Network Cabling Testing (for home)

In summary, the individual is having some remodel work done on their house and they will be adding a new CAT7 run and replacing old coax. They are wondering if there is a hack to test the speed of the new cables and have found a website that describes a way to test home network speed. They are also concerned about the actual Mbps capability of the new and old cables and how it may affect their network performance. However, they have been reassured that the max cable data speed is the same for all installations and if their card connects at 1Gbps, they are most likely getting 1Gbps.
  • #1
Imager
Gold Member
112
61
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!
 
Last edited:
Computer science news on Phys.org
  • #3
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.

jedishrfu said:
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/

Imager said:
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
Imager said:
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.
 
  • Like
Likes berkeman
  • #5
Evo said:
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
Imager said:
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
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
Imager said:
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.
 
  • Like
Likes Evo
  • #9
rbelli1 said:
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
Imager said:
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
Vanadium 50 said:
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
rbelli1 said:
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
stoomart said:
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
stoomart said:
Commodity hardware most people have around the house cannot fully utilize 1Gbps

I get ~850 Mbps routinely on GbE. This is SSD to RAID.
 
  • Like
Likes stoomart
  • #15
Vanadium 50 said:
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.
 
Last edited:
  • #16
rbelli1 said:
That will certainly change in not so many years (months?)
I don't see this changing for home devices in the forseeable future, given that even 4K video streaming only comsumes ~30 Mbps.

http://blog.streamingmedia.com/2015/01/4k-streaming-bandwidth-problem.html
 
  • #18
stoomart said:
I don't see this changing for home devices in the forseeable future, given that even 4K video streaming only comsumes ~30 Mbps.

Vanadium 50 said:
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
rbelli1 said:
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
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.
 
Last edited:
  • #21
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.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes Imager
  • #22
Evo said:
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
UsableThought said:
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
Evo said:
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
UsableThought said:
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.
 
  • #26
Tom.G said:
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.
If there are no intermediate devices (router, switch, hub) from your apartment to the central switch, the issue there is likely one of the 4 wire pairs is not connected properly, because 100BASE-TX only uses two of those pairs, and 1000BASE-T uses all four pairs.
 
  • Like
Likes Tom.G
  • #27
Evo said:
ISP would probably do it for free

Sadly, Cox will not replace existing cabling in the house for free.

Evo said:
more expensive than using one provider for both services

At least here in Phoenix, you can save a lot, by switching your TV provider ever couple years. Sad to say, but both DirectTV and Cox treat new customers better than existing customers. Unfortunately, Cox is the only "decent" ISP in my area and they don't even offer gigabit service to my neighborhood.
 
  • #28
I'd rather not discuss if I'm an idiot or not, lost that argument to way to many girlfriends in the past. The goal is find a cheap way test good cables installed by a less than qualified electrician.
 
  • Like
Likes berkeman
  • #29
Imager said:
Sadly, Cox will not replace existing cabling in the house for free.
At least here in Phoenix, you can save a lot, by switching your TV provider ever couple years. Sad to say, but both DirectTV and Cox treat new customers better than existing customers. Unfortunately, Cox is the only "decent" ISP in my area and they don't even offer gigabit service to my neighborhood.
Ok, I guess you are making the right choice given your options, sorry if I came across rude, it just seemed very confusing that DTV was running cable across your house forcing you to then run your own cable back to another room instead of placing outlets where you needed them.

Almost all big providers offer incentives to new customers while raising the rates to their existing customers, that's common practice and one I also dislike.
 
  • #30
stoomart said:
If there are no intermediate devices (router, switch, hub) from your apartment to the central switch, the issue there is likely one of the 4 wire pairs is not connected properly, because 100BASE-TX only uses two of those pairs, and 1000BASE-T uses all four pairs.
Ahh, good point. Thanks. I'll look into that. I wasn't very impressed talking to the installer that 'fixed' the original useless wiring.
(Hopefully the building manager will allow me into the locked data closet.)
 
  • #31
Evo said:
sorry if I came across rude

Not at all, definitely not my intention to imply.

Many thanks for your's and other's help.
 
  • Like
Likes Evo
  • #32
Tom.G said:
30 feet of interior coax

Which is not ethernet. The Cable connection has a variety of modulation schemes of varying speed to handle degraded signals. This is just not the case with Ethernet. The highest speed supported by both sides will be attempted. If your connection is with bent coat hangers and both sides support 10Gbps then they will try that and you will not get a connection even if 10Mbps would work. You can however slow the connection down and it will use the slower speed.

stoomart said:
the issue there is likely one of the 4 wire pairs is not connected properly, because 100BASE-TX only uses two of those pairs, and 1000BASE-T uses all four pairs.

Also the pairs need to be pairs. If you swap the + wires of two pairs and not the - wires you will not get a connection. If the + and - wires of a particular pair are not actually paired in the cable you will only get a short distance before the connection drops out.

Most modern equipment doesn't care what pair goes to what pair on the other end as long as they are connected.

BoB
 
  • #33
The best way to find out if your cabling was done right is to use a cable tester. This is what I use.
https://www.staples.com/Hvtools-Cab...r-Cable-RJ11-RJ45-HV251452CT-/product_2426541

If you don't want to do that, you can connect a computer at both ends and then do a sustained data transfer between the two and have the systems measure the bandwidth. If you're comfortable using linux (ubuntu live) then you can give this a try. Boot ubuntu on both systems, call them Host A and Host B

Host A will listen for a connection and Host B will connect and send a string of zeros several GB in length.

Host A
$ ncat -v -l 4444 >/dev/null &

this commands tells the system to run netcat. -v is the verbose flag so you see some messages. -l tells netcat to listen. 4444 is the port number to listen on
>/dev/null means whatever ncat gets, delete it without writing anything to the drive

Host B
$ dd if=/dev/zero bs=1GB count=5 | ncat Host_A_IP_Address 4444

dd is a copy program, if is the input source=a string of zeros generated by the processor, bs is the size of each chunk=1GB, and count is the number of chunks=5
we pipe the output (5x1GB chunks of zeros) into ncat and tell it to connect to Host_A
on port 4444
Host_B will send a 5GB string of Zeros to Host_A. Host A will immediately delete them. Host_B will then give you a summary of how much data was sent and how long it took.

The idea is that nothing touches the hard drive so you get a true measure of how fast your network links actually work.
This is the output from running the test between two of my systems.
5+0 records in
5+0 records out
5000000000 bytes (5.0 GB, 4.7 GiB) copied, 44.627 s, 112 MB/s


I know that I have Gigabit network cards on both systems and my router also has gigabit ports. So I expect my transfer rate to be running at 1Gbps.
My transfer rate was 112MB/s, which is apprx. 896Mbps. This is normal. You'll never get the full 1Gbps because there's always overhead.

P.S. Please keep in mind that even though you have cat7 cables that are capable of doing 10Gbps, your systems probably can only do a maximum of 1Gbps. As others have mentioned, 10Gbps equipment is enterprise grade and generally costs a lot of money (hundreds or potentially thousands of dollars).
Cat5e (or even Cat5 on a short run) can do 1Gbps so you may not actually see any difference at all in network speeds.
 
  • Like
Likes stoomart

Related to Network Cabling Testing (for home)

1. What is network cabling testing?

Network cabling testing is the process of checking the physical infrastructure of a home network to ensure that it is properly installed and functioning correctly. This includes testing the cables, connectors, and other components to ensure they are able to transmit data at the desired speed and without errors.

2. Why is network cabling testing important for a home network?

Network cabling testing is important for a home network because it ensures that the network is able to function at its optimal level. It helps to identify any potential issues or errors in the cabling, which can affect the performance and reliability of the network. By testing the cabling, you can ensure that your network is able to handle the demands of your devices and applications.

3. How often should network cabling testing be done for a home network?

The frequency of network cabling testing for a home network depends on several factors such as the age of the cabling, the number of devices connected, and the type of applications being used. In general, it is recommended to test the cabling at least once a year to ensure that it is still functioning properly. However, if you notice any issues with your network, it is important to test the cabling immediately to identify and resolve any problems.

4. What are the common types of network cabling tests for a home network?

There are several types of network cabling tests that can be performed for a home network. These include continuity testing, which checks for any breaks or shorts in the cabling; length testing, which measures the length of the cable to ensure it meets the required standards; and performance testing, which evaluates the speed and data transmission capabilities of the cabling. Other tests may include signal testing, crosstalk testing, and attenuation testing.

5. Can network cabling testing be done by a non-professional?

While it is possible for a non-professional to perform basic network cabling tests, it is recommended to have a professional technician conduct the testing. This is because they have the necessary knowledge, experience, and specialized equipment to accurately test and troubleshoot any issues with the cabling. Additionally, professional testing may be required for warranty purposes or to ensure compliance with industry standards.

Similar threads

Replies
9
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
19K
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
4
Views
3K
  • General Discussion
Replies
1
Views
907
  • Electrical Engineering
Replies
8
Views
7K
Replies
5
Views
5K
Replies
4
Views
5K
  • Electrical Engineering
Replies
20
Views
5K
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • General Discussion
Replies
30
Views
4K
Back
Top