As for modern Ethernet cables such as CAT5 (Category5) or CAT6 (Category6) , there is no noticeable speed difference for less than 328 ft. However, there might be additional noise and latency issues due to longer cables.
Does a Long Ethernet Cable Reduce Speed?
Ethernet cables provide unmatched internet speed with great bandwidth, as we expect them to do. You may wonder if a long ethernet cable slows down the speed or not. Even though it affects latency but not bandwidth, the difference is so negligible that it’s quite humorous actually.
If we’re talking about speed, electrical signals travel through ethernet cables at around two-thirds the speed of light, which is around 299,792,458 meters per second.
So as you can assume, the extra (let’s say 100m) of your ethernet cable is almost nothing that affects your speed. The time to travel such a little distance is a few nanoseconds, which is too low for you to notice a difference.
However, the noise increases proportionally with the length of the cable and unlike the speed, it’s rather significant. So, note that noise is quite an issue here. Let’s say for 100 Mbit/s, noise starts to take impact bandwidth from 100 meters. Longer cables usually cause a reduction in latency and may show signs of packet loss.
Multiple Ethernet Cables for Using Multiple Devices
Modems usually have multiple ethernet ports for using multiple devices. Connecting more than one Ethernet cable may reduce the speed of each. However, it depends on your internet connection, not the switches themselves. Even though it does not slow down the WiFi it can use up bandwidth on your internet pipe.
The more people connecting and accessing the internet at the same time, the lower ‘max’ bandwidth each device can access. Let’s say You have a 400Mbps speed for 4 people. So 400Mbps / 4 people = 100Mbps will be divided to each.
Is It Better To Have A Short Ethernet Cable?
There is no significant speed upgrade for shorter cables, however, it’s less likely to experience interference. Also, cable management is much easier with larger cables as you have enough room for any future modifications.
Even though speed might not be an issue, Make sure the length is limited to 328 feet (100 meters) because anything beyond this runs the risk of signal strength deteriorating. Whether you’re using short or longer cables ensure the cable is capable of handling the transmission speeds of your network and prevents bottlenecks and reduced internet connectivity.