Does long ethernet cable reduce speed? No, it does not. But there is a 100 meters or 328 ft. limit. The 100 meters limit can be different for different types of ethernet cable. But a longer ethernet cable can bring a significantly low increase in latency.
So, is that all on does long ethernet cable reduce speed? Well, no. Either it’s an ethernet cable or any other network accessory, network equipment is always complex. That’s where we come in handy to help you understand all these complex factors.
In this article, we will talk about all the how and whys of does long ethernet cables reduce speed. We will also provide information about the types of ethernet cables, their speed, which one you should use, and many more related FAQs.
So, hang in here.
- How long should an Ethernet cable be without losing speed?
- Does Long Ethernet Cable Increase Latency?
- Which Long Ethernet Cable Should You Use?
How long should an Ethernet cable be without losing speed?
The answer to this question depends on which type of ethernet cable are you using. Because almost every ethernet cable has different speeds, limits, and frequency.
So, first, let’s find out about these cables. Currently, there are 7 types of ethernet cables in use.
- Cat5: Cat5 or category 5 cables are the oldest type of ethernet cable in this list. Cat5 cables were widely used all over the world.
- Cat5e: Cat5e is an improved version of cat5 with better speed.
- Cat6: Cat6 cables are better than cat5e in terms of reliability and frequency.
- Cat6a: Cat6a is an improved version of cat6 with a larger length limit.
- Cat7: Significantly improved frequency and reliability than cat6.
- Cat7a: More frequency and reliability than Cat7.
- Cat8: Supports PoE, meaning cat8 can deliver power and data at the same time.
Now, let’s have a look at this comparison chart to know how long or which type of ethernet cable can be without losing speed.
|Speed||100 mbps||1000 mbps||10 Gbps||10Gbps||10 Gbps||10 Gbps||25 Gbps|
|Frequency||100 MHz||100 MHz||250 MHz||500 MHz||600 MHz||1000 MHz||2000 MHz|
|Length limit||100 meters||100 meters||55 meters||100 meters||100 meters||100 meters||30 meters|
I think now you have found the answer. But wait, why is there this limit?
Well, we all know data signals are sent like light signals as light travels the fastest. Yet there is a problem with data signals. So the reason behind this 100-meter speed limit is
- Longer ethernet cable means higher frequency and higher frequency means more signal noise. So, to control noise there is this 100 meter limit.
- Data signals can get interrupted by electric signals or any external damage. As a result, these signals lose data.
- If the signals travel more distance there can be more interruptions.So, reliability reduces.
As a result, for every category of ethernet cable, there is a length limit. If the length limit exceeds there can be reliability issues and speed can reduce significantly.
For example, a longer than 100-meter cat5 cable can reduce the speed from 100 Mbps to 10 Mbps.
Moreover, ethernet cables are made for short-distance data travel like inside a home network or office. For longer data transfer there are optical fiber cables.
But we talked about latency earlier. So, does that matter?
Does Long Ethernet Cable Increase Latency?
Yes, a long ethernet cable does increase latency. But the latency will be so low that you would not notice. How?
The data signals travel at close to the speed of light( around two-third). Light travels 299,792.458 km per second. Two-thirds of it is 199861.6387 km per second. Amazed?
Yes, 199861.6387 km per sec is the speed of your data signals inside your ethernet cable. So, for a shorter distance like 20-50 meters, you would not notice any latency difference.
But you will notice a difference after you cross the 100-meter limit. As the speed will drop significantly after 100 meters, so the latency will increase too.
So, another question remains, which type of cable should you use without reducing speed.
Which Long Ethernet Cable Should You Use?
The type of ethernet cables you should use completely depends on your usage. Let’s break it down into two types.
1. For Home Network
Any cable other than the cat5 is ok for most modern homes. Because cat5 cables are old. They have low speed and frequency. So, it’s not suggested to use it.
Currently, for home networks, cat5e can be a suitable choice. Because most home networks have the highest 1000 Mbps speed. So, for the home network, cat6 or cat7 cables can be an overkill. Moreover, most home network appliances like wireless routers, network switches do not support cat7.
Every home and office network must need a wireless router. if you are planning to buy a router or are not happy with your existing have a look at our latest articles about the best wireless router according to range speed number of supported devices etc.
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But if you use your cables externally then it’s quite ok to use cat5e. But if you use your ethernet cable internally, i mean wiring it inside a wall then you should consider buying cat6 or cat6a. Because future-proofing your network is always a wise diction.
So, what about length?
No matter how big your house is, the length can’t be over 100 meters. But for some reason, if you need to use an ethernet cable over 100 meters distance then use network switches. You can divide your cables into smaller pieces and use a switch at the intersection point.
However, for outside use, it’s always suggested to go for optical fiber cables. Optical fiber is an expensive but useful option.
2. For Office or Business Network
Future-proofing is also suggested in the case of an office network. So, use a short-length cat6 or cat7 variant of cables for your office. Never use long lengths of cables in the office. Instead, use switches.
Moreover, if your office has a server room, you can use cat8 cables there. It will reduce cables inside the server.
These are some suggestions about which long cable should you choose.
If you want to know more about network cabling go through this article, What are the Types of Network Cabling
Here are some related FAQs.
1. Q-How long is too long for Ethernet?
Ans: Exceeding 100 meters is too long for most ethernet cables.
2. Q-Will a 100 ft Ethernet cable work?
Ans: A 100 ft, ethernet cable will work. It will not reduce any speed or latency. Just remember to keep the length below 328 ft.
3. Q-Will a long ethernet cable slow my computer?
Ans: No, an ethernet cable does not affect the performance of your computer. It only affects the internet speed of your computer.
4. Q- Is Ethernet faster than WiFi?
Ans: Yes, until now ethernet is faster than wifi. The wifi technology is not developed enough to beat ethernet. Because a cable connection is always better and more reliable than a wireless connection.
5. Q- Does Ethernet affect WiFi?
Ans: No, ethernet does not affect wifi. Using a cable connection for one device does not mean the other devices connected to your network via wifi will slow down.
So, the answer to Does ethernet cable reduce speed? is No. However, Do not use an ethernet cable longer than 100 meters. Always remember to buy better-quality ethernet cables. Because a poor-quality ethernet cable can reduce the speed of your network.