Link Aggregation Group (LAG), running data simultaneously thru two ports.  That is available in the U.S. but doesn't appear to be wide spread at this time.  To get around the 1 Gb/s limitation, the Ethernet Alliance has developed new standards to change the signalling and encoding used in ethernet systems.  That has led to the 802.11bz standard which will allow 2.5, and 5 Gb/s over Cat 5e cabling.  With cabling such as Cat 6a or higher, you should be able to run 10 Gb/s.  

 

https://ethernetalliance.org/

 

There are motherboards and unmanaged switches out on the market today which will support the 802.11bz standard.  They can be rather pricey these days, but, that will improve as more device manufacturers incorporate 801.11bz ports and port controllers into their equipment. 

 

So, short answer, the data rates depend on the number of wire pairs used, and the quality of the ethernet cables themselves, higher quality cables, higher data rates.  The incorporation of 802.11bz standard into ethernet equipment will vastly improve the ethernet data rates, just have to build that into the numerous devices that consumers use, including modems.