How Long Can I Run a Cat 5 Cable?

By Gerry Poulos

Direct Connection

Running a category 5 twisted pair Ethernet cable directly between two points is the least expensive option. The maximum run for cat 5 cable should be 100 meters (328 feet). However, cat 5 cable is susceptible to external interference and noise, which can lessen its effectiveness. Most professionals limit the run to a maximum of 90 meters (295 feet). This allows for some interference as well as the length of any patch cables you might need.

Ethernet Extenders

Placing Ethernet extenders at intervals along your cat 5 cable runs can greatly extend the reach of your network. The most powerful Ethernet extenders can extend your network out as far as five miles. Additionally, placing these devices closer together can compensate for external noise if needed.

Bottom Line

Using cat 5 cable is the least expensive "hard wire" network solution available. However, it has distance and interference limitations that other types of cable do not suffer from. Still, if you are willing to spend the money, networks using cat 5 cables can be run nearly as far as you desire.