Friday, 13 March 2015

Giving your Cat5e superpowers - NBaseT

With wave 2 of ac wireless access points about to hit the market this year network managers have been wondering how best to solve the potential bottleneck problem of having access points capable of over 1Gbps but existing cabling limited to 1Gbps.

Some have suggested running two cables to each access point, others have suggested ripping out all your Cat5/5e ethernet and replacing it with 6a.

There is now another solution. Cisco presented a discussion about a new technology called NBase-T at Cisco Live (Milan), the video for which is here: Vimeo. This technology, not limited to Cisco, aims to achieve speeds of 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps over existing cabling. This can offer significant advantages over replacing your cabling, not least the cost. NBase-T also supports all current versions of Power-over-Ethernet.

Concentrating on Cisco, as that is the switching technology we use here, hence the one I'm interested in, the Catalyst 4500, Catalyst 3850 and C3560-CX support this technology.

We'll see over the next few years whether this technology is something we can take advantage off in our older buildings (new ones will have Cat6a) where 'Multigigabit' connections may be needed.

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