Gigabit PCI Lan cards

  The Belarussian Mafia 20:23 22 Feb 2005

I've just read a review of some hardware that says "don't buy gig PCI LAN cards as the PCI bus is slow".

Is this correct? Is there a better alternative?

  Chezdez 21:03 22 Feb 2005

theres no need to use gigabit technology if your setting up a home network (which i'm kind of assuming you are), it's mainly used as a back bone (switches to router/server) on big networks (100+ computers), but as for the slow bus speed i've never heard that, but doesn't mean it isn't true

see what other people have to say

  The Belarussian Mafia 21:26 22 Feb 2005

Thanks. I'm just thinking I might as well use the full capability of my new machine for 3D gaming (for which, read: my kids playing football / IL2 against each other on rainy days).

  Chezdez 00:52 23 Feb 2005

100Mbps will more than adequate for that, guaranteed, and it will be cheaper than 1000Mbps

just remember that if your linking them straight together (PC to PC), you need a crossover cable, cat-5 or better

  LastChip 20:23 23 Feb 2005

I've just installed a Gigabit network and sharing files or graphics (my son sometimes has his friends around for a Counterstrike battle) is unbelievably fast.

Gigabit kit is no longer massively expensive, and for the small premium it now costs, I would regard it as a good investment into the future, particularly, if you're setting up a network from scratch.

Considering the speed at which computer technology now evolves, 100Mb networks are antique by comparison.

Just be aware, the network will run on Cat5e cable, but Cat6 is a better bet. All four pairs must be terminated. You can't get away with just two pairs like the 100Mb set-up.

  The Belarussian Mafia 08:54 24 Feb 2005

LastChip - Thanks. Can you explain that second-to-last sentence? Sounds like something out of The Godfather...

  Chezdez 14:07 24 Feb 2005

for the cable, you'll want to buy a pre-made, cat-5e cable. if it's premade, then it should be done correctly, and able to use gigabit, if it doesn't, you can take it back i believe

  LastChip 19:50 24 Feb 2005

Category 5 (Cat5), was the standard that everyone worked to, but with the advent of faster networks, it was found that more advanced cabling (as in the manufacturing process) improved performance.

Generally speaking, everyone now uses Cat5e, which is a slightly upgraded version of Cat5, but for true quality performance of Gigabit networks, yet another upgrade to Cat6, will enhance the transfer rate.

All these cables are known as UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair). What this means in practice, is you have four pairs of cables within an outer sleeve. That is eight cables in all, but two are twisted together, and another two, and another and another. So you end up with four twisted pairs within the outer sleeve.

Now, with 100Mb networks, it was possible to terminated only four of the eight cables and the network would still work. You occasionally come across this, when the original wiring contractor cut corners to save time and only connected four of the eight wires into wall plates for example. All I was saying, was that with a Gigabit network, all eight cables MUST be terminated. As Chezdez points out, if you buy pre-made cables, all strands will be connected, but you will probably have trouble locating Cat6 pre-made, although they are now becoming more common. The other factor is, if you are pulling cable through floor voids and suchlike, it is often easier to run straight cable and terminate yourself.

  BigMoFoT 22:17 14 Mar 2005

as long as the cable has stamped on it 'suitable for gigabit ethernet you'll be fine'.

gigabit LAn is fantastically fast and if you can have it - do so!!

  The Belarussian Mafia 20:32 15 Mar 2005

Thanks folks. Some comments slightly at a tangent, but all useful to know!

The question arose because my new PC has onboard 10/100/1000 and the old one doesn't have any network connector.

LastChip - is it easy to put the thingies on the wires - I'm probably going to be going from one floor to another.

(Don't anyone suggest wireless - I've not read anything to this effect, but I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to all things involving even the tiniest amount of radiation. Only text with my mobile, and spend an inordinate amount of time in a country devestated by Chernobyl; don't want any extra roentgens, thanks...)

  LastChip 21:01 15 Mar 2005

If you are going to run a cable, the easiest (though marginally more expensive) way to do it, is to buy RJ45 faceplate's that mount in a standard wall or plastic surface box. Either way, you need the deep boxes.

Run your cable from box to box and then connect the wires to each RJ45 socket. The end result will look the same as many offices you see. It looks neat and professional.

Now use a pre-formed RJ45 cable to connect from the RJ45 wall socket to the computer. That way, you don't have to get involved in crimping tools and making cables.

The only connections you have to do, is to the sockets, and that is relatively straight forward. Although a special tool (Krohn Tool) is available, it's not totally necessary for small installations. A very small screw driver will do the job equally as well provided you are careful.

click here for an example of RJ45 socket components - near the bottom of the page. (I've used these, so if you want more advice - shout!).

click here for the wiring diagrams. Personally, I use the 586B standard, but it makes no difference which one you use, providing you are consistent.

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