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Even with wireless technology around, homeowners will benefit more by hardwiring the home network with bulk cat5e Ethernet cable. When family members utilize Internet connectivity in downloading films, video, and music files, sharing these with others at home is easier when a home network is in place. In addition to the efficient sharing of files, wired networks enable family members to share the use of devises like printers, scanners, and home entertainment devices without having to move these devices around.
Home and local area networks (LANs) begin with choosing the Ethernet cable for wiring. Though having the wireless modem for sharing Internet connectivity is a convenience, you will see a marked improvement in the Internet speed when the system is hardwired. You get better Internet connectivity, can freely share files with other members of the family, and use common devices like printers through the local network if wired network is established.
There are different types of Ethernet cable to choose from when you decide to put up your home network. The older cat5 Ethernet cable is still used in many homes but for better quality of network performance, the more advanced cat5e cable is a wise choice. There are more advanced cables available and in fact, some people recommend future proofing home networks by using cat6 cables for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). However, cat5e cables are more economical and provide the necessary performance to meet the requirements of most applications used in many homes today and in the near future.
Category 5 (cat5) and category 5 enhanced (cat5e) cables look physically the same, both outside and inside the cable. To identify one from the other, you have to look for the identification printed along the sides of the cable sheath. Both consist of four pairs of color coded twisted wires, with one wire for every pair carrying a solid color, while the other wire is white banded or striped with the solid color.
Cat5e and cat5 cables use the same RJ45 connectors at both ends but these standards differ in transmission speed and capabilities. Cat5e cables have a greater number of twists, which reduces the tendency for the signal from one wire to interfere with the wire close to it. Crosstalk was significantly reduced in cat5e and as a result, it can handle a much greater workload than cat5.
Cat5e cabling support 1000 Mbps or gigabit data transfer speed, which is a ten-fold improvement from the 100 Mbps capability of cat5. With its faster speed and reduced interference, a home network cabled with cat5e supports the requirements of family members in downloading and sharing music and video files, and in sharing the use of networked devices like printers, scanners, and gaming devices.
A quick look at the components of home networks
The key components in wired home networks are the cables that connect network devices. Thus, you will need various lengths of cat5e bulk cables to wire your network and establish the following connections:
The DSL (digital subscriber line) router or modem connects the computer to the telephone line that provides connectivity to the Internet. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) usually installs the DSL modem when you subscribe to Internet services. The router is the device that allows multiple computers to connect to the network through Ethernet ports for wired connection, or wireless connectivity through a movable antenna on its side. In many instances, the modem and router are combined into a single device. The typical modem/ router device usually has a WAN (Wide Area Network) port for the Internet connection, and four LAN (local area network) ports.
Cabling your home network can take up only a few hours when you have a central hub for connecting the PCs and other network devices. The hub is simply a common connection point for all devices in the network. It transmits data packets from one device (from a PC, for example) to all other devices in the network. In comparison, the switch transmits the data packet only to the device to which you want to send it.
You can contract the services of professionals to put up the network, or do it yourself if you have the technical knowhow and the time to prepare the necessary lengths of cat5e cables for straight through and crossover connections.
Standard and Crossover Cables
Buying bulk cat5e cables for wiring the home network is much more economical than purchasing prepared or ready to use cables. For about $80 or less, you can buy a pack of 1000ft cat5e cables, and this may be sufficient to cable your home network if you only have a few devices for networking. If you need more cable lengths, you can purchase one or two additional packs and keep the remaining unused cables for future cabling requirements, for example when adding computers to the network. You will also need to purchase RJ45 connectors for terminating the cable ends.
The standard or straight through cable is used for connecting computers to the hub or switch, and to connect a printer or other device to the computer through the hub. The crossover cable is used for connecting hardware directly to the computer, or connecting two computers directly. These cables both terminate with RJ45 connectors at both ends, but employ different wiring conventions. Whereas standard cables require the same standard color-coding of wires (T568A or T568B) at both ends, the crossover cable will have T568A at one end and T568B at the other end.
Professional installers have the necessary tools for preparing these cables and can measure the exact lengths that you need. Thus, the installation will be clean with no excess cables lying around. You must keep the unused cables and RJ45 connectors because you will certainly need these for any future additions to the home network.
Creating a home network can be done in a few simple steps, beginning with the purchase of bulk cat5e cables and the RJ45 connectors. You can opt to do the work yourself and save on installation cost, or contract a professional installer to do the job for you