● Wi-Fi & Ethernet Networks - Technical Specifications
To get slightly technical, there is a real performance difference between a typical unmanaged Gig Ethernet installation using a low cost combi Router/Switch w/WiFi utilizing CAT5—and a managed network with VLAN's, QoS/Prioritized Traffic, run on properly terminated Shielded CAT6a which has been field-tested for bandwidth verification, etc. In addition Full Property Wireless Coverage plus Guest Access with Enhanced Security/Privacy are usually part of a sophisticated network. Redundant Firewalls or a VPN are also optional.
Note: for hardwiring high end music servers to a network switch we recommend CAT7, not because of the added bandwidth, but for the the superior shielding.
For those unfamiliar with the above acronyms:
VLAN = Virtual Local Area Network
QoS = Quality of Service
VPN = Virtual Private Network
There are 3 basic types of cable construction:
UTP - Unshielded Twisted Pair
CAT5 vs. CAT 5e vs. CAT6 vs. CAT6a vs. CAT7 vs. CAT7a:
Cat 5e up to 100MHz - UTP or FTP
With upgraded cable there is less signal loss, less crosstalk and "alien crosstalk", less reflection, and more bandwidth. As opposed to typical unshielded cable, shielded cable (with the proper termination) can provide more isolation from interference.
Note: We do not recommend using plain old CAT5 cable as the bandwidth does not support GigE.
Network Cable Termination
For proper cable termination compliant plugs are a requirement. And the proper crimper for the precise type of cable and RJ45* plug needs to be utilized when a cable is custom or field-terminated. In addition a compliant and "centered" plug is required in order to do proper testing.
Note: A typical patch cord may or may not have a properly "centered" plug. In a properly installed network each cable, regardless of how long or short it is, needs to be properly made.
*Note: CAT7a networks utilize CG45 or TERA connectors. The CG45 is backwards compatible with the RJ45 by the use of a switch within the jack that changes the pole layout from 8 contacts in a line (as in the RJ45), to four pairs of contacts at the corners. Whereas the TERA is non-backwards compatible.
As of 2016, for WiFi installations we recommend utilizing 802.11ac access points.
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