Requesting Assistance re: Ethernet Cable Choices

(Suzie Trumblero) #1

Newbie here. I need to buy hundreds of feet of cat5 ethernet cable, to do in-home DIY installation of POE Amcrest cameras with an NVR. I read that Monoprice is a good place to buy ethernet cables. But when I search there on “cat5 ethernet cable” there are so many choices - different kinds and colors! What do you folks advise?

(Borristhecat) #2

you don’t want cat5 its pretty rare now anyway, you want CAT5e at least. CAT5e is capable of carrying 1Gbit ethernet, CAT5 can only take 100 Mbits. If you want something a bit better with not a massive cost difference then go for CAT6.

(Dana ) #3

Agree, from what I’ve read, cat6 is better for longer runs, and the price differential is small.

(Mark) #4

If you’re buying that much, then consider buying bulk cable then learn how to cut and terminate the ends yourself to make several cables. It should be a lot cheaper than buying several different patch cables (which are never the exact length you want anyway).

Also where is all this cable going? Inside your walls? On your walls along the baseboards/moulding? In-wall cable is rated to be more fire resistant (at least I think that’s the difference).

(Suzie Trumblero) #5

OK, I will buy cat5e ethernet cable in bulk and learn how to cut and terminate the ends. Will I need to use a soldering iron?

Some of the cables will run along the floor of the attic, and some will be installed inside walls. I don’t think any baseboards will be involved. I will look to get in-wall cable.

At Monoprice, for a search for cat5e ethernet cable, there are choices such as riser-rated, in-wall rated, plenum-rated, solid, stranded. All are 350MHz and most are 24AWG. They all say “Bare Copper” or “Bare Cable Copper” but the pictures all show covered wires. What kind should I get?

Do the colors mean something? Or should I just buy whatever color happens to strike my fancy at the moment? :slight_smile:

(Matthew) #6

You are probably going to turn any CAT6 cable you buy into a CAT5e without even knowing it, so just buy the CAT5e…

I have been doing networking and video networking for over 20 years and I would recommend CAT5e -

All cables (5/5e/6) are rated for 100m maximum lengths for Gigabit Ethernet speed.
CAT 6 are rated up to 10G, but only at a maximum length of 55m.

Three reasons why I recommend Cat 5e over 6.

  1. The connectors. CAT6 is a physically larger cable and 8P8C connectors (plugs that attach to the end of the cable) - are very tough to use without an adapter - so you can end up with a “fail” point (not an actual cable failure, but a SNR issue at the connector. Additionally, an adapter can prevent the plug from fitting into an RJ45 or 8P8C jack.
  2. Frequency use. CAT5e can handle frequencies up to 350mhz / CAT6 is only up to 250mhz.
  3. You will probably end up with a CAT5e cable, even if you use a CAT6.

So what does all this mean?

Since you are dealing with video you have unique differences that appear on a mixed network (Phone / Video / Computer) as opposed to separating them.
First, the cable issue…
CAT 6 cables are very supplier-specific and plug tolerances almost immediately turn a CAT6 into a CAT5e.
Here is a quote from a testing white paper when testing performance…

Supplier A can provide a Category 6 link, and so can supplier B, but if you connect supplier As plug into supplier Bs jack, you`ll probably get Category 5 rather than Category 6 performance. Any tests done above 155 MHz require that the test cords used with the field tester properly match the link under test. Check with Category 6 suppliers for up-to-date information. Otherwise, testing a properly constructed Category 6 link with the “wrong” test cords could lead to a false failure. Also, field testing of Category 6 and 7 links is challenging, and not just because of the higher bandwidth. Equally important is the increased dynamic-range requirement of the field tester that must now accurately measure much weaker signals.

As for the Frequency differences - It is frequently recommended that CAT5e be used for video due to frequency issues that can be introduced because oif video processing chips. I have never run into this though…

(John P. Hoke) #7

You will definately want wall rated (plenum) cable … regular cable will be bad in a fire (and may invalidate your insurance too…)

(Matthew) #8

No, just a wire tool / cutter.

All the same.

What ever floats your boat.

I do recommend you watch a you tube video or two… after 4 or 5 practice runs you’ll get the idea.

DO: Buy a cheep cable tester (one that you can plug both ends of the cable into the tester and you get 8 lights that shows if it is connected right).
DO: Buy a good cutter

Can’t stress it enough… USE T568B (also just called “B”) wiring.
Again… wire as a “B”
(that’s the order that the colored wires that are ‘inside’ the wire you buy are put in the plug)
B… Just remember B

(Emerson Vier) #9

I bougth this to run my PoE Cameras

And if you are new on this I recommend RJ-45 cable Tester

(Borristhecat) #10

Also remember that like any low voltage cable (but data cable especially) it can’t be run alongside mains cable it needs to have segregation. This is for 2 reasons 1 the cable insulation isn’t rated the same and 2 due to inducted voltage this will cause communication issues. So keep them as far apart as possible but at a minimum 50mm.

(Kirk Hilzinger) #11

Terminate FEMALE RJ-45 or into a patch panel at the network switch end. NEVER terminate RJ-45 male on home runs. Use patch cords between device and home run. The problem with terminating male RJ-45 is that, with time, that plastic clip gets brittle and will break off. That means you have to cut off the end and re-terminate the cable and field terminating male RJ-45 is harder than a standard network jack or patch panel and they almost never break. You only need a 110-punchdown tool and something to strip the outer sheathing and cut the rip string. I will make a wiring contractor redo any terminations done male RJ-45. At work, they know I am a bear about that. I will never accept that. I cannot stress this enough.

Terminating 568-B is recommended. It is very wide-spread. I cannot seem to remember ever running into 568-A in commercial buildings. Lucent made the 568-B a standard because of problems with digital phones a very long time ago.

Get plenum rated cable for home runs. It is building code. In case of fire, the non-plenum cables emit toxic substances. That is why plenum is code. Patch cables do not have to be rated plenum as they are not supposed to go into walls.

Color is really a matter of your choice. Typically, blue is Ethernet. Green is T1 (which is dying). White or grey is voice. Red is usually anything to do with fire. If a building has voice and ethernet wired, they use different colors to separate the intended use of the cable but, electrically, it does not matter. I would be shocked if there is a price difference.

Green and Orange pairs are your transmit and receive. Blue and brown are 48VDC for Power Over Ethernet. If you have analog phones, they use just the blue pair.

As far as mounting the jack, since this is low voltage, you can use low voltage boxes or surface mounts.

If I have to pull wire to a room, I typically pull 2. You would be surprised how many times you run into wanting to add something down the road. For cameras, a single run is fine.

I highly recommend PoE for cameras. Power it via UPS and, if you can, generator at the switch end. That way, if power outages occur, your network stays running for a while. I have well over an hour at my home, which has covered almost all of my past outages.

Good luck. After you get the first few done, it becomes a lot easier.

(Edward Niedziejko) #12

In commercial installations (at least in my experience) everything is terminated 568A because of the crossover with standard telephone color coding. (blue, orange, green, brown pairs) If you terminate 568B the orange and green are switched and it makes switching data ports to tel and back confusing.

(Lighty) #13

CAT5E will be fine, no need for Plenum, unless you are running through ventilation. I would never run a line through any type of vent. The Cat5e Riser cable will be fine for home use.

Here is a good price

(Daniel Ionescu) #14

For all practical reasons and to make your life easier, buy CAT 5e cable, EZ tool (
and EZ RJ45 connectors (

Not true. Same connectors on both. Just cable jacket is heavier and wires have more turns per inch

Not for home. Plenum cable is mandated to be installed in any “air handling” space. Not required for In wall installation.

(Edward Niedziejko) #15

Any home with a forced air system uses open stud spaces as return air, and they’re not sealed. It’s probably a good idea to use plenum cabling in a house with forced air. Whether it’s legally required or not may vary by local or state building codes, but since the plenum cabling isn’t substantially more expensive…

(Daniel Ionescu) #16

Any home built with 2x4 will have horizontal 2x4 between each 2 studs. Return air is not possible.
You home might be build differently. However, return air requires ducting to the heat exchanger.

When a furnace comes on, heated air is pushed through supply ducts to registers in each heated room in a house. If the forced-air system is properly designed, the house includes return-air ducts to convey air back to the furnace to be heated again, in a kind of continuous loop. See

(Suzie Trumblero) #17

Wow I cannot begin to thank everyone enough for all of this fantastic advice!

I will indeed be installing POE cameras - Amcrest. I hope to choose the color white for the cables, because blue ethernet cabling is already in our walls for our computer system. I want to avoid using the same blue for the security camera system, to avoid confusion.

Based on all the recommendations, I plan to buy 500 feet of solid riser-rated Cat5e cable. Appication: two-story single-family residence, no cables in plenum spaces.

Thank you to @emersonvier for the links to the Monoprice webpages. Those accessories are to go with Cat6 cable, but since I will be buying Cat5e cable, which strain relief boots, and which plugs with inserts, should I instead buy? And how many of each, since I will be installing 8 POE cameras?

(Edward Niedziejko) #18

Regardless, non-plenum cabling is toxic when burning, so if any of it is run exposed, I would recommend plenum rated cable.

(Daniel Ionescu) #19

If you don’t know any better, it’s ok.

(Edward Niedziejko) #20

I’m a commercial electrician and network cabling installer. I know that minimum code is just that, minimum. Install the best you can afford, because you won’t be taking it out again later. But thanks for assuming I’m someone who needs google schooling.

Local building code here requires FT6 jacket for ALL exposed cabling. There used to be a 10ft allowance but that’s been revoked. That’s why I said it’s subject to local and state codes.