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CAT6 for permanent install

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CAT6 for permanent install

Postby MarkOne » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:36 am

We are about to embark on installation of our new mixing desk in our Church.

We have an A&H SQ5 with an AR2412 arriving very soon.

So here's the thing. Most dedicated CAT6 cables for live sound (Like the AH10885-1) appear to be designed to be flexible and come on a drum, because I guess most people reel it up and put it in a van after each show.

However in our situation the cable run will be going through the floor void and will be a permanent installation. So my question is, is there any technical reason I shouldn't buy a drum of CAT6 network cable and a couple of Neutrik ethercon connectors and just make up my own?
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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:40 am

Can't think of a reasons -- assuming you have the right tools and experience to correctly terminate (and test) the cable.

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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby ef37a » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:57 am

No reason whatsoever Mark, in fact "that's how it is done"!

I take it each end will terminate in an RJ45 outllet? Do study the details for correct wire dressing up to the IDC block as sloopy work there can reduce bandwidth greatly. Standard modules with Krone or Pressac punch down blocks are easier to manage than the dinky High Density stuff.

Also, go mad! A drum of cable is 305mtrs as standard so put in as much as you can. If you can run to shielded CAT6 (FTP) you can use it for mic lines but even UTP will be good for balanced line levels, headphones, even LV DC!
Even if you don't use spare lines for audio CAT cable can carry VGA, CVBS and a pair can carry HDMI. I have experimentally fed MIDI down 40mtrs successfully.

Note, although standard cable is solid conductors it is very rugged. I used the stuff for test cables and never had a conductor break. If you use RJ45 plugs on solid you should get the proper versions.

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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby MarkOne » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:59 am

Thanks Hugh... That was what I thought.:)

Also thanks Dave, some good tips there... Yes an outlet at each end is the plan, inside one of those office style floor boxes to keep them out of trouble,

I'm also planning a 2nd run to an alternative position so the stage box can be sited on the main platform normally, but relocated to a corner position when the platform needs to be clear for things like weddings, funerals etc, and musicians and signers are relegated to the corner.
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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:30 am

+1, we've used solid Cat6 for a temp festival install when we needed 3 x 100m runs between stage a mix position in a marquee.

FWIW I'd double up each run as the cable is so cheap and the job pretty intrusive.
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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby ef37a » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:49 am

Just like to add Mark, I spent 10 years with a network manufacturing company and the stuff they thew away was enormous! Klicks of perfectly good cable that had just been used in the lab, kgs of rack patch panels, ex demo.

If there is a network gear factory near you worth a visit in your Sunday Best and see if you can get a donation!

Question for the technical bods. How close to top spec does a CAT6 installation need to be to run audio network gear? I remember the lab needed to go through several jack plug builds to get absolutely the top specc' on the £40k analyser but that was a performance virtually no end user would approach in say an office.

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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby AlecSp » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:49 pm

ef37a wrote:Question for the technical bods. How close to top spec does a CAT6 installation need to be to run audio network gear? I remember the lab needed to go through several jack plug builds to get absolutely the top specc' on the £40k analyser but that was a performance virtually no end user would approach in say an office.
Most (all?) mixers require cabling to Cat5e standard - multi-channel audio isn't really that demanding an application.

It's HD video where Cat6 cabling becomes more critical.

That said, in any new installation, it's hard to justify cabling to sub-Cat6 as the cost differential is minimal.
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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby AlecSp » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:50 pm

AlecSp wrote:
ef37a wrote:Question for the technical bods. How close to top spec does a CAT6 installation need to be to run audio network gear? I remember the lab needed to go through several jack plug builds to get absolutely the top specc' on the £40k analyser but that was a performance virtually no end user would approach in say an office.
Most (all?) mixers require cabling to Cat5e standard - multi-channel audio isn't really that demanding an application. Always worth checking the manufacturer's recommendation, mind.

It's HD video where Cat6 cabling becomes more critical.

That said, in any new installation, it's hard to justify cabling to sub-Cat6 as the cost differential is minimal.
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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby wireman » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:22 pm

I have had hassle with the RJ45 connectors. I know that they are different for stranded/solid but some plugs I have just don't work reliably, and I have a decent crimp tool.
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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby ef37a » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:38 pm

wireman wrote:I have had hassle with the RJ45 connectors. I know that they are different for stranded/solid but some plugs I have just don't work reliably, and I have a decent crimp tool.

I must have fitted hundreds of RJ45 plugs and never really had a problem. I always used shielded plugs, even on UTP cable becuse,
1) My cables were for testbeds and shielded plugs are a bit tougher
2) I just needed the one box of plugs and the one crimp tool!

I used a good quality "AMP" tool. Don't forget to clean the die now and again and give it all a squirt of WD-40.

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Re: CAT6 for permanent install

Postby forumuser840717 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:58 pm

ef37a wrote:JQuestion for the technical bods. How close to top spec does a CAT6 installation need to be to run audio network gear? I remember the lab needed to go through several jack plug builds to get absolutely the top specc' on the £40k analyser but that was a performance virtually no end user would approach in say an office.

Dave.

It depends on how close to the bandwidth limit of the cable you plan to go and how long a run it is. If you only want to put about 1Gig bandwidth down a 10Gig cable on a short run then you can get away with a sloppier termination (up to a point) but if you want to run close to the bandwidth limit of the 10Gig cable at the maximum approved cable length then you need a spot on termination or the losses at the termination will bite you.

Even at 1Gig, I've had 10m and 15m cables which are badly terminated (or which have been squashed in doors or under flightcase wheels (not to the point that they split but enough to disrupt the pairs)) fail to work whilst 75m and 100m+ cables with good terminations and no crush damage have worked completely to spec.
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