Can Ethernet Cables Be Too Long? (Explained)

Your connection speed and overall performance can suffer a bit if you use an Ethernet cable that’s too long.

Longer cables can introduce signal interference between devices, which can cause dropped packets, increased latency, and loss of data.

In this blog, we’ll talk about Ethernet cable lengths and all the aspects that go into that.

Here’s If Ethernet Cable Can Be Too Long:

The length of your cable should not exceed 100 feet and higher category cables (cat 5 and cat6) will work best over longer distances. With a large building, you may need to install longer cables, and then you need to make sure they are cat6, cat,7, or cat8 so they don’t lose packages or signal along the way.

Do Ethernet Cable Length Affect the Signal Quality?

Ethernet cables are made to standard specifications, and there are many different types of Ethernet cable available. For example, Category 5e and Category 6 cables are the most common for longer distances.

These types of cable have different attenuation (signal loss) characteristics at different frequencies.

All copper wire has resistance, so the longer the distance between two points, the more resistance that signal must overcome on its journey from one end to another.

The distance can be measured in feet or meters; however, for this discussion we will use feet as our unit of measurement — even though most cables are sold by the meter these days.

How Long Is Too Long for an Ethernet Cable?

Ethernet cables can be too long for your network — and it’s not just about the cost of buying them.

It’s a fact that longer cable runs can cause signal loss, which can degrade network performance.

This means you might see slower data speeds, dropped connections, and higher latency in general. In other words, there are serious problems that can occur if you’re using a cable that’s too long.

You may have heard that Ethernet cables should be no longer than 100 feet (30 meters). This is because they use electrical signals to send data between two devices (like a computer and a router).

These electrical signals degrade over distance, so the farther away your device is from its source of power, the weaker those electrical signals will become.

The length of an Ethernet cable has an effect on how strong those signals are.

There are two types of Ethernet cables: STP and UTP. STP stands for shielded twisted pair, and UTP stands for unshielded twisted pair. Both cables can be used for Ethernet connectivity, but the STP cable is more expensive than the UTP cable.

Again, if you really need to use a 30 feet internet cable, it’s best to use a cat5 or cat6 cable. These are excellent cables that will cause less signal loss and you will also have less lag. The cables offer a thicker core and that will send the signal quicker.

How To Extend Ethernet Cables Over a Long Distance?

The first thing you need to do is check the length of your current Ethernet cable.

Make sure that you buy one with enough bandwidth so that it can handle both uploads and downloads at the same time without slowing down your connection speed too much.

That means, a cat5 or cat6 ethernet cable.

When using these ethernet cables you will experience very little loss.

What Is the Best Ethernet Cable Type for a Long Distance?

Ethernet cables of the cat5 or cat6 type are best for longer distances, such as 50-100 feet, or longer. The reasons is that they are wired in a way that they have less signal loss.

The wires inside the cat5 and cat6 cables are good, however, for the best signal you should go with a cat5e that can carry up to 1 Gbit of data.

Fiber-optic cables over long distances?

Fiber optic cables have several advantages over other types of cables.

They’re immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI), so they don’t create static or interfere with radio signals like some other types of cables can.

They’re also thinner (but less flexible) than copper-based cables and less susceptible to interference from other electronics in your home or office, making them ideal for crowded spaces like offices and homes where you may have multiple devices running on different frequencies all competing for bandwidth at once.

And because they don’t conduct electricity, they’re safe and easy to install in any room without fear of electric shock or fire hazard.

The biggest disadvantage of fiber optic cables is their price tag.

While fiber optic networking can be cheaper than traditional networking over time thanks to its higher bandwidth capabilities and lower maintenance needs, it’s still much more expensive upfront than most other options for extending Ethernet networks over long distances.

Read our blog here about is it better to unplug than switch off?

How Do 100 Ft. Ethernet Cables Affect the Signal Quality?

The answer is: not much. Longer Ethernet cables have less impact on signal quality if you use Cat5 or Cat6 cables. They are designed to be used for higher speed (more Mbit data) and therefore are wired in a way that you will experience less signal loss.

However, a 100 feet internet cable will typically not cause much signal loss unless you’re using an older cable of cat4 or less.

The latest cat8 cables will carry up to 40 Gbit of data and are the best internet cables you can get today. That, however, is MUCH more speed and data than any household will need.

For 100 feet of internet cable, you’ll be fine with cat5, cat6, or cat7.

Can a Huge Coiled Ethernet Cable Cause Trouble?

It’s fine to coil up excess internet cable regardless of what type it is. Cat5, cat6, cat7, and cat8 ethernet cables all work just fine when coiled up. They will not generate heat or lose signal in any way.

You can safely coil up the extra ethernet cables you have laying around and just toss it behind a piece of furniture.

However, you should NEVER hide or store electrical extension cables behind furniture or carpets. They may get hot and cause trouble.

What Happens If an Ethernet Cable Is Too Long?

In the world of networking, long distances can create lag, delay, and quality issues. If you’re playing a game online and there’s a lag between your movement and the video feed, it can be frustrating.

The longer the cable, the more likely you are to experience these issues.

This is mostly relevant when playing first-person shooter games. These games will often require the gamers to react lightning fast and that cannot happen if you have extra lag caused by super-long ethernet cables.

Is a Wi-Fi Signal Better Than a Really Long Ethernet Cable?

A wired ethernet cable is always better than using a Wi-Fi signal. A wired computer will have faster internet and lower lag and ping time. Unless we’re talking several hundred feet of ethernet cables compared to sitting next to a strong 5 GHz Wi-Fi router.

Have you ever wondered if you should replace your Ethernet cable with a Wi-Fi connection? Sure, a long Ethernet cable can be convenient, but it’s also bulky and cumbersome.

If you want to get rid of all those wires, then maybe it’s time to consider wireless connectivity.

 

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