Longer LAN cables are slower

More speed via LAN cable - this is how it works

Thomas Rau

The home network only runs quickly and stably via LAN. It's easier than expected: with the right tips, the cables can be laid easily and elegantly. You can also read here how you can make any computer fit for the gigabit speed at low cost.

There is always something going on in the home network: the PC receives e-mails and updates, the NAS does a large system backup, TV and game consoles want to be supplied with online videos and games, and smartphones and tablets play films and music as multimedia players . The home network can only work quickly, stably and without accidents if all devices are optimally connected to one another. The best way to get up to speed on the network is through the LAN cable. But not all devices can be connected this way. Therefore, you should work with cables as much as possible in the home network and only use WLAN and Powerline for the last few meters.

Setting up the home network: The fast way to the optimal speed

All devices can be connected using the three technologies of cable network, WiFi and powerline. If a connection has to be fast and stable, Gigabit LAN is the only option: You should therefore connect the NAS for extensive copying and backup tasks via cable as well as the television, which is to receive high-resolution video streams or the TV program. Even a PC on which you often perform extensive downloads - and even a Windows update qualifies for it - finds its optimal place in the network via cable.

At home, notebooks and tablets are often used stationary rather than mobile: For example, you have a fixed workplace where you can sit down at the laptop, or you pull out the tablet from the living room couch, especially for surfing. Nevertheless, the LAN cable is not an alternative connection here, because on the one hand you want to leave yourself the freedom to move the device to a different location or it simply lacks a suitable interface. This is where an access point comes in: a long distance can be covered by LAN cable or powerline, and a wireless network can only be opened where you actually need it.

For smartphones, whose location is constantly changing, or for areas outside the four walls such as the balcony or garden, which can only be reached with a LAN cable, WLAN is the best solution. To increase the coverage or the speed of the wireless network, use WiFi repeaters or mesh systems. Powerline is used as a bridge technology when cabling is not worthwhile or the WLAN cannot be expanded sufficiently - for example, when network devices on different floors in the house are to come into contact with one another.

Inventory: How to check the connections in the home network

If you are building your home network from scratch, you can skip this section and continue reading the following technical tips. Otherwise, you should first get an overview of your existing network so that you know exactly where to start in order to accelerate the home network.

The Fritzbox offers the best overview: From Fritz OS 6.90 you will see a large graphic in the router menu that includes all devices that are connected to the Fritzbox via LAN, WLAN, DECT or USB, as well as the current connection speed. In addition, the Fritzbox also shows the connection technology. For AVM routers with an older Fritz OS version, you will find this information under “Home network -› Network - ›Network connections”.

See also:Max out the Fritzbox: Do more with the router

Gigabit speed for every computer: that's how it works

EnlargeActivate gigabit LAN on the Fritzbox.

A rule of thumb when setting up a network is: "The cable, the faster". Therefore, the network cable should be used when connecting all home network devices that have to be integrated at high speed and with a stable connection.

The easiest way to do this is to connect the relevant devices to the router switch using a LAN cable. It should be able to handle gigabit speeds: Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit / s) is sufficient for the speed of most Internet access. To connect home network devices such as NAS at high speed, gigabit (1000 Mbit / s) is mandatory - and also future-proof. Check whether your internet router is gigabit compatible - with a look at the manual or the browser menu. Some models of the Fritzbox are a special case: They have a gigabit switch, but some LAN ports are factory-set to 100 Mbit / s in order to save power. You can change this setting in the Fritzbox menu under "Home network -› Network, network settings "by activating" Power Mode "for the relevant ports.

If your router only has one Fast Ethernet switch or too few LAN ports for all speed-sensitive devices in the home network, you should buy an additional gigabit switch. If the router switch is too slow, it will of course not accelerate the connection to the Internet, but the data exchange in the local network. To avoid connection problems between the home network devices, you should only connect the switch to a LAN port of the router via its uplink socket using a network cable and not connect any home network devices directly to the router switch. If the switch does not have a designated uplink port, it should be possible to use any connection; the switch then automatically detects the connection. Devices that require high speed, such as PCs, NAS and Smart TVs, but also powerline adapters or access points, with which you can expand the home network, are now connected to the switch. A gigabit switch with five ports is available for around 20 euros - for example the TP-Link TL-SG105 -, an eight-port model like the Netgear GS108GE for around 35 euros. These so-called “unmanaged switches” are sufficient if you just want more cable connections. A “managed switch” can be managed via the browser menu, for example to set up virtual LAN segments (VLAN).

In order to achieve the highest speed in the home network via cable, all devices involved must of course support Gigabit LAN. You can find out whether this is the case with PCs, notebooks and NAS by looking at the manual. In the case of Windows computers, a look at the device manager is also helpful: The LAN card is listed under “Network adapter”, the name of which usually gives an indication of its speed.

Gigabit LAN can be easily and cheaply retrofitted for the PC: A corresponding plug-in card for the PCI Express slot costs around ten euros. If your PC does not have a suitable slot, you can use a PCI LAN card with gigabit speed: However, this older bus system does not guarantee that you will always get the full gigabit speed. You can equip a notebook with a gigabit adapter for USB 3.0 - cost around 15 euros. USB 2.0 is too slow to fully utilize Gigabit LAN.

Make LAN cables a perfect fit

“Crimping” is the technical term for precisely cutting network cables. This not only allows the cable to be laid in exactly the length you want, you can also run it through narrow holes to create a connection between rooms. To do this, you buy LAN cables of sufficient length, 100 meters of CATe5 cables are available for around 15 euros, for example.

You also need crimping pliers, RJ45 plugs (around 20 cents each, around eight euros for a pack of 100) and, if desired, a corresponding number of plastic grommets as kink protection (100 pieces for around three euros).

First slide the grommet over the end of the cable. If the cable is to be led through a hole in the wall, you must of course first pull it through without the grommet. Then use the crimping pliers to loosen the plastic sheath of the cable so that around two centimeters of the cable cores are exposed. Now detach the individual wires from each other and align them so that the following color sequence is created from left to right: orange-striped, orange, green-striped, blue, blue-striped, green, brown-striped, brown. Hold the ends of the cables and cut them so that they protrude ten millimeters from their sheath. Now push the cables into the RJ45 connector until they are right at the front. Behind it, part of the cable jacket should sit in the connector. Now press firmly on the connector with the crimping pliers to fix it in place. Now repeat this process at the other end of the cable, if necessary, to get it the desired length.

NAS, televisions, consoles or set-top boxes cannot be upgraded with Gigabit using an expansion card if the interfaces only offer Fast Ethernet speed. If you need very fast pace, you will need to buy a new device.

The right cables for the highest speed

The suitable cable for Gigabit LAN is called CAT5e. 15 meters of patch cables are available for less than ten euros. In addition to the length and category, you will always find a note on the shielding of network cables: For the private home network with mostly short cable runs, UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) is sufficient, which is also the easiest to lay and cut. Crossed cables are no longer necessary, gigabit hardware automatically detects via auto-negotiation which cable end it is connected to. However, you should make sure that all four wire pairs of the cable are occupied. There are also CAT5e cables with only two assembled wire pairs, which is only sufficient for Fast Ethernet speeds. In order to be sure whether you have the right cable, connect, for example, the gigabit router and the gigabit port of the Windows PC and click on this connection in the Network and Sharing Center of the Windows system settings: If in the "Transfer rate "The specification" 1.0 Gbit / s "is shown, everything is fine. Those who do wiring frequently can afford an inexpensive test adapter: a cable tester for around 15 euros immediately shows whether the cable is OK.

EnlargeIf you do not know whether your PC is equipped with Gigabit, the Device Manager can help.

With Gigabit LAN, the cable between two connected devices can be up to 100 meters long. However, you should always lay network cables precisely so that nobody is bothered by them or they become a tripping hazard. As a rule of thumb, the appropriate cable length is twice the straight line between the devices that are to be connected. You can extend cables that are too short using a patch cable coupling for around six euros, and cut cables that are too long with the right tool.

Avoiding tripping hazards: How to lay LAN cables invisibly