10 Mbit cable vs 10/100 Mb cable

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by asdf, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. asdf

    asdf Guest

    Have the following retractable cable from radioshack:

    Only works with my laptop when I choose 'Speed and Duplex' setting of '10
    When either 'Auto' or '100 Mbit' is chosen I can't even ping or get address
    from DHCP server.

    My understanding that all the networking cables were supposed to be the
    same. But both of the
    retractable cables that I have only work when 10mbit setting is chosen. Am I
    correct in diagnosing
    the problem--that these retractable cables are in fact 10mbit only cables.
    Also are there any retractable cables
    that are 10/100 mbit and will work on auto setting.

    I've tried the same computer with regular non-retractable cables and the
    connection works just fine.

    thank you very much.
    asdf, Jan 2, 2006
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  2. asdf

    Herb Martin Guest

    Or otherwise just not suitable. You would be shocked to learn
    how much supposedly "100BaseT" wiring is NOT.

    If it works with one cable and not another this is pretty much a
    definitive test for a bad cable.
    Probably. Almost certainly.
    Cable testers now seem to be cheap (I saw an inexpensive one
    just day before yesterday but didn't try it.)
    Herb Martin, Jan 2, 2006
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  3. asdf

    Charlie Tame Guest

    The ad says CAT5e and that should be fine for 10/100 so there is certainly
    something wrong. Either the ad is a complete lie (The most likely
    explanation with it being Radio Shack) or the cable used in them is
    defective. However since nobody has asked I am assuming the connection is
    computer to router not computer to computer, for the latter you would need a
    crossover cable.

    If you are going computer to computer these cables are not suitable but may
    work on half duplex 10.

    Charlie Tame, Jan 2, 2006
  4. asdf

    Jim Guest

    asdf wrote on 1/1/2006 10:44 PM:
    That is usually a problem with your network adapter and not the cable.
    Look for updated drivers to address the issue.

    If this is for surfing the Internet, 10Mbs is fine since your Internet
    connection is slower than that, unless you have the new Verizon FiOS. If
    you are transferring files between PCs, just buy a standard Cat5 cable.

    Jim, Jan 2, 2006
  5. asdf

    asdf Guest

    connection is between computer and router.
    the laptop in question is ibm thinkpad T30 with latest drivers.
    inserting any other cable other than the retractable ones works just fine.
    As I said we have two of those retractable cables and neither one of them
    The only way to make them work is to set adapter to 10mbit setting.
    asdf, Jan 2, 2006
  6. asdf

    Jim Guest

    asdf wrote on 1/2/2006 11:22 AM:
    I have seen this with certain adapters that are sensitive to problem
    cables. I don't know how high quality a retractable cable is, but I
    would guess not that high.

    Good luck,

    Jim, Jan 2, 2006
  7. asdf

    Charlie Tame Guest

    Well it should be fine if it is really CAT5e - is that actually printed on
    the cable anywhere? If so consider returning them to the store.

    On occasion tightly coiled cables or kinked cables will misbehave if they
    are near the quality limit anyway, but since these are only 4 feet long it
    seems very unlikely that fully uncoiling will make a difference... in any
    case that negates the purpose of it's being retractable doesn't it? :)

    Category 5 cable is phone wire, it has 8 conductors twisted into 4 pairs.
    Your phone would use 1 pair (so you could run 4 separate lines down it) and
    your computer uses 2 pairs (So you could have two network connections down
    it). Normally only 4 conductors (two pairs) are used... but for runs where
    there's only a single cat5 and I need 2 network lines I use all 4 pairs and
    it works fine over even long distances - as long as it's good quality
    cable... which is where the "e" comes in.

    You cannot pick any 4 conductors from the 8 available you MUST use 2
    pairs... and you must use the individual "Pair" appropriately, else you will
    lose the quality of the signals. The fact that the "Pair" is twisted
    together keeps interference out and stops that "Pair" interfering with
    another "Pair". If you use cheap crap phone wire or fail to use "Pairs"
    properly you will get exactly the problem you describe, and worse as the
    wire gets longer.

    So Cat3 is cheap ordinary 2 pair phone wire
    Cat5 is 4 pair phone wire
    Cat5e is "Enhanced" for networking

    The "e" simply indicates it's twisted for optimum performance.

    I just laid about 8000 feet of it at work with no problems at all so 4 feet
    of any old wire should not present a problem, either Jim is right and you
    have some really sensitive cards or else that wire is real junk.

    Charlie Tame, Jan 3, 2006
  8. asdf

    asdf Guest

    No on the box it just says 'high-performance' I took it to mean that
    it will work at 100mbit.
    Just thought i should mention that the cable is flat and not round like the
    CAT5 cables. But i guess thats what you mean by 'uncoiled'
    What bothers me about this is that i've tried 2 of these retractable cables.
    The other one not being from RadioShack. I tried them with several different
    PCs--one T30 laptop and another NetVista. I would definatelly suspect that
    the cable is the main culprit because i've never observed such a problem
    any other wires.
    thank you very much for responding
    asdf, Jan 3, 2006
  9. asdf

    Herb Martin Guest

    Ultimately it doesn't matter what the cable says or what
    type of wire was used.

    Only if it works. Even a bad (or badly installed) connector
    can reduce a 'cable' (system) from CAT5 quality to something

    (FYI since it is not your issue: Pulling too hard on cable while
    installing it is a great way to ruin it's ability to support high
    speeds also.)

    Find a cable that works. Use a rubber band, twist tie, or
    (my favorite) a velcro tie-wrap if it doesn't retract.
    Herb Martin, Jan 3, 2006
  10. asdf

    stephen Guest

    no - just mean there is something worse around.....
    No. Cat "more or less anything" needs to have twisted pairs to work. if it
    really is flat - ie. each wire sits in the jacket parallel to all the
    others, then it is probably something like "silver satin" patch leads.

    i have had cabling faults where a bit of silver sating used as a 2m patch
    lead has been the problem -although those are on fixed wiring with longer
    runs, it doesnt sound unreasonable for it only to work @ 10m
    all 4 get used for Gigabit Ethernet.

    but for runs where
    phone wire (i.e. old BT stuff) is even lower quality. Cat 3 normally had 4
    pairs on a PDS style fixed wiring system.

    Cat 5 is actually fairly high spec - the spec gives frequency response and
    noise cancellation. It was the 1st twisted pair cabling standard actually
    intended to handle 100 Base-Tx Ethernet.

    its just a bit better than Cat5.

    There are several "better" cable types around, although not many standards
    last time i checked, since there arent many copper connections at faster
    than Gigabit. doesnt stop cabling companies talking about Cat6 and Cat7
    stick to a cat5 lead. If wieght and tangles are a problem, buy a few and
    leave them in the various places you need a cable.
    stephen, Jan 3, 2006
  11. asdf

    Charlie Tame Guest

    I probably should have used the word "Usually" in front of those comments,
    but in any event the link supplied to radio shack's site specifically stated
    Cat5e so I never suspected it was flat. Needless to say by "Uncoiled" I
    meant "Stretched out to full length", not untwisted.

    We actually have some older stuff installed that's stamped Cat5 but it's
    about worthless, never really looked and it's okay for phones but it won't
    do more than 10... however that's rather longer lengths and I have not tried
    lengths of a few feet since it's pointless wasting time with it. I have
    managed 10 down cheap nasty untwisted phone wire over quite a distance
    (purely for experiment I hasten to add) but the packet loss is quite bad :(

    Charlie Tame, Jan 4, 2006
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