Aghaster

Testing Cat6 Cables

18 posts in this topic

I just bought 500 feet of Cat6 cable at the very good price (I got lucky, the price on the sticker was way under the real price), along with the tools needed to get started. I didn't buy a cable tester though, as I've heard they're quite expensive. I was wondering if it would be possible to use a computer with two gigabit ethernet cards in order to test the performance of the cables I'm about to make. Has anybody done that? Or do I really need to get a real cable tester?

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well its just copper wire so you could use a computer to test it or you could make your own tester if 2 ethernet jacks some switches a 9 volt and a led atleast to test the connectivity of the copper. actually can just have a led for each wire and use the cable to send the hot then you dont even need a switch, and then you can see which wires are broken/not connected

Edited by dinscurge
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well its just copper wire so you could use a computer to test it or you could make your own tester if 2 ethernet jacks some switches a 9 volt and a led atleast to test the connectivity of the copper. actually can just have a led for each wire and use the cable to send the hot then you dont even need a switch, and then you can see which wires are broken/not connected

I'm looking for more than just verify that I didn't swap two pins, I want to verify that it's able to do gigabit with a good performance (wiring it badly could result in performance issues such as a lot of corrupted packets).

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I'm looking for more than just verify that I didn't swap two pins, I want to verify that it's able to do gigabit with a good performance (wiring it badly could result in performance issues such as a lot of corrupted packets).

true but once you verify the pins are correct and that they all have low/similar resistance then you know its fine to hook it up to computer/router or w.e. and test it.

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not too sure if you would just be able to connect a GB NIC and router and do tests...

i know you would not be able to certify the cable with out the proper testing equiptment...

the certifier that i use when pulling cable with my uncle cost about the price of a used car http://www.ustestmart.com/index.php/communications-test/lan-test-certifiy-cat5-cat5e-cat6-fiber/cat5e-cat6-cable-tester-certifier.htm (not sure where he bought it, but this is a link to that tester from some vendor pulled off a yahoo search)

trust me... it is VERY easy to fail a CAT6 test if you are not careful pulling the cable... any nicks, assholes, or kinks in the wire can easily fail the CAT6 test.. but should still pass for CAT5....

check if you can rent a certifier machine from your supplier, if they have them available to rent... or consider bringing in a sub-contractor to just certify the drops that you installed if they need to be certified...

you should bill at least 2 or 3 times what it cost to run a CAT5 drop for the installation (especially if it fails, you will need to re-run the drop), and an additional fee if they require the cables to be certified...

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not too sure if you would just be able to connect a GB NIC and router and do tests...

i know you would not be able to certify the cable with out the proper testing equiptment...

the certifier that i use when pulling cable with my uncle cost about the price of a used car http://www.ustestmart.com/index.php/communications-test/lan-test-certifiy-cat5-cat5e-cat6-fiber/cat5e-cat6-cable-tester-certifier.htm (not sure where he bought it, but this is a link to that tester from some vendor pulled off a yahoo search)

trust me... it is VERY easy to fail a CAT6 test if you are not careful pulling the cable... any nicks, assholes, or kinks in the wire can easily fail the CAT6 test.. but should still pass for CAT5....

check if you can rent a certifier machine from your supplier, if they have them available to rent... or consider bringing in a sub-contractor to just certify the drops that you installed if they need to be certified...

you should bill at least 2 or 3 times what it cost to run a CAT5 drop for the installation (especially if it fails, you will need to re-run the drop), and an additional fee if they require the cables to be certified...

I'm wondering if I would be likely to find that equipment in a university lab. Otherwise I'll ask some people working in the IT field if they know about cheap equipment that can do it. Otherwise... I'll have to borrow it from someone. I've also heard it was very easy to fail a CAT6 cable. I'll make sure to read all those tips people have been giving online. From what I've read, a couple of people have had problem because they were trying to use cat5 or cat5e rj45 plugs, which are supposed to be slightly different from the cat6 ones. The ones I bought say they are good for cat5, cat5e and cat6. The crimping tool I have says cat5, but I think (and hope, correct me if I'm wrong) that it's fine for cat6. I'm not in a hurry for this personal project of mine to upgrade my local network to gigabit, so I can take my time to avoid failing most of my cables.

P.S.: If you're interested, here's the gigabit switch I bought. I've been using trendnet switches for a while and they've always worked very well. Definitely recommending it. It's got a good rating, and the price is good :P

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The crimping tool I have says cat5, but I think (and hope, correct me if I'm wrong) that it's fine for cat6.

the crimper should be fine... but why would you want the hassle of making your own patch cords... why not just buy CAT6 patch cords?

run the wires, and install CAT6 keystone jacks with a 110 punch down tool... just purchace ready made patch cords...

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The crimping tool I have says cat5, but I think (and hope, correct me if I'm wrong) that it's fine for cat6.

the crimper should be fine... but why would you want the hassle of making your own patch cords... why not just buy CAT6 patch cords?

run the wires, and install CAT6 keystone jacks with a 110 punch down tool... just purchace ready made patch cords...

The main reason for buying bulk CAT6 cable and making my own cables is because the ready made cables are way too expensive at unit price. The second reason is because I want to learn how to do it, even if it's a PITA compared to ready made cables. I don't know that much about how it's all done, so I need to spend some time reading articles online about it. I found some of those CAT6 keystone jacks online, they're different from the rj45 jacks I bought. What's the difference between keystone jacks and ordinary rj45 jacks?

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I just bought 500 feet of Cat6 cable at the very good price (I got lucky, the price on the sticker was way under the real price), along with the tools needed to get started. I didn't buy a cable tester though, as I've heard they're quite expensive. I was wondering if it would be possible to use a computer with two gigabit ethernet cards in order to test the performance of the cables I'm about to make. Has anybody done that? Or do I really need to get a real cable tester?

If you want just a connectivity test then you can get a fox and hound tester that will run around $30 or $40. If you need the speed test then you will definately pay much more, but there are also software packages like this one : http://www.passmark.com/products/pt_advnet.htm that you install throughout the network to check the speed, that is if you dont need to show a receipt printout to someone before the job is done. I used to use a similar piece of software to find latency between switches, the name evades me right now but i think i have a copy of it on one of my backup drives. Or just do a search for network cable speedtest software. You can connect all the cables to a gigabit switch from different boxes and check the result from each box to get pretty accurate results. If i find the software i used to use i will post it for you.

Also are you making a patch panel that goes to wall jacks or just patch cables to connect to switches and computers. I have quite a good deal of experience with cable making and testing. I was wondering why you bought the cat6 instead of cat5e, they both do gigabit and the 5e is cheaper and usually fits the jacks and termination ends better. The diff is that you need two pairs for 10/100 and three pairs for gigabit. They use the same crimp tool, i like the ratcheting ones myself and just bought a new one tonight as a matter of fact. Just remember to use the same pattern on both jacks, a or b dont switch them. Also instead of using the straight through method, (ie. orange/white, orange, green/white, green, bluew/white, blue, brown/white, brown) use the patch cable pattern (also called standard by most) (orange/white, orange, green/white, blue, blue/white, green, brown/white, brown) I ,for some unknown reason to me, have seen better results in speed and connectivity testing from the latter of the patterns. I can only assume it has something to do with the twisting, the more twists the better.

Edited by tweeks
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Fluke Meters are great.

If you want to test it yourself, just do a throughput test between two gigabit ethernet network cards with a known good cable and then the same test under the same conditions but with your new cables.. easiest and cheapest real world viability of your cables. You could even label each of them with a xx packets/sec and xx megabits/sec, a pseudo quality rating. It's not hard to look for cross talk or other signs of bad wiring in jumbo/runt frames and crc errors incrementing across the wire, or higher attenuation and latency.

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Fluke Meters are great.

If you want to test it yourself, just do a throughput test between two gigabit ethernet network cards with a known good cable and then the same test under the same conditions but with your new cables.. easiest and cheapest real world viability of your cables. You could even label each of them with a xx packets/sec and xx megabits/sec, a pseudo quality rating. It's not hard to look for cross talk or other signs of bad wiring in jumbo/runt frames and crc errors incrementing across the wire, or higher attenuation and latency.

Good idea, I think I'll go to the store and buy a short cheap premade cable in this case to use as a comparison point. There's a program called iperf which seems to be a good tool to test throughput and link quality.

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Fluke Meters are great.

If you want to test it yourself, just do a throughput test between two gigabit ethernet network cards with a known good cable and then the same test under the same conditions but with your new cables.. easiest and cheapest real world viability of your cables. You could even label each of them with a xx packets/sec and xx megabits/sec, a pseudo quality rating. It's not hard to look for cross talk or other signs of bad wiring in jumbo/runt frames and crc errors incrementing across the wire, or higher attenuation and latency.

Good idea, I think I'll go to the store and buy a short cheap premade cable in this case to use as a comparison point. There's a program called iperf which seems to be a good tool to test throughput and link quality.

Isn't cat5 capable of gigabit speeds? I'd venture to say that your cat6 should perform flawlessly, but I'm pretty much a n00b when it comes to cabling.

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Fluke Meters are great.

If you want to test it yourself, just do a throughput test between two gigabit ethernet network cards with a known good cable and then the same test under the same conditions but with your new cables.. easiest and cheapest real world viability of your cables. You could even label each of them with a xx packets/sec and xx megabits/sec, a pseudo quality rating. It's not hard to look for cross talk or other signs of bad wiring in jumbo/runt frames and crc errors incrementing across the wire, or higher attenuation and latency.

Good idea, I think I'll go to the store and buy a short cheap premade cable in this case to use as a comparison point. There's a program called iperf which seems to be a good tool to test throughput and link quality.

Isn't cat5 capable of gigabit speeds? I'd venture to say that your cat6 should perform flawlessly, but I'm pretty much a n00b when it comes to cabling.

cat5 doesn't, but cat5e does. I've heard cat6 was better shielded, and maybe also more twisted, and can be used for longer distances than cat5e.

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cat5 doesn't, but cat5e does. I've heard cat6 was better shielded, and maybe also more twisted, and can be used for longer distances than cat5e.

i really can not remember the last time that i bought a box of CAT 5 wire that was not CAT 5e.... does anyone actually stock CAT5? is CAT5 even still made?

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Fluke Meters are great.

If you want to test it yourself, just do a throughput test between two gigabit ethernet network cards with a known good cable and then the same test under the same conditions but with your new cables.. easiest and cheapest real world viability of your cables. You could even label each of them with a xx packets/sec and xx megabits/sec, a pseudo quality rating. It's not hard to look for cross talk or other signs of bad wiring in jumbo/runt frames and crc errors incrementing across the wire, or higher attenuation and latency.

Good idea, I think I'll go to the store and buy a short cheap premade cable in this case to use as a comparison point. There's a program called iperf which seems to be a good tool to test throughput and link quality.

Isn't cat5 capable of gigabit speeds? I'd venture to say that your cat6 should perform flawlessly, but I'm pretty much a n00b when it comes to cabling.

cat5 doesn't, but cat5e does. I've heard cat6 was better shielded, and maybe also more twisted, and can be used for longer distances than cat5e.

Gotcha. I've heard something before about the amount of twists affecting range. Anywho, I remember reading this artice on Tom's Hardware a little while ago...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gigabit-ethernet-bandwidth,2321-2.html

I'm not sure what your setup is, but I'd be curious to hear what kind of results you get.

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I finally tried making some cables yesterday, and to my surprise it worked very well. The first cable I made would show as 1000mbps in the ubuntu connection manager of my laptop. I connected my desktop computer to my gigabit switch with a premade cat5e cable, and I connected my laptop with my cat6 cable to my gigabit switch, and used iperf to make a quick speedtest. It gave 935mbps, which is really good. iperf just measures the quality of the link by transferring as much data as possible over a certain period of time, but that value is subject to change because of external factors such as the computers used, the switch, etc. Still, this is a very good indicator of the quality of the cable, so I'm very happy :)

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Congratulations :smile:

If i ever find myself with reels of cat6 cable I know who to come to for advice :tongue:

Edited by phr34kc0der
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The "real" testers for this are known as TDR's or "time Domain Reflectory" measurement devices. They will not only tell you if the cable will support a certain bandwidth, but also if there is a fault on the cable where exactly it is located on the run. Not so much use for you and me with our single runs, but for cable guy tracing a fault back through a spaghetti mess, invaluable...

They come up on ebay from time to time for sometimes quite reasonable money and a quick search for TDR will show up plenty. When new theyre lots of thousands to buy, but we're not going to be relying on them to make a living so can buy older/needs a bit of soldering iron love first kit...

Having said that, your test of stuffing as much throughput through the cable as possible seems quite reasonable provided your switch etc is capable of enough sustained througput to test for. And Im halfway through running in 2000ft of cat6 ftp into my house without a tdr of my own, just one of those stupid $10 pair testers...

thread bump because I dont think anyone mentioned the magic keyword tdr and I dont get chance to browse here often nowadays...

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