Ethernet cable wall --> router --> switch

To buck the trend of exotic solutions…

I have FTTH coming into a server room and from the router to a 16 port Planex switch. From there I run Cat6a to 17 locations in the house which I snaked from my 200m drum of Elecom unshielded Cat6a (about $100 for the drum) into Panasonic Cat6a compliant outlets. Care taken in construction to ensure all data conduits have 15cm clearance from power lines. I installed it myself.

From the wall to the switch in the listening room is Cat7 shielded but nothing fancy. That goes into a Buffalo (Melco) switch (again not a fancy one) and from there another standard Cat7 to the streamer. That’s intentional because I want to avoid bonding the noisy shield to ground planes on the streamer and anything else. Cat6a is unsheilded so not an issue. The Melco switch uses plasic ports so again, no binding to shield. So When using a sheilded Cat7 to the NDX to the switch, the shield is drained only at the NDX end.

Basically, a lot of care in set up and installation, but in terms of cables and connectors, the same stuff as I’d use back when I worked in a data centre basically. I won’t touch fancy connectors because they require too much length of the TP to be untwisted in the plug. More than is permitted to still retain Cat6a compliance in fact.

But it all starts here:

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+100%, @Blackbird NB, this what I was saying in my previous post …
" … is the small section of PCB (that is the main installation aid) is a section of straight line & does not maintain the required cable pairs twist.
Suboptimal RJ45 connections such as this negativly affect NEXT (near end cross talk) and RL (reflection loss)."

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So what you refer to is that the cables on those connectors are not twisted all the way to the front like in this example and that this will have a performance degradation?

Those telgartners are going to be heavy, make sure what every you are plugging into is designed to take them.

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Yes.
An ethernet cable is carefully designed with optimised twisted pairs.
You need to bring these twisted pairs together as close as possible to the contacts of the plug to maintain the specific twisted pair config’s to get the best NEXT & RL performance & optimal data transmission.

Get it wrong & your CAT8 becomes a CAT5

There seems to be a widley held mis-conception that bulky metal cased connectors of all sorts are automatically better than plastic lightweight equivalents.

The truth is that these metal connectors are usually designed for commercial use where they will likely be subjected to rough or repeated handling and therefore they need to be robust or they will quickly fail. It’s often nothing to do with how they sound or perform electrically.

Often there will be no justification for their use in a typical domestic environment - other than that they can look impressive.

I suppose you can look at this both ways. Yes on the one hand computer stuff is noisy and therefore best kept separate. On the other hand your router, NAS etc. forms a vitally important part of your streaming set-up. It’s hardly an optional extra. Therefore it makes sense to give it the best mains supply available.

Of course if you take the view that your router, NAS or whatever has no effect on the sound you hear then you may as well just keep it separate.

If I had the money to spare I would have no hesitation at all in buying a Chord S6 mains block for my router, ONT box and EE8 switch. But I don’t so they are plugged into blocks made from MK metal clad unswitched sockets with Peek cone feet, and connected using Chord C Power cables (no longer avaialble, but superb at £60). I use similar for my TV, Blu-ray player and Apple box. I found it to make a worthwhile improvement at not much expense.

ZTE 5G router → WiFi → Streamer.

Sorry ! :wink:

PS. I do have some Tp Link RE550’s boosting the signal around the house.

But the Telegartner plug is specified to 8.1 if terminated as per their instructions?

Absolutely that can be true but sometimes also not :blush: My still superior Entreq Ethernet cable and its connector look very cheap in comparison. I have no idea how it measures either but it to my ears perform great.

I’m therefore looking into optimising the steps earlier in the chain without spending huge money.

Whatever a they ‘claim’, then let’s see the test result papers.
Plus when you put an RJ45 on each end of an ethernet, plus it’s inevitable NEXT & RL degradation, the cable as an assy will always perform below the lowest achieving individual part.

It looks like the Telegartner plugs meet Cat 6a spec but, as you say, you’re exchanging ease of assembly in the field for a possible performance reduction. In some applications, the ease of getting the cable assembled correctly vs a swapped wire (leading to worse performance or downtime) could be worth it. These do seem rather overkill in a domestic environment though, rather like using shielded ethernet cables.

One of the best plugs for maintaining cable geometry up to the plug contacts was the Meicord Opal range of cables. The plugs had an integrated ‘cable manager’ and a decent strain relief too. I’ve still got one in my spares box but I’m not sure if they are still made anymore ?

Hi James, as you say, the Meicord CAT-6 have a cable manager (small plastic wire guides) to correctly orient the individual wires. One of the reasons I first chose them & the way they sound is why I still have them.
They & BJC, plus a few others take real care in this area & prove it with conformance test certs.

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Yes, it’s a shame they no longer seem to be available as they were very decent cables, albeit a bit stiff.

BJC are decent, no nonsense cables. Probably the most expensive Ethernet cable I’ve got - the rest is bog standard Cat-5e and a few Cat-6a cables from Farnell !

I could move the server …

Many audiophile cables aren’t classified as Ethernet at all because they don’t conform to the standard. Some brands had their knuckles rapped for calling them Ethernet, which is why they started using the term ‘streaming cable’ instead. Ultimately that doesn’t really matter, as the faster transfer rates of CAT6/7/8 are entirely unnecessary for audio - old fashioned Cat5 is plenty.

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Yes, Cat5e is plenty for streaming and most other home applications. I have just rewired my home and home office for ethernet. I’m using mostly Cat6, and Cat6a where I had electricians run CMR rated cable between floors, but I could have a used 5e and been fine. It’s all certified Belden cable and good standard connectors. The pre-terminated patch cables (Blue Jean Cable using Belden) are all tested to insure conformity to spec.

I can’t imagine needing anything else for any application in my home. It’s already overkill.

When I got into streaming in 2005 I was told to forget about wi-fi, that ethernet was the ONLY way to go.
So while I may have briefly tried wi-fi I set up a cabled network and never looked back. Never went crazy with expensive cables and such (Blue Jeans, Supra fit my budget). Did invest in a low noise iFi power supply for my router but resisted temptation for fancy $$$ network isolaters, purifiers, etc
Anyhow…recently I needed to temporarily move my system to the other end of my listening room where my 30ft BJC fell short a few feet. To solve the problem I figured I’d enable wi-fi temporarily.
Funny thing is that at first, without really paying attention, I noticed no degradation in sound quality. The funnier thing is that over time I started noticing that I actually preferred the sound over wi-fi. Tonality, detail retrieval and just about everything else seem to have improved.

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What system do you have?

Indeed. It amazes me that so many don’t even try WiFi. It’s free - or even better, as all those cables and switches can go on a well-known auction site.

For your next experiment, try 4G/5G rather than wired broadband…