Network Cabling Testing (for home)

  • #1
Imager
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I’m having some remodel work done on a couple rooms in my house. They will be adding a new CAT7 run and replacing the old coax (at least 20 years old). Is there any sort of “hack” I can do to test the speed of the new cables? The only thing I can think of is just moving my laptop around running a speed check, but that limits me to the COX cable speed of about 140 Mbps up and 12 down. I couldn’t find any rental equipment in the area and the “electrician” only has circuit testor. Any ideas are appreciated!

Here is some detail on what’s going to happen:

For internet, they’re going to run a new coax cable from the Cox cable box on the side of my house through the attic into my office/computer room (connected to the cable modem). Then they will add a CAT7 run from my office/computer room across the attic into the den. The den has the gaming console, AV receiver, DVD, TV, etc. Right now, everything in the den is on WiFi going about 70 feet and though at least 2 or 3 block walls.

I am using DirectTV, not Cox for TV, so they will also pull a new coax from the side of the house across attic into the Den. If a picture helps:
upload_2017-6-28_14-7-59.png


And just in case, they are leaving the old runs!
Thank you!
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #3
Imager
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I guess I'm missing something, to me this doesn't look doesn't look any different than the speed test I tried. I have looked at some others but they appear to also be internet speed tests. I don't have a LAN just cable modem, switch and Wifi, but maybe that's enough to call it network.

I found this site that describes one way to test your network and understand the data

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/test-home-network-speed-decipher-results/
The only thing I can think of is just moving my laptop around running a speed check, but that limits me to the COX cable speed of about 140 Mbps up and 12 down.
 
  • #4
Evo
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Is there any sort of “hack” I can do to test the speed of the new cables?
What do you mean by "test the speed of the new cables"? The speed is limited by what you have it connected to. If you want to test transfer speeds between devices on your lan (two devices in your home directly connected by the cable and not going through a router, modem , internet, etc...) jedi's link is good.
 
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  • #5
Imager
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What do you mean by "test the speed of the new cables"?
I'd really like check the actual Mbps capability in both the new and old cables. The Cat7 and new coax should be a lot better quality than the old stuff.
 
  • #6
Evo
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I'd really like check the actual Mbps capability in both the new and old cables. The Cat7 and new coax should be a lot better quality than the old stuff.
I'm sure it is.

For example, when I worked for AT&T, the fibre cable we laid ages ago did not have to be replaced in order to increase the speed, we simply needed to replace the equipment at each end that was capable of transmitting at higher speeds.
 
  • #7
rbelli1
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Once you connect up your network cable you can view the properties of your network cards. That will tell you the raw speed of the network. Common values are 100Mbps and 1000Mbps (1Gbps). Less commonly 10Mbps for very old equipment and 10Gbps or more for very expensive new equipment. Usually these are established at full duplex so you get that speed in both directions.

If you attempt to access the cable above its capabilities you will usually have intermittent problems rather than a usable system with reduced speed. Your cable is rated for 10Gbps networks so you probably don't have to worry about exceeding the capability. One caveat is that a poorly terminated cable may cause the previously mentioned intermittent problems.

The effective speed with relatively modern equipment should net you above 90% of those values.

If you have a large number of users connected to one switch doing large transfers you may have a bottleneck in the network switch. See the manual for its maximum packet rate.

After that the exact details of what you are doing will greatly affect the performance. Speed testing where you discard the data immediately will get at or near full bandwidth. Reading from one flash stick to another on the other side of the network will barely take any bandwidth.

BoB
 
  • #8
berkeman
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I'd really like check the actual Mbps capability in both the new and old cables. The Cat7 and new coax should be a lot better quality than the old stuff.
The max speed is defined by the cable standards, not by the installation. Why would your Cat 7 installation be different from any other? The max cable data speed is the max cable data speed. Until you get a GB internet connection and router in your house, you should not need to worry about this, IMO.
 
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  • #9
Imager
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ou can view the properties of your network cards. That will tell you the raw speed of the network.
Thank you rebelli, that is what I was looking for!

FYI, the speed test link is where I got the speeds in my first post.
 
  • #10
Vanadium 50
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Thank you rebelli, that is what I was looking for!
I don't think so. If the card can do 1 Gbps, that doesn't mean the cabling will support that.

That said, if the cable is undamaged, why do you think it won't perform up to spec? And if it's damaged, why do you think you will see a signal at all?
 
  • #11
rbelli1
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If the card can do 1 Gbps, that doesn't mean the cabling will support that.
True.

However if your card connects at 1Gbps and appears to be working well then you are almost certainly getting 1Gbps. If it connects and then everything you try to do causes the network card to reconnect or crash then you are exceeding the cable/connection's capabilities. This may bee seen as a very slow connection as some data may flow between connection attempts.

The most confusing case I saw was a 1Gbps cards connected over CAT3.Windows was capable of retrying/reconnecting enough that a login was possible and it saw the internet as connected. Everything looked perfect. Actually using any network resources was impossible.

I concede that it may be possible to have a middle ground but I have never seen that.

BoB
 
  • #12
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if your card connects at 1Gbps and appears to be working well then you are almost certainly getting 1Gbps.
Commodity hardware most people have around the house cannot fully utilize 1Gbps (even with a direct-link crossover cable), let alone 10Gbps that CAT 6/7 support; these kind of link speeds require server-class hardware (CPU, RAM, HDD/SSD, NICs, and switches). CAT 5e is more than sufficient for household use.
 
  • #13
rbelli1
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Commodity hardware most people have around the house cannot fully utilize 1Gbps
I will agree with that except in the contest of pure bit rate testing. It is certainly possible to saturate that pipe with dummy bytes.

That will certainly change in not so many years (months?)

BoB
 
  • #14
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Commodity hardware most people have around the house cannot fully utilize 1Gbps
I get ~850 Mbps routinely on GbE. This is SSD to RAID.
 
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  • #15
Imager
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That said, if the cable is undamaged, why do you think it won't perform up to spec? And if it's damaged, why do you think you will see a signal at all?
During the remodel, I have an opportunity to pull cables, so I’m going for it. Unfortunately, it is the electrician pulling the cables and making the terminations. (I can’t afford an actual network guy). So, I’m looking for some way to test if the cables can work up to their specs, not just what my ISP provides.

Hopefully with the new cables, I’ll be ready for gigabit services when they come to my area.
 
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  • #18
rbelli1
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I don't see this changing for home devices in the forseeable future, given that even 4K video streaming only comsumes ~30 Mbps.
I get ~850 Mbps routinely on GbE. This is SSD to RAID.
I'm not saying 1Gbps is going to be absolutely necessary in the near term but with enthusiast hardware like Vanadium's you can nearly saturate the line with a file transfer now. In the near term 1Gbps may become a limiting factor for some practical tasks.

Even 100Mbps may not limiting for many or most common tasks now but someone will likely find something soon. 1Gbps will follow in time. 10Gbps will likely be a standard feature on computers too in time.

Imager, your installer will have to make some serious mistakes to make that cable not perform at 1Gbps. If they foul up the installation for 10Gbps you always have the option to re-terminate it in the future. Its pretty hard to damage the cable itself and rather expensive to measure it in any case.

BoB
 
  • #19
Imager
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If they foul up the installation for 10Gbps you always have the option to re-terminate it in the future.
Thank you, I was hoping this would be my worse case scenario.
 
  • #20
Evo
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Do you realize that your connection to the internet is likely to directly connect to the cabling your ISP brings into your house, not what you have installed, what you install would be for connections to other devices in other rooms? Of course, if you go wireless, then that's a non-issue.

Are you concerned with your internet connection or hardwired connections to other rooms?

From your diagram, you show you will be using Direct TV as your ISP and they will be connecting across your house to the den, then for some odd reason, you have opted to run cable from the den back across the house to your office. Why don't you just ask Direct TV to put the outlet in your office? I had my ISP install outlets in every room. They did that for free. Now I have gone with a wireless router, so I no longer even need the extra outlets.
 
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  • #21
Tom.G
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In theory, I agree with the above "don't worry about it" comments.

Edit: Just found a link for memory-to-memory LAN speed testing. They are up to vs1.3. http://www.totusoft.com/lanspeed1

However:
Direct experience from installations in two different buildings conflicts.

The first occurence was when I moved about 4.5 yrs ago to a building about 45 yrs old. The cable company installer showed up early afternoon. The building was already wired so all that was needed was run 30 feet of interior coax and register the modem with the central office. He used his handheld terminal to accomplish that and everything looked good. The lights on the modem said it was connected. We then connected the computer. Modem lights looked good, computer made 1GB connection to modem... and no Internet connectivity. We fought it for a couple hours and he called in for some assistance. Another installer showed up about 5:30pm and said "I just pulled some new coax from the distribution amp. Connect to that and see what you get." Bingo! Everything worked.

Second occurence was about six months ago after another move. This was to a 90 yr old building that was stripped to the structure and completely rebuilt. Free Internet included... eventually. After some mis-wiring and billing were straightened out, it arrived. There is about 60ft of CAT-5E cable from my computer to the central switch. Using 6ft of CAT-5E cable in the apartment, my laptop connects at 100Mb, when carried down to the basement and connected directly to the switch it connects at 1Gb.

So you can catch gross errors by checking the hardware connection speed.

A Google search shows CAT-5E good for 100 meters at 1Gb and CAT-7 100 meters at 10Gb. (But I'm getting less than 20 meters. :cry:) But I'm good, peak download speed is 80Mb/s.
 
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  • #22
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Of course, if you go wireless, then that's a non-issue. <snip> Now I have gone with a wireless router, so I no longer even need the extra outlets.
Just to mention it: consumer grade wireless can sometimes run into trouble with distance and/or walls. We have a single fairly new wifi router in our living room; however our house is built as a rectangular split-level, 64' on the long side; and we experienced trouble with slow download and streaming speeds at the far end where we have our offices on the second floor. To solve this I hard-wired an extension router to live in the basement stairwell below the split level. So I still like the idea of hardwiring in some extra capability, wireless or no.
 
  • #23
Evo
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Just to mention it: consumer grade wireless can sometimes run into trouble with distance and/or walls. We have a single fairly new wifi router in our living room; however our house is built as a long split-level, and we experienced trouble with slow download and streaming speeds at the other end of the house where we have our offices on the split-level "second floor." To solve this I hard-wired an extension router to live in the basement stairwell below the split level. So I still like the idea of hardwiring in some extra capability, wireless or no.
I agree, wireless is not always ideal, but the OP seems to be dealing with a hardwire solution which I am yet to understand. Look at his diagram at the beginning of this thread. Is he looking at an internet connection or connectivity between rooms? And why? Why didn't he just have his ISP install an outlet in his office? Let's wait for him to respond and stop jumping to conclusions. :smile:
 
  • #24
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the OP seems to be dealing with a hardwire solution which I am yet to understand. Is he looking at an internet connection or connectivity between rooms?
It's a bit confusing, I agree. Re-reading the OP's original post, he is actually using two different providers, each with its own wiring: Direct TV is for the TV only, and will run to the den only (right side of the house diagram). Meanwhile Cox Communications will be for Internet only; the ISP wiring will run to the modem in his office, and from there a local cable will run to an outlet in the den.
 
  • #25
Evo
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It's a bit confusing, I agree. Re-eading the OP's original post, he is actually using two different providers, each with its own wiring: Direct TV is for the TV only, and will run to the den only (right side of the house diagram). Meanwhile Cox Communications will be for Internet only; the modem will be in his office, with a local cable from there to an outlet in the den.
Yeah, that's very confusing, why on earth would anyone do that? I would like to hear from the OP. That seems to be much more expensive than using one provider for both services. Not even taking into consideration what he's paying for the cable he's having installed at his own expense when an ISP would probably do it for free.
 

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