General Question

majorrich's avatar

Is CAT3 wire still usable these days?

Asked by majorrich (14711points) August 4th, 2015

I ran out of CAT5a cable just in time for my last pull into my family room to a WAP. It seems to test out fine, but when I try to stream video, it quickly shows signs of slow data transfer. I only have a 50mb feed at the cable, I capped the port at 30mb well within the CAT3 spec. The pull is only 60 feet. Should I be looking at the ends or the cabling to figure this vexation?

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8 Answers

majorrich's avatar

Nuts! Pulled out my old dusty books and right there in front of me was that 10mb limit. See what 13 years off will do to ya! That was a tough pull too. I guess I can pull it back through.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Don’t do it. CAT3 is twenty years old and was called “voice grade” cable. For a reason.
For a pull that long I used CAT6 eight years ago, cost wasn’t that much different from CAT5, I had someone else drill and pull between two floors at three level (went to crawlspace from first and then up to second floor.) Whole house is Gigabit Ethernet, all routers and switches are Gigabit. I can stream anything within the house. TWC just upgraded me to 300mbs. :>)

elbanditoroso's avatar

Cat 3 was obsolete for internet speeds around 1995. It simply doesn’t have the carrying capacity or speed you need.

majorrich's avatar

I pulled CAT5 and am getting pretty good speed and way less damaged packets. A bit of a latency problem when pinging, but it’s pretty stable. I have a giant pile of cable out in the shed mined from a building we re-wired just before I retired. Mostly cheap net, but a lot of cat-3. Boy that was back in the day. Thanks Guys! I find I can still terminate and make patch cables too! At least I home-ran everything to a patch panel. Not multi-level, but built in the ‘60’s so each room is like a faraday cage. Mesh under the wallboards and crazy crap like that. The house is just really long with these mesh walls all along the way. I put in AP’s, but am wanting to learn more about repeaters so a user can pass from one part of the house to another without signing into a different AP. An old phone guy has a lot to learn to get up to you guys speed. Unless it’s old-school fiber splicing.

Strauss's avatar

@majorrich Just curious, was the Faraday cage effect intentional, or just a result of building methods used (e.g., mesh under the wallboards?

majorrich's avatar

I dont believe it was. The first time I took out a stubby bit of wall that had no reason to be there I found the wallboard was only 2 feet wide, but doubled, then the mesh, then plastered! I took a specimen to a builder at church and he told me in the early days of wallboard, some builders didn’t trust the wallboard and did crazy stuff like that. It happened when they were switching from lathe and plaster to wallboard. Apparently this guy put the mesh up to hold his plaster. I ran into it again putting exhaust fabs in the bathrooms. The ceilings are a solid 2 inches thick.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@majorrich look into Powerline WiFi where you use the 110AC to carry the signal to areas that have a WiFi limit. You need at least two compatible unit to connect. Worked for a FM classic rock in the 1970’s I sold air time. The radio station that had to build a Faraday cage because they moved the studio up to the mountain that had the transmitter. So was a Top 40’s FM station, the Gates turntable with Gray arm and cartridge for playing the albums picked up and the cartiridge rebroadcasted the neighbor station. Studio was in a copper window screened room, include floor and ceiling.

Strauss's avatar

@majorrich Interesting. Before I retired about 4 years ago, I was working for a security company. You would recognize the name, They were introducing the then new technology for online monitored systems, and had wireless sensors and cameras. These wireless units were actually wifi repeaters, so they would expand the homeowner’s wi-fi area. Of course, repeater technology has its limits, but it sounds like a technology you should at least check out.

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