Upgrading ethernet network to gigabit?

We're getting new computers with gigabit capability and a new switch for the office.

Is replacement of all cabling and receptacles required in order to achieve gigabit speeds? I've been asked this question, and would like to have some idea of what's achievable.

What speeds can we likely achieve with A) no wiring upgrade, B) upgrading patch cables only (from computer to receptacle), C) upgrading patch cables and RJ-45 receptacles?

I realize that, with any accuracy, this is not an answerable question, but some likely ball park figures based on your experience would be appreciated.


Reply to
Usual Suspect
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It all depends on what you have now.

If you have decent Cat5 wiring you should be able to get gig on all runs under

90 meters or so. If Cat5e you should be set. If you have how brew phone and enet or two enet on one cable, well, get ready to spend some money.

What is there now?

Reply to

Most is cat-5, 8 wire. Some is cat-5 4 wire (shared cable). A few remote offices were run over cat-3. Will upgrade all existing non-5 to -5e and see how it goes.

All runs are less than 30 meters.

Is there a simple test to see what our speeds are? Or a handheld diagnostic tool? (I love tools/toys...)


Reply to
Usual Suspect

4 wire links will not run @ GigE - you need 4 pairs (with all pairs wired correctly). these will negotiate down to 100.

A few remote

Cat 5 should be plenty good enough in practice since you dont push the 90m limit, although this is when you find out if the installer was any good....

there are a bunch of hand held tester devices arounf - look for something that can certify to at least Cat5E and test against that.

if you have some new cabling going in anyway, the installer can probably check the existing wiring (although may be a conflict of interest there) - or show / explain which test gear they use.

i havent done this in anger for a long time so cannot suggest who's kit to look at.

or better yet - find out from whoever certified the cabling installation (you did get it checked on install?)

Reply to

Yes, will install 8-wire for all stations.

Was already installed in the building when we moved in.

That would be me... and I'm no expert, although I'm fully experienced at installs (terminations, punch-downs, etc.).

Came with the building.


Reply to
Usual Suspect


Good quality CAT5 (anything produced after 1996 by a good manufacturer, really) will easily pass CAT5E tests. I would hire someone for a day with Fluke or other certifying instrument to see if the existing wiring would perform under CAT5E requirements. Will be much cheaper than re-doing the whole thing.

Reply to


Even not so good quality CAT5 should likely pass at shorter lengths. Still, it is probably best to check them all and be sure.

-- glen

Reply to
glen herrmannsfeldt

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