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Old Cat5 Network Cable With Gigabit Equipment

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  • What happens when Gigabit switches are connected over an old CAT5 cable? 3 answers

We moved into a different building a couple of years ago. Instead of rewiring everything I elected to use the existing wiring. I tested it all and only replaced the defective wires. Currently, here is what I am working with:

Networking Equipment

  • Two Gigabit Managed Switches connected via fiber
  • Cat 5 solid core cable ran through walls
  • Cat 5e rated Wall plates (guess)
  • Cat 5e rated Patch Panels (guess)
  • Cat 5e patch cables

Workstations

  • Gigabit Ethernet, SSD Drive, Win 7, Quad Core, 8GB RAM

Servers

  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet (Currently only using one), Traditional HD, Windows Server 2003, Dual Xeon Processors, 4GB RAM

The servers are connected directly to the switch via cat 5e cables. The workstations have the cat 5 cable ran in the walls to them, which are terminated to the wall plates and patch panels.

I know that the performance you get will be based on the slowest piece of equipment you are using. What kind of performance should I expect out of the above scenario? What should I do to improve the performance?

I have some users that have faster access to the servers than others. The users with the worst performance are those furthest away form the servers (110' - 150'). Programs ran locally on the machine run really fast. However, apps that access server files run slower. I would like to speed this area up.

Answers

Wire cannot negotiate. The cables used to connect two Ethernet devices must support the highest speed both devices support. Otherwise, you must manually configure at least one end to operate no faster than the cable supports. If you don't, pain will result.

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