Would I benefit from CAT6 cables

denimknight

Standard Member
Hi all,

I am currently looking at my network and working out how to improve performance a little bit. A bit of a noob when it comes to this sort of thing since all my experience is in the software side of things rather than hardware, so apologies if these are questions are a little stupid :)

I have a Cisco E4200 router, 3 laptops (wireless N 2.4Ghz band only), 3 tablets (wireless N 2.4Ghz band only), 3 ipods (wireless G 2.4Ghz band only), WD Live TV media streamer (wireless N 2.4Ghz band only) and a Western Digital 2 TB NAS drive.

I’m trying to work out how to improve the media streaming from the NAS drive and was wondering if changing the cable connecting the NAS drive to the router to a CAT6 cable would help? It’s currently connected with CAT5 cable. All the devices connect over WiFi so I’m not sure if CAT6 cable to the hard drive would help or not.

I’m also considering getting AV2 homeplugs to connect the media streamer in the living room to the router via a cabled connection rather than over WiFi, but I’m not sure how much improvement I’d see using this.

Hope someone can help.

Thanks

Alex
 

cjed

Well-known Member
I’m trying to work out how to improve the media streaming from the NAS drive and was wondering if changing the cable connecting the NAS drive to the router to a CAT6 cable would help? It’s currently connected with CAT5 cable.
No, replacing the cable will make no difference.

I’m also considering getting AV2 homeplugs to connect the media streamer in the living room to the router via a cabled connection rather than over WiFi, but I’m not sure how much improvement I’d see using this.
Homeplugs may improve matters - what kind of problems/issues with the media streaming are you trying to resolve ?
 

Eddie-head

Standard Member
Cat6 over cat5 is very little difference (there is a difference if you monitor it, however for home use it's negligable) and will help to improve your streaming somewhat as there is less data packet loss due to noise. Whether you notice this though is debatable

however the main benefit you will see is in the change from wireless streaming to wired.

ther is so much interference that will fly around with wireless signals that I personally would never stream anything over wireless (although that's just my personal preference)

You will more likely get a better performance out of your network by improving the hardware as opposed to the cabling. A good gigabit layer 3 switch as well as a gigabit router and shorter cable runs with minimal daisy chains or breaks in teh run will do you much better than simply upgrading the cables. Depends on how much money you have though
 

x1nick

Member
I would suggest using at least Cat5e to make use of gigabit on your switch. But not too sure if any of your connected devices can make use of gigabit.

You didn't mention the model of your NAS drive.
 

denimknight

Standard Member
Hi guys,

Thanks all for the replies. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, been on holiday.

The cabled setup I've currently got is: 1 Belkin wireless router (R1) (4, 1GB ports), 1 Cisco E4200 (R2) (4, 1GB ports), 1 WD 2TB MyBook Live NAS Drive (1, 1GB Port). R1 is connected to the Internet via a cable modem, R2's internet port is connect to R1 port 1 and the NAS drive is connected to port 1 of R2.

CJED - The issue I'm having is with the WD Live TV media streamer which is in the living room that connects to R2 wirelessly. If nothing else is connected wirelessly it streams fine, however we've got a lot of equipment that connects wirelessly (3 tablets, 2 ipods 3 laptops) and while they don't usually all connect at the same time it's not unusual to have the 3 laptops and 2 of the tablets all connect at the same time. When this happens the video starts pixelating (is that the right word?) and stuttering and the audio sometimes goes out of synch... Sometimes it won't even play at all, the weird thing is i've tried connecting the other equipment to R1 instead and it still happens. So I'm guessing it because of all the wireless traffic causing interference rather than the router not being able to handle it.

X1nick – It's a WD 2 TB MyBook Live NAS drive.

If improving the cabling won't help the situation, will the homeplugs? I'm looking at maybe AV500+ plugs. 1 in the living room (downstairs) for the streamer, 1 next to the router (upstairs) and 1 in the kids bedroom (upstairs) (for when we put a 2nd streamer in there). I'm thinking that even with the bandwidth being split between the two devices it should still be enough to stream movies fine. For a pack of 3 plugs it's coming in at about £135 which isn't too unreasonable.

Thanks for the help guys.

Cheers

Alex
 

cjed

Well-known Member
The problem with both wireless and powerline is that they're technologies in which you can only have one device transmitting at a time. All the other devices need to stop transmitting and listen. As you add more devices the collisions (when two devices try to transmit at the same time) increase and throughput plummets.

With wired Ethernet connected by switches, this limitation doesn't apply, you can have several simultaneous conversations on the network at the same time.

If at all possible, connect devices by wired Ethernet. Especially those that need consistent bandwidth (like media streamers and NAS units).
 

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