Thursday, January 26, 2017

Product review: Cat7 Shielded Ethernet Patch Cable 100ft Black

I am using this cable to run the connection from the server room on the second floor to the lower level in the house. Cat 7 cable is best for such long distances.

Before running the cable through the wall I ran several tests to test cable's reliability. I ran iPerf which is a Linux utility that measures TCP/IP bandwidth. I ran it in bidirectional mode for 60 seconds between two Linux systems via a 24 port switch. I used ethtool, which is the Linux Ethernet adapter configuration tool, to determine if any errors occurred and the test showed no errors. The cable works reliably. At the end of the review I am including the details from the tests for those who are interested in the details.

Some of my non-techie friends sometimes ask me if the length of the cable matters. In general CAT7 cables are rated for Gigabit Ethernet for over 100 meters, CAT6 is rated for 100 meters, CAT5E is fine for shorter distances such as 35 feet. However the longer the cable the higher are the chances of errors. TCP/IP protocol used over the Ethernet connection is written in such a way that it expects errors and corrects them so as an end user you are likely not to see any problems but correcting errors takes extra time. The general rule is that you want the shortest cable that will work for you.

CAT7 is designed for as a standard for Gigabit Ethernet over 100m. It is considered more durable and provides better shielding for its twisted pairs than CAT6.

One other thing I look for is the construction of the clip on the end of the cable. I like the clips with a catch to prevent snagging the clip and to reduce the chances of it being broken off accidentally. This cable has a nice catch, firm but not too firm that it is difficult to operate.

The package also includes four Velco strips and some hanging hardware.

This cable was provided for me for evaluation and running some Ethernet reliability tests. If this makes you skeptical about what I say examine my record and you will see that I have a long history leaving critical reviews when products deserve it. The bottom line is that the cable performed well in my tests.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Technical details from the cable reliability tests:
iperf -t 60 -c servername -d
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.3 KByte (default)
Client connecting to servername, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 289 KByte (default)
[ 5] local port 47070 connected with port 5001
[ 4] local port 5001 connected with port 51212
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 5] 0.0-60.0 sec 6.51 GBytes 931 Mbits/sec
[ 4] 0.0-60.0 sec 6.48 GBytes 928 Mbits/sec

On the Scientific Linux 6.8 system that is connected directly to the test cable,

ethtool -S eth1
NIC statistics:
tx_packets: 6197000
rx_packets: 5957289
tx_errors: 0
rx_errors: 0
rx_missed: 0
align_errors: 0
tx_single_collisions: 0
tx_multi_collisions: 0
unicast: 5956399
broadcast: 219
multicast: 671
tx_aborted: 0
tx_underrun: 0

On the Fedora 24 system that connects via the switch,

ethtool -S enp0s31f6
NIC statistics:
rx_packets: 6190843
tx_packets: 5947836
rx_bytes: 8560555338
tx_bytes: 8564916288
rx_broadcast: 407
tx_broadcast: 8
rx_multicast: 167
tx_multicast: 63
rx_errors: 0
tx_errors: 0
tx_dropped: 0
multicast: 167
collisions: 0
rx_length_errors: 0
rx_over_errors: 0
rx_crc_errors: 0
rx_frame_errors: 0
rx_no_buffer_count: 0
rx_missed_errors: 0
tx_aborted_errors: 0
tx_carrier_errors: 0
tx_fifo_errors: 0
tx_heartbeat_errors: 0
tx_window_errors: 0
tx_abort_late_coll: 0
tx_deferred_ok: 0
tx_single_coll_ok: 0
tx_multi_coll_ok: 0
tx_timeout_count: 0
tx_restart_queue: 0
rx_long_length_errors: 0
rx_short_length_errors: 0
rx_align_errors: 0
tx_tcp_seg_good: 125498
tx_tcp_seg_failed: 0
rx_flow_control_xon: 0
rx_flow_control_xoff: 0
tx_flow_control_xon: 0
tx_flow_control_xoff: 0
rx_csum_offload_good: 6190756
rx_csum_offload_errors: 0
rx_header_split: 0
alloc_rx_buff_failed: 0
tx_smbus: 0
rx_smbus: 0
dropped_smbus: 0
rx_dma_failed: 0
tx_dma_failed: 0
rx_hwtstamp_cleared: 0
uncorr_ecc_errors: 0
corr_ecc_errors: 0
tx_hwtstamp_timeouts: 0

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