We are converting over our network slowly to gigabit ethernet, and I wanted to better understand how I can evaluate the quality of the existing copper wiring. We are in a building where the twisted pair wiring was done maybe15 years ago, and the quality is not very high. I doubt that the patch panels are rated for gigabit ethernet, nor is the twisted pair wiring in the building probably. On the other hand, our runs are extremely short, with maybe 5000 sq feet of office and lab space surrounding a computer room where the wiring terminates.
What distance can gigabit ethernet run reliably over non-qualified CAT5 cabling?
What is the cheapest tester that would give us some way to characterize the quality of patch cables as well as wiring at each wall jack in the building through to its patch panel in the computer room?