Routers, Switches, Cabling, Access Points, Repeaters, etc all discussed here
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I was just wondering, with Dante and AVB round the corner, what my next 'snake' should look like. Are there any issues with UTP I should be aware of before I put down my money?

Reading up on Dante and AVB, up to 100m both standards seem to be happy with CAT-5 cables. But would investing in say a CAT-6 cable have an advantage over CAT-5? Or STP (shielded)?

And then the physical properties of the cable. Solid wire CAT-5 is dirt cheap but for obvious reasons wouldn't survive live use for long. Even without breaking any wires the (data transport) quality would degrade with every twist and bend. So stranded it'll be, I guess. Or maybe there's a cable out there with a super tough sheath that makes solid an option still?

As for stowing the cable: over/under, figure 8, a reel? Is there any issue with using a 100m snake with 70m still coiled up?

And what about the connectors? RJ-45 yes, but the computer version doesn't seem to be very roadworthy. I know Neutrik does a proper version but that's only an option when the interface cards have the sockets for it. So have a patch board in the back of the racks? That would also prevent folks from ripping the sockets out of the interfaces should they yank the snake...

Anyways, lots of thoughts. Feel free to chime in with suggestions and experiences, good or bad :D
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by miltondavis on Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:44 am
The Neutrik Ethercon is a great way to go if you have the facility to use it. There are ruggedized CAT5e cables available. Take a look at TMB's line of ProPlex cable at:
http://www.tmb.com/products/49-proplex-ethernet
We use this stuff in the lighting industry all the time and you can drive over it with a fork lift.

So far as shielded vs non-shielded goes, there are religious wars fought over that subject. Ethernet is inherently transformer isolated so there are no ground loop issues. The twisting of the wire pairs is what buys you most of the robustness. Shielding is nice but not necessary in my mind. CAT6 vs CAT5e is a similar discussion. CAT6 is only a more tightly controlled set of specs over CAT5e. It can go to a higher bandwidth, but our audio hardware doesn't go up to the speeds that CAT6 can handle. It's sort of like putting premium gas in a car that only needs regular. It will work, but it probably buys you nothing.

On storage, a coiled up cable presents no problem. Reels or over/under are my choices. The only caution is to truly avoid kinking and physical stress. Cables like the ProPlex stuff are designed for rough usage, but it's still more delicate than a mic cable. I treat my Category cable like I would treat a traditional snake cable; it's just smaller and lighter.

Regards,
Milton Davis

Regards,
Milton Davis
SL16.4.2, MacBook Pro, Win 7 64bit, FaderPort, HP4, AB22VSL, iPad 3
JBL PRX615 mains, DB Technologies FM12 monitors
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by Monoskier on Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:31 am
I agree with everything Milton said. The one thing I'd add would be to buy your cable in bulk and get yourself a cheap cable stripper/crimper and a tester. That way you can always make a new snake in a matter of minutes. Yeah, the rugged cables can better handle being run over by a road case but they are still prone to kinks and that can easily kill a Cat5/e/6 cable. The great thing is that, even in a pinch, you can run to a home depot and get yourself a new snake for under $25
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by SwitchBack on Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:40 am
Fork lift. Yeah, that sounds about right :D I'll check out those cables. And the crimper is in the toolbox :D

The shielding is an RF thing obviously. We all know the typical noise of an incoming call on a too nearby mobile phone. Will that mess with unshielded CAT-5 communication? As for CAT-5 vs. CAT-6 I cannot quickly work out how close to the wire Dante and AVB operate, and how much bruising a CAT-5 cable can take before Dante/AVB or even the AI control communication is hampered. Will CAT-6 give a little more insurance there or is the difference negligible?

Hope to get a few more comments in. Anyone having problems with digital snake wiring? Is 100m about right, or more, or less?

Oh, and what's the going price of copper? I may have to sell something soon ;)
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by miltondavis on Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:19 pm
Shielding starts working at about 7MHz. Below that the magnetic fields just pass through the shield. It's the twisted pair differential signalling that makes balanced audio and Ethernet work.

Will CAT6 perform better or give you more headroom? In my opinion, no. That's only my opinion and it's worth everything you paid for it ;-)

The 100 meter limit is supposed to be the absolute maximum. When installing cable in the walls, we allow 90 meters in the wall to leave enough for patch bays and cables from the wall to computers, consoles, etc. If you are making a single direct run, you can go the full 100 meters. I usually carry a short cable and a long one. If I don't need the 100 meters, I go to the 25 meter or the 1 meter. It's still much less weight and volume than the snake.

Regards,
Milton Davis
SL16.4.2, MacBook Pro, Win 7 64bit, FaderPort, HP4, AB22VSL, iPad 3
JBL PRX615 mains, DB Technologies FM12 monitors
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by SwitchBack on Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:06 pm
miltondavis wroteShielding starts working at about 7MHz. Below that the magnetic fields just pass through the shield. It's the twisted pair differential signalling that makes balanced audio and Ethernet work.
Sooo, shielding should help against injecting the mobile phone's 400Mhz+ registration call into the system, yes? Or maybe a couple of ferrites do a better job...

miltondavis wroteThe 100 meter limit is supposed to be the absolute maximum. When installing cable in the walls, we allow 90 meters in the wall to leave enough for patch bays and cables from the wall to computers, consoles, etc. If you are making a single direct run, you can go the full 100 meters.
Good, 100m it is :)

miltondavis wroteI usually carry a short cable and a long one. If I don't need the 100 meters, I go to the 25 meter or the 1 meter. It's still much less weight and volume than the snake.
Well, somehow at some point my long cables tend to end up as a couple of short ones almost all by themselves :D So as long as there's no connection issues with having most of it on the reel then I can start long and see how it goes ;)
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by wanderingprod on Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:02 pm
the 100m is a tia/eia network cable standard. you will still get connectivity at longer lengths. just a reduced bandwidth. a cat 6 at longer than 100m, maybe 150m and you will still be good. keep in mind we are talking meters. 325 feet is a long way even in a permanent install. Worst case and avb capable network switch located in a closet then keep on going.
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by ralphkersten on Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:57 am
I think I attach my questions to this thread:

Is it ok to mix CAT5e and CAT6 cables in the network with an AVB switch?
At Thomann store they're selling CAT6E. Never heard of this spec. Does anybody know if this is just a CAT6 cable or won't it work in the network?

Thx in advance for your replies
Ralph

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by wahlerstudios on Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:53 am
PreSonus says that you can use both kind of cables and technically seen there should be no problem to use CAT5e and CAT6 cables in one network. But if there are problems, then it's probably the different kind of cables... ;-)

The recommendation is to use either CAT5e or CAT6. It must be CAT5e, not CAT5 - and CAT6, not CAT6e. In Germany/Europe you might search for DAP CAT5e on eBay. I use these kind of cables (FL55, non-Ethercon) and do not need anything else.

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by ralphkersten on Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:30 am
wahlerstudios wrotePreSonus says that you can use both kind of cables and technically seen there should be no problem to use CAT5e and CAT6 cables in one network. But if there are problems, then it's probably the different kind of cables... ;-)

The recommendation is to use either CAT5e or CAT6. It must be CAT5e, not CAT5 - and CAT6, not CAT6e. In Germany/Europe you might search for DAP CAT5e on eBay. I use these kind of cables (FL55, non-Ethercon) and do not need anything else.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think I'll follow your advice.

Presonus Studio One Professional 4.5.2 | Steinberg Cubase Pro (10.0.30) | Workstation (i7 32GB RAM) & Microsoft Surface 4 Pro (i7 16GB RAM) both x64 w/ Windows 10 Pro (1803) | Motu 828mkII Hybrid | Komplete Kontrol S-88 | Behringer X-Touch | Arturia KeyLab 25 | Steinberg CMC Controllers | Presonus StudioLive 32 Series III Console | Presonus StudioLive 32 Series III Rack | Tascam 85-16B Tape Recorder

http://www.pumpstoss.com
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by klypeman on Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:30 am
On your drum you still have a CAT 5e/CAT 6 Neutrik connection right ? As long it is safely placed and connected to the stage box I would not worry about it. Rolled up or not it is.

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by matthewseymour on Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:51 am
Something that some folk I know have found helpful is to remember that Dante is not an audio thing, it's a network thing. So forget what any audio folk tell you and talk to networking folks. Cat5 UTP is fine for a 100m run device to device. Yes you can go further but you're out of spec. Shielding is largely unnecessary unless you're in an environment that's got some heavy interference. Not likely to be an issue.

You're not going to be running more than gigabit ethernet so cat6 doesn't offer any immediate benefit to you, but often it's as cheap if not cheaper these days.

My personal approach has been to buy reasonable quality deployable stranded cat5e UTP that doesn't cost a fortune, and buy more of it. It's light and easy to move around. Two runs is an easy option and if your Dante system will do Primary/Secondary you can have two runs hooked up at the same time.

AVB is a different beast. Should still be good over cat5e but it isn't standard networking in the same way that Dante is. Other non-networked protocols such as AES50 can be problematic without shielded cat6. I'm not sure why this should be, but always consult the manufacturers recommended cabling specs and test in your environment.

For Dante, if you're within the spec for IEEE 802.3ab in a reasonable environment you're good. You can push the length if it's a single run, and you can even get away with joins (neutrik do a nice ethercon back to back junction box) without issue... push it too far and you'll get CRC errors on the network which equates to packet loss and a world of glitches in Dante.

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