bencat

Changing Ethernet Cables

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Super Wammer

Yes I know I am getting a little sketchy with this but it is going to be something that will calm my OCD feelings and glad to say not really cost that much to complete. Like I suspect many of us on here who have a home network much of it connected with ethernet cables I just use the one supplied in the box or drag a spare out from the cable box and fit it , lights go on everything looks fine forget about it .

I realise now that I have never thought or even considered what the cable was CAT 5 , 5e , 6 , 6e , 7 or whatever some will be shielded some will not . Now they will all work and they will all do the same job . Recently I have had a few cable failures that have caused me a number of problems and after changing one for a spare from the cable box I ended up thinking that i should consider this network of cables and do something.

So a little reading on the specifications of each type and then a decision that I would change all of the ethernet cables within my system to a single type and preferably the same cable from one single supplier to give an easy consistency through out the network . Now this was not for any idea that it would sound better and I am certainly not going to be spending huge amounts on any exotic wires . After coming to this idea late at night while trying to sleep I have done the research today and then looked around for a suitable cable offer. To my delight Amazon have an offer that i think is hard to beat 5 x 1 meter cables for a Tenner including postage . As most of my cables are only 1 meter items this means i can do a very cheap and cheerful exchange and then have a consistent connection right across the house. I do have a couple of longer wires in two places but I will just replace these once the others are in place hopefully from the same supplier and using the same cable .

As I say I am not expecting any miracles or even any changes but it will give me that feeling of having done something that has made things consistent and i can then forget about it . Will most likely post when this has been completed over the next week or so .

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Super Wammer

Right all done now with the same cable (CAT 7) for all connections . As I expected no sound quality change for better or worse . However there has been a change in the picture quality for my Amazon Cube . In the past this had been a little flaky but now seems clearer to look and very stable watched the football yesterday and no drop outs and really good detailed picture. What this has made clear to e is that ethernet cables seem to suffer over time unlikely to be the wire itself presume it is the connector that has issues after a while. For £20 in my case it is sensible to change all of them and again in my case leave you with 4 spare cables .

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Good to see you found an improvement.

FWIW when I was buying ethernet cables for my hifi and nearby electronics I, rightly or wrongly, just went for appropriate options that seemed to offer good shielding to minimise risks of introducing an unexpected issues.

So I have three of these running from my network switch to devices (including my streamer):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08D3TB4F5/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and this from my switch back to my router:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07RKLW79S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I strongly suspect that more networking literate members here will probably say I could have found much cheaper options to achieve the same though :).

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Six months ago I bought a Switch and Cat 8 ethernet cables at no great cost.  This resulted in a noticable improvement in sound quality.  Tv picture quality improved significantly when I bought an Audioquest Carbon HDMI cable which was not cheap.

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Posted (edited)

baring in mind I've got a degree in computing science where I specialised in networking, and I've worked in telecomms for more than 20 years, I don't actually know what the best answer is here :)

I still just use generic decent cables for normal use. for home networks provided it's a decent brand and you can get the throughput you expect then I just tend to save the money, I don't think you're really going to notice much from interference for general home usage even if you have it, Ethernet & IP will take a lot to break especially when you have high speed in home traffic going on - doubt you'll ever generate too much demand or noise to kill a gigabit home network for example.

for Hifi I can see the rationale on it being a different story though, I'll confess I've not bothered to look into it in a lot of detail but I can see an argument for shielded cables and generally trying to be careful about power cable location and interference - but more as a way to prevent noise from entering the hifi system

The thing is the Ethernet standards include filtering, cross talk and interference is a big thing in telecomms. And all the usual debates on power are relevant versus the risk of the Ethernet switch/hub being noisy on the power line.

I've not made my mind up how far's best to go, I'd say be wary of snake oil, there's better things you can do to isolate your hifi from interference of CAT5/6/7 cables or other networking gear, just make an optical spur for your hifi for example, and treat the networking power as you do now any other power in your system. EDIT: for clarity I just mean on the Ethernet switch that the hifi is directly connected to i.e. the hifi gets it's own dedicated switch on the same power solution, you connect out of that on optical so it's completely isolated. I'm not convinced about audiophile ethernet switches...

On 29/09/2020 at 23:17, ziggy said:

Six months ago I bought a Switch and Cat 8 ethernet cables at no great cost.  This resulted in a noticable improvement in sound quality.  Tv picture quality improved significantly when I bought an Audioquest Carbon HDMI cable which was not cheap.

sounds like you didn't have enough bandwidth, did you upgrade from 10Mpbs switch to 100Mbps or 1000Mbps? or maybe your had some very cheap and nasty chinesium network cable?

Edited by Phobic
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Posted (edited)

I'm not sure about ethernet cables but buying a little tplink switch was a great cheap upgrade, I've had it for about 7 months now and I've listened without it quite a few times but the sound is just better with it in place, I don't know the reasons behind why but what I can say is that at £29 pounds, I'm sure it's not just me trying to justify it to myself. The reason for buying it was because I seemed to be getting micro drop outs, they disappeared which was a good result but the improvement in sound quality was a real bonus. 

Edited by BettisDad

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7 hours ago, BettisDad said:

I'm not sure about ethernet cables but buying a little tplink switch was a great cheap upgrade, I've had it for about 7 months now and I've listened without it quite a few times but the sound is just better with it in place, I don't know the reasons behind why it but what I can say is that at £29 pounds, I'm sure it's not just me trying to justify it to myself. The reason for buying it was because I seemed to be getting micro drop outs, they disappeared which was a good result but the improvement in sound quality was a real bonus. 

Which model did you purchase? 😬

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, tIANcI said:

Which model did you purchase? 😬

I forget the model number, it was about £30 from Pc World. It has 4 ports on it. 

Edited by BettisDad

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Super Wammer

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If I’m just using a single component for Ethernet, would a switcher be any help?

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Super Wammer

That really depends on if you currently have a problem with your streaming such as drop outs and other connection issues . if you do then a switch might help . If not then there is little point . I have had one in my system because of network issues and it helped with that but in mt case there was no change to the sound quality . The switch has now died and i have had an engineer out who identified the issue in the incoming box in the house this has been replaced and things have improved so far I have not bothered to replace the switch .

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36 minutes ago, bencat said:

That really depends on if you currently have a problem with your streaming such as drop outs and other connection issues . if you do then a switch might help . If not then there is little point . I have had one in my system because of network issues and it helped with that but in mt case there was no change to the sound quality . The switch has now died and i have had an engineer out who identified the issue in the incoming box in the house this has been replaced and things have improved so far I have not bothered to replace the switch .

Ok! Noted. Thanks.

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22 hours ago, bencat said:

I'm using this very similar model from Netgear:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/NETGEAR-Ethernet-Unmanaged-Internet-Splitter/dp/B07PYSNSDD/ref=sxts_sxwds-bia-wc-drs1_0?cv_ct_cx=netgear+switch&dchild=1&keywords=netgear+switch&pd_rd_i=B07PYSNSDD&pd_rd_r=f82e8a87-4e56-428b-bb16-0346bfb59c69&pd_rd_w=53eVq&pd_rd_wg=vaTFP&pf_rd_p=58b1746b-653c-476e-a8ef-0c423b08dc74&pf_rd_r=H841J5BFWWHY5X2M491N&psc=1&qid=1602053397&sr=1-1-5a42e879-3844-4142-9c14-e77fe027c877

I went for a metal case version as I thought it might offer better shielded for RFI getting out.

I only bought this switch as I wanted to connect multiple sources though and did didn't notice any obvious difference from introducing it compared to the few days when I had a direct cable connecting just my streamer to my router. This is on the end of a 25 m cable to my router.

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TL:DR:  Advice sought on whether a port/splitter/switch results in a loss of data, or am I just being silly?

Similar question here if I may, about the impact of switches/ports on data.  I use an active speaker in the kitchen downstairs (with Sonos, I expect to press go on Bluesound shortly) and the sound drops out, infrequently but often enough to be a pain.  My IT friends tell me wi-fi's all very interesting but it's always better to hard wire where possible, which makes sense, and once the wire's in, it's fit and forget (well it would be for me).

The speaker in the kitchen isn't far from the router/hifi stuff so with a bit of floorboard pulling up I could put a hard-wire in, which might help.  Mrs Valley Dweller, newly working from home, wants a hard-wire to her office upstairs and at the same time I could fit a new (hard-wired) speaker in the bathroom (next door to her office) as I'm fed up replacing the batteries in the radio there.

Could I run a single cable from the router/hifi to a switch/port unit under the floorboards and run separate LAN cables off that, or are there disadvantages to this, such that I'd be better advised to run separate LAN cables all the way from the hifi/router to each speaker?  I am not proposing to put a £5k system in the kitchen and bathroom, just a speaker, so there's a limit to how much SQ variants would be heard, if indeed there would be any....  

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Super Wammer

Couple of answers to this which can assist you to make your own decision . Firstly how many unused outputs do you have on your router ? Mine and most of the home routers I have seen only have four plus a WAN output . If this is the case for your Router then I would not use all of the outputs hard wired as you may need a wired output at some stage for something else and then you either have to unplug one or buy another router with more outputs .

Network Switches do not result in any loss of data as if they did then most small and large companies would be in big trouble as most networks are littered with Cisco Switches which provide links through out the office . They are also heavily used in Banking and other networks were any drops or loss would be a major problem .  While the domestic units are not made to the same standard or cost as the commercial units they are often made by the same companies who make the commercial units and if they failed this could have a very damaging effect on their reputation in the market. If you feel at all nervous then you can buy used Cisco units with 16 outputs for around 30-40£ and these are as good as any .

In my view if I was doing this I would use a Network Switch with a minimum of eight outports and then hard wire from that . Connect it up and make sure it is working as you want before putting under floorboards or somewhere hard to get at (I say this because i normally forget this sort of easy test and have bitter experience of having to get the unit back out to find I missed something obvious ) . Once fitted and connected this should be pretty much as you want fit and forget . One last piece of advice make sure you buy a managed switch which will automatically make the connections and allocate priorities according to use . Never used an unmanaged switch but not sure how easy they are to set and deal with remotely which is the unit is hard to get to could make this a pain .

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