Optimal networking

I have discussed this in a prior post but I need to bring it up again because I’m getting conflicting advice from reliable sources.
I currently run about 60 feet of Cat-6 from my Pakedge 16 port switch in the basement directly to the ND555 in HiFi room.
My QNAP NAS is also connected to this switch with a short run in the basement.
Im getting a new 24 port switch, probably managed, because I need more ports for “smart home” system.
My options are to continue with this 60 foot run directly from new switch to ND555 which is what has been recommended by the tech that will install and my Naim dealer OR run the 60 ft Cat-6 to a smaller ?unmanaged switch in the HiFi room and then have a short run from the small switch and the ND555 and also bring the NAS and possibly Room Nucleus (future) to the HiFi room with short runs from the new switch. This would allow the use of “audiophile” E-net cables if it makes a difference. Network tech and Naim dealer say they don’t.They say that adding a second switch introduces more complexity and can effect SQ. BTW these are fairly sophisticated people.
@Darkebear and others on our forum have recommended the 2nd option. I trust their opinions as well.
Thought I would bring it up again before I commit to either option.

Can’t you just try it first - it is not difficult - about 5 to 10mins to do once you have the boxes.

Just take the long run CAT6 into your ND555, disconnect and insert a suitable small switch and place the NAS on one of its ports and ND555 on the other - and listen - you decide.

I’d suggest run it like this for at least a day and have a proper relaxed music session - then return to what you have with the long runs. If you feel there is no difference then for you there is none and you move-on certain you have it all correct.

Authorities are not needed here. What the Tech guys are saying is exactly correct - but also wrong IMO with respect to SQ.
Technically in my last job I specified wired and wireless LAN for small businesses - what the Tech people say is what you do, for that.
I did this at home and thought to use the same sensible approach - but it didn’t deliver in terms of SQ - for me. Technically it is fine to have a long run, but IMO it (for some reason) does not sound as good as with the run shorter.

You will get the experts saying it makes no difference - they are correct - and they mostly will not test it for SQ because they technically know they are correct as that is how it works - the data gets delivered accurately.

But try it - why have anyone but you decide?

Who is more reliable a source than you and your own ears?


FWIW as my system is 6 years old I run my whole network off a single NETGEAR 48 port switch.
I have 2 patch boards, one for cat 5 and the other cat 6. Since retiring the network does not handle my work and is virtually dedicated to music and films delivered from QNAP and Dune NAS.
As some stage I want to upgrade to a Cisco switch, but I’m not in a hurry.

The problem with moving the NAS and/or Nucleus and switch to the listening room is that you are adding 2 or 3 PSUs and possibly a fan cooled/spinning hard drive. You could test it easily enough though by just buying a fifty quid used Cisco switch off ebay. If you don’t like the results, you could always move that switch to a location near your other one, where it will give you at least 8 extra ports depending on the model.

From an optimal network point of view to your streamer, I advise as your colleague/consultant/friend does… run the 60 foot cable from the basement switch and try and use just one large switch in a hub and spoke setup… especially if your NAS is close to that switch as well. For a home setup it’s unlikely you will need to do anything else.

Now if you want to tweak around and not really think about optimum networking at all, then the sky is the limit… but I say keep it simple, and if possible use a long Ethernet run between streamer and switchport…
Cat 5e is fine and is good to 1Gbps at 100 metres… the vogue is Cat6 (Cat6A is rather stiff to work with) and so if the same price as Cat5e then go ahead and use that.

As far as your central switch in the basement, then I think it’s best to use a basic managed switch… when you have a larger home network it can give you control and visibility when the inevitable snagging issues occur. A large unmanaged switch can be a nightmare when trying to hunt down a bad lead or intermittently faulty device.
One consideration is go for a PoE source switch. They cost a little more, but allow you to power Wi-fi Access ports and some security cameras and other devices directly from the switch without the need of seperate PSUs. It’s what I do here.

Let us know how you get on.

Thank you for the prompt replies,what a valuable forum we have here.
I thought that @Darkebear would suggest a proper listen both ways, can’t argue with that, and thats what I will ultimately do.
@Simon-in-Suffolk,the 60 foot run is already Cat-6 and yes I will need PoE ports for the WAPs and possibly other equipment and the switch will likely be managed. I plan to stick with Pakedge, same brand as my router and WAPs.
If the NAS remains in the basement with the 24 port switch, does the quality or type of E-net matter for the short run to NAS? and possible Room Nucleus?
Thanks to @ChrisSU and @Camphuw as well.

What do you mean by ‘e-net’?

Sorry- Ethernet cable

Then I recommend Cat5e or Cat6 between your switch and NAS.

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I find that an audioquest cinnamon sounds better than standard belkin cat 6 cable. Audioquest vodka sounds even better still in my system, although others have tried and found uprated hifi cables made no difference. You really must try for yourself.


Simon, I’m just about to wire up a new room here and wonder if you have any specific recommendation for makes and models of Cat5e cable for the long run from data cupboard switch to streamer ( or wall socket behind the streamer) please? That cable will be about 12-15 metres long i guesstimate.

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Just make sure the cable is certified as Cat 5e. Any reasonable cable supplier would be able to do this.
e.g Blue Jeans.

Hi, I don’t other than Best Buy the cable from a reputable stockist such as RS… you might be surprised when you buy Ethernet cable this way how cheap it is and you get certified product.

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Thanks Simon. I’ve ordered a couple of these:
RS PRO Grey LSZH Cat5e Cable UTP, 30m
Stock no.:[791-7028]
Cheap as chips as you say.
I’m going to put them both in running side by side. One will be a direct ‘flying lead’ that I can plug straight into the NDS and the other will terminate in a wall mounted plug for an RJ45 so that I can trial direct connection vs posh cables for the last metre. I will report back in due course!


Brilliant - really interested to hear on how you get on.
For the last metre - you will hear probably hear a change (that RF stub loading effect again) so you can ‘tune’ using various cables for the last metre - the good news is that they don’t need to be posh - but no harm in using expensive posh cables for this part as well if you wish of course

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