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shielded vs unshielded network cable

Started by bobleeswagger, January 05, 2023, 11:47:53 AM

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bobleeswagger

Hello all, for my light show next season, i'll be using an f48 with a bunch of smart receivers. When choosing the type of network cable does it matter if i use shielded network cable vs unshielded? The only reason I think I would need shielded cable is because it'll be used outdoors and I want the cable to last longer. Any thoughts? 

JonB256

#1
I use CAT5 to connect everything. No WiFi. That means cables in the yard, cables across concrete walkways and driveway. That being said, I don't use shielded cable, just plain CAT5, usually from a 1000' spool from Monoprice. If I do buy pre-made cable, I make sure they DON'T have snag resistant RJ45 ends because they can be a real pain to undo inside a controller box. Where my car daily drives over power and CAT5, I put 2 boards on either side of them. On walkways, I put a door mat over them. I've had ONE cable failure from physical damage in the last 5 years. They are actually pretty tough unless you have rabbits or squirrels.

I mentioned CAT5 - read it as CAT5e   It's all I've ever used.
Long time Falcon, FPP and xLights user

bobleeswagger

Quote from: JonB256 on January 05, 2023, 12:30:09 PMI use CAT5 to connect everything. No WiFi. That means cables in the yard, cables across concrete walkways and driveway. That being said, I don't use shielded cable, just plain CAT5, usually from a 1000' spool from Monoprice. If I do buy pre-made cable, I make sure they DON'T have snag resistant RJ45 ends because they can be a real pain to undo inside a controller box. Where my car daily drives over power and CAT5, I put 2 boards on either side of them. On walkways, I put a door mat over them. I've had ONE cable failure from physical damage in the last 5 years. They are actually pretty tough unless you have rabbits or squirrels.
Thanks for the response. That's good to know because I can get 1000' roll of unshielded for pretty cheap. No rabbits or squirrels just gophers.

k6ccc

Don't use Cat-6 or Cat-7 - it's stiff enough that it makes it far easier to break connectors off boards.
Do make sure to secure cables before they attach to controllers so WHEN (not if) someone trips on a cable, you are less likely to pull connectors off boards.
That applies to pixel cables as well.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:  http://newburghlights.org

Jim

rayster

I always leave a drip loop/slack loop at every input/output.

Ray
Ray
Using K8-B, Rpi 3b w/PiHat, Rpi 3b+ w/ PiHat, K4-PB

Wichita

Rabbits and Squirrels wrecked havoc on me this year.  The rabbits bit my cat5 in half while I was out of town leaving half my yard dark.  Squirrels have chewed my C9 bulbs completely off the wires 4 different times. I like them being in my yard but I've been threatening them that I'm going to get my son a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas.

LedMutt

I use Cat6 UTP, with waterproof connectors, might be a little stiff but I have not had any issues with the cables...

k6ccc

Quote from: LedMutt on January 07, 2023, 04:58:32 AMI use Cat6 UTP, with waterproof connectors, might be a little stiff but I have not had any issues with the cables...
Where it becomes a problem is if the connection to the controller board inside the enclosure requires a 90 degree bend in order to close the cover of the enclosure.  Cat-6 or 7 is stiff enough that the bend puts a lot of strain on the connector.  Quite a few reports of breaking connectors because of that.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:  http://newburghlights.org

Jim

JonD

#8
You should NOT EVER be using CAT5 wiring with your light display.  CAT5 only supports 100mb connections.  Most 1gb devices will still try to connect at 1gb on CAT5, even though it is not rated for it.  You might get short distances to connect at 1GB okay, but it would be problematic at best.  Unless you like troubleshooting problems, I would not ever use CAT5 cabling in your display.

CAT5e supports 1GB speeds and it would be fine in most cases. 

CAT6 is what I would recommend.  It typically is 23 awg wiring instead of 24 awg, and you would have less issues with it.  Is a little stiffer than CAT5e, but the difference is minimum.  Not all cabling is created the same... I have seen some really stiff hard to use CAT6 cabling, but there are plenty of brands out there that are easy to work with.

You would not likely need shielded cable in your home.  It is not going to connect any faster, but helps minimize interference from motors, generators, air conditioners, fluorescent lights, printers, and misc.  It is much more expensive, and more difficult to work with.

If you have a box of CAT5e cabling laying around, I would just use that.  If you are buying new cable I would go with CAT6.  They do make outdoor cable, but it is typically used for burial, and not something you want unless it is a permanent installation.  If you plan on rolling it up and storing the cable between seasons, you will want the standard type.  They make both solid and stranded cabling.  Solid is better transmission and easier to work with, but stranded is better if there is going to be a lot of movement. (Example patch cables)  I would personally go the solid wire route, but there would be cases stranded might be the better option.

JonD

Quote from: Wichita on January 05, 2023, 03:16:05 PMThe rabbits bit my cat5 in half while I was out of town leaving half my yard dark. 
Shielded cable is not likely going to prevent varmints from chewing through it.  Shielded is basically just wrapped in tin foil.  If the copper wire does not stop them, the little bit of foil is not going to help much.   

JonB256

Quote from: JonD on January 07, 2023, 10:07:30 AMYou should NOT EVER be using CAT5 ...

CAT5e supports 1GB speeds and it would be fine in most cases. 


I've never actually purchased CAT5 cable. It's always been CAT5e, pure copper, unshielded.
I just didn't put the "e" in my post. Because I use a RasPi4 outputting to a 16 port Gigabit switch, I heartily agree with JonD's comment.  Personally, I find CAT6 cable to be an unnecessary expense.
Long time Falcon, FPP and xLights user

k6ccc

Quote from: JonD on January 07, 2023, 10:07:30 AMThe Falcons run at 1000mb (1Gb).

Which Falcons are you talking about?  Every one of mine is connected to a Gig switch, and are connecting at 100Mb/s.  I don't have any of the v4 versions - maybe they do.

Quote from: JonB256 on January 07, 2023, 10:27:17 AMI've never actually purchased CAT5 cable. It's always been CAT5e.  I just didn't put the "e" in my post.

I would agree with that statement.  No one ever calls it Cat-5e.  I can't remember seeing Cat-5 (no e) for sale in years.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:  http://newburghlights.org

Jim

JonD

#12
Quote from: k6ccc on January 07, 2023, 11:15:23 AMWhich Falcons are you talking about?  Every one of mine is connected to a Gig switch, and are connecting at 100Mb/s.  I don't have any of the v4 versions - maybe they do.
You are correct the Falcons only connect a 100mb.  The Pi4 it connects at 1GB.

When CAT6 first came out it was stiff, hard to work with, and expensive.  Not sure there is much difference in price at this point.  CAT5e will support current technology and is a little easier to work with, but it is dead technology that will likely need to be replaced in the future.  I certainly would not replace any existing CAT5e wiring I had, but anything new is CAT6 at this point.  Was not suggesting others could not have a different opinion. 

Re-reading my post it was a little harsh which was not my intention.  I had guessed JonB256 was referring to CAT5e instead of CAT5, but was trying to clarify for someone that did not know the difference.  Was not trying to attack his commits and sorry if it came across that way.



MikeKrebs

Just to put an ! on this thread. We have been using slim patch cables similar to:
https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-SlimRun-Cat6A-Ethernet-Patch/dp/B01BGV2TDM/
at work for the last couple of years. Really helps inside enclosures big and and small and have had zero problems.

I would bet they work very well inside  our boxes matched up with a pass-through.

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