Main menu


Does Ethernet Cable Length Affect Internet Speed?

Does Ethernet Cable Length Affect Internet Speed?

Does your Internet use require a stable connection? Or do you want to connect more than one device in separate places inside the workplace or in your home, and the Wi-Fi signal can't cover it? Here the "Ethernet" or "LAN" wired connection becomes the best and most suitable option, since it is superior to Wi-Fi in terms of connection stability, as we have explained through the article, the difference between using the Internet via Wi-Fi and cable. But using Ethernet isn't as easy as some people think, just plug in a cable and you're done! There are considerations for ensuring a stable and fast connection, including Ethernet cable type and length. The most important question is: does the length of the Ethernet cable affect the speed or quality of service as a whole? In this article, we will answer this question in detail.

The Ethernet cable is known to connect directly to the Internet or the LAN of the router, and it is made of copper wires that transmit data in the form of electrical signals. Because Ethernet cable is copper, electrical signals passing through it are weakened by resistance, therefore all Ethernet wires are limited to a maximum length. This means that if you use a longer Ethernet cable than expected, you will notice a drop in internet speed and, at other times, a complete disconnect.

What is the maximum Ethernet cable length?

As you probably know, Ethernet cables are divided into several categories, each with its own capacities and capabilities, and the top priority of which is data transfer speed. For example, CAT-5 can provide data transfer speeds of up to 100 Mbps, and as such, CAT-5e can provide speeds of up to 1000 Mbps.

All Ethernet cables, regardless of type and capacity, have the same maximum cable length, which is 100 meters. This makes sense, because the deeper you dig into the higher Ethernet types, the more powerful specs you get, such as better isolation to reduce crosstalk and thus maintain stable speed. The thickness of the copper wire also plays a role in reducing the resistance. Therefore, you find that the higher classes of Ethernet cables contain thicker or thinner copper wires.

Let us highlight three classes that are exceptions to the length limit problem, namely CAT-6, CAT-7a and CAT-8. In general, you can enjoy class CAT-6, where class CAT-7a is manufactured according to specific standards, so you are unlikely to need it as an ordinary user, and class CAT-8 is used in data centers and with units that send huge data.

Although the CAT-6 class can provide speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second at a length of 100 meters, at a length of 37 to 55 meters (i.e. 121 to 180 feet) it is capable of delivering speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, depending on the intensity of electromagnetic interference. As for the CAT-7a class, it can provide speeds of up to 50 Gbps at 50 m in length and downgrade to 10 Gbps at 100 m in length. As for CAT-8, it has a maximum limit of only 30 meters and a speed of 40 Gbps.

One last thing to keep in mind regarding Ethernet cable length is "channel length." Channel length refers to the total length between a device (computer, TV, etc.) and a router, switch, or hub. Therefore, if you directly connect the cable between the device and the router (for example), it is not possible to skip the total length, the same goes for using subscribers to extend the length.

Is it possible to exceed Ethernet cable length limits?

All Ethernet cables are limited to a maximum length of 100 meters, but this does not mean that the size of the network is limited. You can use the switch to amplify the signal, so you can transmit data farther. You can also use Ethernet to Fiber converters. When optical fibers depend on glass wires and light to transmit the signal, they are considered less likely to deteriorate or weaken the signal, as is the case with copper wires, so they can be used to transmit signals over longer distances.

Although Ethernet cables have a maximum length, this issue shouldn't be of concern to the average user, as they usually won't need more than 10-20 meters. However, if you have multiple devices and need to use longer cables, it is important to consider the maximum length issue to avoid performance issues.