What Is the Maximum Distance to Run a Cat5 Wire?by Nicole Martinez
Category 5 Ethernet cables are a common component in local area networks for both homes and businesses. However, the distance between the network router, hub or switch and the connected device can significantly affect network performance when using these cables.
The maximum length of a single CAT5 Ethernet cable is 328 feet or an equivalent 100 meters. This limitation applies to both CAT5 and CAT6 cables. These cables can be purchased in various lengths including 6, 10, 25 and 50 feet. Longer cables can be custom-made from a spool of CAT5 or CAT6 wire, which comes in 100, 250 and 500-foot lengths. You will need the appropriate connectors and a crimping tool to fabricate longer cables to fit your own requirements.
While CAT5 Ethernet cables can support data transfer speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, a cable that is longer than 328 feet probably won't reach these speeds. Instead, an excessively long cable may default to a much slower speed of 10 megabits per second. This drastic reduction in speed will be immediately noticeable to a user on the network.
Users who find it necessary to situate computer or other devices more than 328 feet from the network source (router, switch or hub) can employ Ethernet extenders. Also called repeaters, these devices allow the user to connect multiple Ethernet cables to span up to 6,000 feet. Some repeaters simply create a chain of Ethernet cables by splicing the cable together on each side of the device, while other products allow connections to more than two Ethernet cables.
- Ethernet crossover cable image by lefebvre_jonathan from Fotolia.com