How to Extend Cat 5 Cabling

by John Rice

Ethernet is the most popular cable for networking, surpassing older cabling technologies. Of the standards in Ethernet cabling, Cat 5e remains among the most widely used. Unfortunately, a reliable signal can be carried over Ethernet only a relatively short distance: 100 meters, or about 328 feet. Many times a home owner or office dweller finds it necessary to extend Cat 5 cabling beyond existing installations. Fortunately, this is a fairly simple procedure with the proper equipment.

Plug one of the 5-port switches into an electrical outlet near the terminus of an Ethernet cable close to its limit of 100 meters, or 328 feet. Insert the end of the cable into the first port on the switch.

Insert an additional long cable into another port on the switch. The switch will then act as an inexpensive relay, and will boost the Ethernet signal so that it can extend beyond the 100 meter limit. Technically, if you use another 100-meter cable, you have just doubled the range of the signal.

Take the second switch into a room where expansion of the number of ports is desired.

Plug the electric cord for the switch into an outlet. Plug a patch cable into an Ethernet wall port in the room. Patch cables are short lengths of Ethernet cord with two male ends.

Plug the other end of the patch cable into the first port on the 5-port Ethernet switch. Ensure all connections are secure.

Use the four additional ports on the switch for extending the Cat 5 cabling in the room. Test connection with a laptop. You have effectively expanded one port into four by way of the switch.

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About the Author

John Rice is the technology director for a school district in Texas. He holds a Master of Science in educational administration from Texas A&M, and is a regular contributor to "TechEdge" and other educational publications. He has been writing professionally since 1998.

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