Ethernet Cable Direction - Advice Appreciated

I have just been reading through the forum on some old posts and read some pieces on cable direction for ethernet wires. My logic and how I have set up my system could be flawed after reading some of these so would appreciate your collective wisdom.

Direction is always from first item to next item in the list. Essentially taking the direction the broadband connection would follow from the incoming feed right to the streamer. Not sure if this is correct though!

1.) BT ADSL Box to BT Router
2.) BT Router into Wall Socket
3.) Wall Socket to Switch 1
4.) Switch 1 to Switch 2
5.) Switch 2 to Melco
6.) Melco to Streamer

Thanks in advance for any replies :slight_smile:

It doesn’t matter


Out of Melco, In the Nd555. The arrow is going towards the Nds, and in opposite direction from the Melco. Out of router, in to the switch. It’s what I had when using ER before.
Now, with the PhoenixNet, I don’t use the player switch of the Melco.


The cables carry bi-directional data that flows constantly in both directions. So unless you use an exotic cable with a built-in ethernet isolating transformer box nearer one end, it’s impossible for it to matter.


Which arrow?

I have some Audioquest cables that have arrows on bith sides which is what I wanted to check on tbh.

Same for me. I tried both directions and found it make a little, subtle difference. But here, I admit, maybe a blind test would be useful. I just followed Audioquest recommendations.

The likely source of cable orientation is quantum tunneling, relating to how the cable materials and construction makeup will settle during use.
The idea being if you follow the direction of the original manufacturing extrusion the electrical energy applied in use will have the least impact from conductor diode effect.
The arrows mean should you relocate the cable the same behaviours are consistent.
How much effect that characteristic has relative to Ethernet cables specifically is down to the individual, their system as a whole and their sensitivity to specific frequencies.


I agree with frenchrooster, if you buy into this whole thing it would seem sensible to follow AQ’s instructions


Soooooo, the question I was really asking was what is the correct direction! Would it be as I have described above or should the direction lead differently. It seems that @frenchrooster has his final cable in the same direction as me. Am I right in assuming that the direction of flow for everything is from router to the final end point which in this case is an ND555 with the cables effectively flowing through the Melco (one coming into and one going out of direction wise)

I actually use a mix of Audioquest and then Catsnake cables which don’t have a direction. The catsnakes are fine but the Audioquest ones I want to make sure I have got they the right way round.

I guess what I am saying is if the ND555 the end point that everything would point to?

No. The ND555 constantly sends traffic back to the router and ultimately to the connected endpoint (your NAS, Tidal, whatever). It’s a two way communication protocol. It’s not SPDIF. There is no direction of flow.


I told you in the first answer, but since you don’t want to believe it, follow AQ’s instructions or your ears, I guess. It’s “correct” when you are happy.

Guess why :slight_smile:

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And you haven’t told us what toothpaste you use which does make it harder to give comprehensive replies re directionality of bi- directional cables.



Maybe @Darkebear will explain more clearly, and he has the Melco and Etheregen with Cisco switches.
For me it was towards Nds , out of Melco, out of router, towards ER.

Too early for the next April Fool’s Day? I would wait until Saturday, April 1, 2023.

Thank you for all of the replies.

I do understand now what everyone is saying re the cables transferring data both ways. I had not really considered this fully at the point of asking the question I guess. I know this is the case (if I think about it) and the cables are manufactured to allow this 2 way data transfer, I ended up being too focused on the directional markings I guess. In my mind if there was no directional intention from the manufacturer they would not add an arrow. I now understand this was a mistake. I was just trying to work out if everything should face the Melco for example or towards the ND555. I see now that the vast majority of people here do not feel that ethernet cables should have any direction markings on them as it will make zero difference. Its clearly a subject that people feel quite strongly about and my question was obviously somewhat dumb and my understanding a bit slow, but if we don’t ask questions we never learn I guess. Networking/Cables/Internet etc is not something I have great experience with so please excuse my ignorance.

As always the forum here is full of very helpful people, and I do really appreciate all of the replies that have been given, including the detailed reason as to why manufacturers do quote directions due to the manufacturing process, which I now understand is limited to cables like interconnects etc.

Thanks again to all responders and apologies for any frustration caused by my slow understanding of the matter.


You’re fully right to ask questions and a few of us apposed to what we perceive to be total foo probably are a bit strident in out responses, apologies if my post appeared thus. I was just trying to use a bit of humour and reference to a previous thread to highlight my thoughts.

Basically what one hears is what they hear for whatever reasons and that is what we all base our opinions on. But there is an awful lot of voodoo around and when things make little scientific sense and people are being tied in knots we probably sound a bit dismissive.

I fully understand your situation, the cables have arrows and you want to be sure you are understanding correctly what they mean. In your situation I’d listen to both directions and if you hear a difference choose that direction, if you hear none, don’t worry about it.


You can take guesswork out. As they say, “assumption is the mother of all mistakes.” Ask Audioquest support. If their answer is full of pseudo science garbage you’ll know. OTOH, maybe they come back with something simple like “The plug on one end doubles as a common mode noise ferrite choke.

Our responses are based on incomplete information. From a data perspective it makes zero difference but maybe data isn’t the issue. Maybe it’s noise mitigation.


Makes sense.

Most responses have to be based on incomplete information because manufacturers never present any objective, scientifically based, evidence for their claims.