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Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?

Joe Offer 09 Nov 09 - 09:03 PM
Bill D 09 Nov 09 - 10:08 PM
Rapparee 09 Nov 09 - 10:14 PM
TonyA 10 Nov 09 - 08:52 AM
treewind 10 Nov 09 - 09:12 AM
GUEST 11 Nov 09 - 02:57 AM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 09 - 03:12 AM
JohnInKansas 11 Nov 09 - 04:12 AM
Louie Roy 11 Nov 09 - 02:22 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Nov 09 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 11 Nov 09 - 10:00 PM
EBarnacle 12 Nov 09 - 12:04 AM
Acme 12 Nov 09 - 12:17 AM
Joe Offer 12 Nov 09 - 01:46 AM
GUEST 12 Nov 09 - 05:29 AM
Acme 12 Nov 09 - 10:08 AM
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Subject: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 09:03 PM

I've been struggling with very slow DSL Internet service for two weeks, and I've had the AT&T technician out twice. Every once in a while, my service is normal, but usually it's too sluggish for anything but text. The AT&T tech checked connections in the switching center, and everything seemed normal. She decided there must be something wrong with my home telephone wiring, and suggested I rewire the phones with Cat-5 wire. I plan to do that tomorrow, replacing a 100-foot phone line run with Cat-5.
But should this be happening? I've had good DSL service for 2 years, except that my AT&T 2-Wire modem went out after 18 months and had to be replaced with a Netgear modem.
Any suggestions or techniques or cautions for Cat-5 wiring?


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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 10:08 PM

Joe.. I use CAT-5 for my network, just because I was not sure wireless would work in my house. It works fine..(one piece is a 50 ft. run.)

I suppose it would be ok....but like you, I wonder why it worked before and is spotty now...

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 10:14 PM

It gets filled up with byte dust from the data bits rubbing together?

Joe, I'd go with Cat 5e or whatever the latest is. I suggest you don't do this yourself, because putting RJ-45 connectors, male or female, onto Cat 5 is a b***h of a job AND you'd better have a tester or you'll go through a LOT of RJs before you get the cable to work. If you can, go buy a hundred foot cable and just plug an' play.

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: TonyA
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 08:52 AM

I had a similar experience, with Verizon DSL. The service was great for 2 years and then started having intermittent problems, and then didn't work at all. The new wire solved it. Tech support said it worked for the first two years because the modem was new, but then the modem got weaker and would only work with the stronger signal provided by the proper wire.

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: treewind
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 09:12 AM

CAT5 won't help at all on the phone line side, unless the wires are actually faulty e.g. leakage caused by damp, or corroded connections. If it's that kind of fault, any replacement wire will work, and standard indoor telephone wiring cable would be the obvious choice.

If your modem is a router and is part of an ethernet LAN, and you're talking about the LAN cabling, then the LAN should certainly be CAT5, but I don't think that's what you meant.

It could be your router/modem again. I assume you've tried switching it off and on - forcing it to retrain can sometimes make a bad connection work better.


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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 02:57 AM

Joe - the phone and the modem are VERY different cables.

Try these people - they are almost in your backyard, VERY reasonable and can ship overnight.

Do you have a working line filter 1 Port ADSL Single-Line Filter?

Does it vary with humidity? External temperature? Sunlight? Pop the cover and spray WD40 on the outside junction box terminals and/or clean and reconnect them.

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 03:12 AM

Well, I connected the Cat-5 wiring today, and now I have excellent Internet service. The AT&T tech said the main difference is that the wire pairs on the Cat-5 cable are twisted, and that stops signal noise. Also, I now have an unbroken, direct cable run, instead of connecting at a junction box in the basement. Using Cat-5 is overkill, since I used only one of the four pairs of wires in the cable - but it work.
Still, I wonder why things worked perfectly with normal phone cable until one morning two weeks ago.
The Cat-5 cable cost me $55 for a 500-foot box at Home Depot, and was much more expensive at other places I checked. I needed only a hundred feet, but a hundred-foot coil was almost $30 and I wanted to have more for good margin. Now, I have lots more.
I didn't have to worry about modular plugs because I had screw connections at both ends.

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 04:12 AM

In my area AT&T has been pretty good with the installation advice, if you can get past the sales people and get to the "service and installation" folk.

That said, I've gone through three modems in about a year and a half of DSL use. In our old house, there was quite a lot of "user installed" inside wiring, and we had considerable trouble with phone lines run across the floor under carpet. (Two jacks, on two separate lines "disconnected" spontaneously when the carpet was vacuumed.)

The common indoor phone wire is two twisted pairs. Only one pair is needed per phone connection, and often if a line goes bad a "fixer" will swap wires. IIRC, the black and yellow are twisted together, and the green and red are twisted together. If someone uses a green/black, green/yellow, red/black, or red/yellow "pair" you're almost guaranteed to get crosstalk - which may be tolerable on the voice lines but could interfere pretty seriously with DSL.

Your DSL connection should be directly through a "master" filter with both a DSL modem (R45) jack and a standard phone jack. Ideally this filter will be plugged into a phone jack close to where the phone line enters the house.

Opinions vary, but most better installers will insist that every phone in the house should be plugged into its jack through a separate filter. If the wiring is very "clean" you can sometimes omit the individual phone filters and rely on the "master filter" to keep the DSL and phone signals isolated from each other; but an unfiltered phone that "wasn't used much a year ago" but is now more frequently used could explain the change in DSL performance - according to some of my installers.

AT&T has added different "tiers of service" for DSL since I first signed up. In my area the lower tiers are theoretically limited to lesser bandwidth than the ones that cost a little more. The level of service you subscribe to may have acquired sufficient traffic in your area to be more frequently "limited." While the service limits are sometimes expressed as "maximum (mega)bytes per month" the method of control often is lowering the "bytes per second." A neighbor downloading lots of movies (or porn) could cause the ISP to cut back the line capacity, affecting you along with the offender (in some areas where there's more traffic than on my lines?).

Cat 5 wiring is probably better for any parts of your wiring that carry the DSL signal. It shouldn't be required, but might be worth considering especially if you have fairly long wire runs. Cat 5 is constructed with twisted pairs just like the common phone wire, but each pair is (theoretically) separately shielded in currently available sub classes, along with another shield around the whole wire bundle. This helps to give more consistent "propagation delay" and less likelihood of crosstalk between lines (as long as you don't pair unpaired lines).

As described in the Wikipedia article on "Cat 5" (sorry I didn't save the URL last time I looked), prior to Cat 5e there was no real requirement that wire/cables advertised as Cat 5 actually perform as intended. Lots of "Cat 5" wire was advertised as "tested to ..." without any indication of whether the wire passed the test - and a lot of it apparently didn't pass. Cat 5e theoretically is required to actually be tested and to pass the tests; but it hasn't really been around long enough for many reports about how well the new requirements are enforced. (Buy only from reputable sources.)

If you have a router in your setup, the router may require something other than the default connection, and occasionally the ISP may flip you back to the default so that you have to do it over. My LinkSys router requires a "non default" POP3 configuration that was rather complex to set up with my first DSL connection, and resets required a couple of times when AT&T made changes required that it be (partly) done over; but AT&T (and/or LinkSys) updated their site to provide a "quick setup" almost painlessly by the time we re-connected after our recent move. The only problem was that the sales people (most of AT&T's websites) and "tech support" you can get to through ordinary channels didn't know where the required page is. Only the installers could tell me how easy it is now. (When someone tells you something that works, get their phone number and keep it handy. You've found the very rare AT&T support person with skills you'll need.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: Louie Roy
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 02:22 PM

Joe it appears that you have your problem fixed.I had DSL through Qwest for ten years and had problems periodotically all the time especially when the weather changed and of course when you called a technician your were on hold for an hour and then you got someone you couldn't understand and the advice they gave you was disconnect the modem for 10 second plug it back in and the problem would go away.Sometimes this did work but the problem was still there.Finally I got fed up and cancelled my Qwest DSL and went to wireless and tht was the smartest thing I've done for a long time.Now I get 1.5 all the time for 39.99 instead of 45.00 from Qwest and it is local so if I have a problem I can drive 4 miles and talk to a technician.Another thing wireless furnishes the modem at no cost to you where DSL gave you a choice of renting one for 5.00 a month from them ar purchasig one for 60.00.I recommend to anyone who is having trouble with their DSL through phone company that if wireless is available in their area to switch

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 04:53 PM

Wireless is a viable option in some places, but our recent experience with it was rather unimpressive.

After selling our previous house, we spent about two months in the camper, moving from place to place and using a variety of wireless connections to keep up to date with our email.

We can't assess the relative costs, since the connections we paid for were "short term contracts" (by the day, week, or month) but connection reliability and "truth in advertising" both were pretty much non-existent. For a couple of weeks the local wireless provider put a portable repeater about 60 feet from our camper, and the connection was still "spotty," even when useful signal strength was indicated.

At our former house, we were in a wireless-less dead zone. Even cell phones were nearly unusable. My son, with his latest and greatest blackberryish phone (I'm not sure exactly what his $300/month was paying for) was unable to get stable wireless connection, although elsewhere his "phone" gives him decent email and web surfing. He has similar problems at both his own home and at our new house, but is pretty much stuck with the service because it's the only one he's found that doesn't charge attrocious "international roaming charges" when he crosses between the US & Canada.

IFF you're where there are good signal strengths available from a competent operator, wireless is excellent; but until you check with the nearby neighbors it's not possible to assume that it will be a great experience in your own home. Most large (and reasonably civilized) communities should have a wireless operator to give good results. It ain't the case - generally - in Kansas.


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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 10:00 PM

JOE - glad your problem is solved. Network adapters/routers seems to have a buffer/ram/cache and it appears to improve DSL speed.

I have set up what I believed might be a "honey-pot" on wireless.

The router is getting activity.

My problem to intercept the connectivity for capture.

LOTS OF ACTIVITY....but I want know ... what the bots know.


A screen is too small, and paper to expensive...and reading in quartoes awkward.

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 12:04 AM

We have both wireless and DSL on our set up. The CPU is wired and we're running a DSL Cat-5 to the CPU in the basement. All of our laptops are equipped with wireless G and DSL capability. As a rule, they operate on wireless with no problem.
PS, it's Verizon but not FIOS and the wireless usually run better than the wired on the same hub.

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: Acme
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 12:17 AM

Joe, I'm surprised 100' of cat5 was $30. I've bought a few 100' sections lately and they're about $15 - $20. Maybe it's higher in California? Anyway, I've been replacing old phone wiring in my house. It doesn't help the quality of the phone conversations because we have a crappy AT&T signal (lots of noise on this end of the village). But I have a cable for Internet and then run the data lines (also cat5) from the router.

I'm putting in all new cables and linking into the rooms with multiple port faceplates with data line (the larger plug), phone line, and also a cable port. New houses often have these things go to many rooms automatically, I'm able to move around in my attic easily and I am replacing them this fall. I have the kitchen and two bedrooms to do yet and then I'm finished.

Rap, it isn't difficult at all to wire that stuff. I have been using those Leviton parts (the female plugs--and I use the pre-fab cables for connecting things like the computer to the wall).


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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 01:46 AM

Yeah, the female RJ-45 jacks look like they're pretty easy to wire - since they mount in the wall, they don't have to be so compact or sturdy as the male plugs.

I looked only at Fry's and Home Depot for my Cat-5 cable, and bought the 500-foot box at Home Depot for $55. They charge a whole lot more for shorter lengths. I'm sure I'll find use for the cable sooner or later. I do a lot of phone wiring for people.

Today, Fry's had Cat-6 cable on sale, 1000 feet for $69.99. But all the Cat-6 cable I've seen is blue. I'm not sure that blue cable on the side of the house would win wifely approval.


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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 05:29 AM

The cable wholesalers noted about sell for as low a 4.6 cents a foot and in a rainbow of colors starting with grey. 100 foot with molded boot 8.29.

Not all CAT is the same. They have a good series of articles on quality: index.php?section=Support&body=Technical%20Articles

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Subject: RE: Tech: DSL - does Cat-5 wiring help?
From: Acme
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 10:08 AM

It makes sense to use cat5 these days because there might be other applications that will use more of those wires in the future. Running a single phone on cat5 obviously gives you three other lines to use, etc.

Those Leviton plugs are easy to wire. They come with a punchdown tool and you simply have to be consistent in which pattern you use (I use the "A" pattern, the most typical approach). If you're using the cat5 with the phone plug you'll see that the brown pair of wires seem to have nowhere to go. But there is an uncoded pair of slots beyond the three color-coded ones, and I just work out the logical continuation of the pattern for deciding where the white striped wire versus the solid brown wire goes. I've run all of my cables to a central hall closet and down through the ceiling to a panel I put up. I can adjust what goes where (I have a router that will run up to four devices, not counting wireless, but more than four rooms are wired with data plugs. I run a signal to the rooms I choose.) I set up my phone on a star pattern versus the old home run pattern (running around the house from phone to phone). The phone used to be wired all from an outside terminal thing, and I've now run one wire from that point to a bridged expansion board in the house and I wire the new phones from that plate. They sell a mounting system for a bunch of these things, but I didn't think I needed it. I built a little cabinet that I mounted on the wall, and I'll put a simple hinged cover on it when I'm finished. Here's the page for some of the other expansion products they have.


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