The maximum distance an Ethernet cable can have

When we are going to wire our house, an office or a company, we must think about the length limitation of the Ethernet network cables. While optical fiber can have a maximum distance of several kilometers, in Ethernet technology this is much more limited. Depending on the standard that we are going to use, such as 1000BASE-T, 2.5GBASE-T, 5GBASE-T or 10GBASE-T, we have requirements for both the cable category and the maximum length, so it is necessary that you comply with the maximum distance if you do not want to have connectivity problems.

Maximum distances according to standards

The maximum distance an Ethernet cable can have

Depending on the 802.3 standard used and the category of the cables used, we have a maximum distance that we must use to comply with the regulations. However, our recommendation is that you never reach the limits and put a switch at intermediate distances to regenerate the signal, in this way, your network will be much more reliable, especially since it is possible that we go very far, since it also enters external interference and the quality of the network cable are at stake.

  • 1000BASE-T : The typical 1000BASE-T standard or also known as “Gigabit Ethernet” allows us to have a maximum distance of 100 meters with Cat5e or higher wiring . This is what the theory says, but once the corresponding cable is installed, it is highly recommended to test it electrically and verify that it works correctly, so as not to have sporadic disconnection problems when using the network. This maximum distance is per segment, that is, from one switch to another switch, for example. A very important detail is that we could have greater distance by connecting several switches in cascade, to cover a greater distance in case it is necessary.
  • 2.5GBASE-T : This standard, also known as 2.5G Multigigabit, allows us to have a maximum distance of up to 100 meters per segment with Cat5e or higher cabling . In this case we would be the same as in the 1000BASE-T standard, also if you want to increase this maximum distance, because you could add several switches to go further without problems.

Elegir cable Ethernet

  • 5GBASE-T : This standard is also known as 5G Multigigabit, in this case it allows us to have a maximum distance of up to 100 meters per segment with Cat 6 or higher wiring . In this case it is mandatory that the network cable is Cat 6 or higher, it does not happen as in the previous ones that it was enough to use Cat 5e. In this case we could also increase the distance by connecting several switches in between, or some kind of repeater.
  • 10GBASE-T : This standard allows us to have a maximum distance of up to 100 meters per segment if we use Cat 6A or higher cabling . In the case of using Cat 6 cabling, we have several limitations regarding the maximum distance. In the case of unfavorable crosstalk we will be able to have a maximum distance of up to 37 meters, in the case of favorable crosstalk we can reach up to 55 meters. However, the quality of the cable from different manufacturers cannot be guaranteed, so it would be best to electrically test the cable once installed.

As we have explained before, it is highly recommended to electrically test the cables before putting the entire network into production, to verify that everything is working correctly. A very important detail is that there are currently PoE switches oriented to video surveillance that allow us to cover a distance of up to 250 meters in length in the same Ethernet segment, yes, at a speed of 10Mbps using the 10BASE-T standard.

This speed of 10Mbps is sufficient for this type of video surveillance use, as long as the camera does not have too much bitrate, of course. In addition, we could also install extenders with 100 meters of range for each network segment, in this way, we can further increase the distance, for example, in the case of the D-Link DSS-100E-9P switch we can have up to 250 meters of distance, and purchase the D-Link DPE-302GE to extend this distance an additional 100 meters, with a maximum of up to 650 meters total.