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VoIP and PoE with Cat5e vs Cat6 cables

By bkl.thomas ·
I am looking into phone system (Avaya) for a small school which is planning to go to VoIP in the future. Currently the phone system we are looking at has the capability for VoIP and can be added later. We are building a new building and have to make a decision on which type of wiring we need to support our current needs and future needs.

What is the difference between Cat5e and Cat6, will both work equally as well for VoIP. Do I need to be concerned with PoE? Cost is a major factor, since this is a small non-profit school.

Any helpful hints would be appreciated.
Thanks!

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by darts32 In reply to VoIP and PoE with Cat5e v ...

Cat5e is going to be cheaper and plenty for your needs. The only thing you would need Cat6 for is if you are planning a gigabit network. Cat5e will support gigabit as well but the cable is maxed out.

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by jmgarvin In reply to VoIP and PoE with Cat5e v ...

I would go with Cat5e as it is cheaper and it doesn't sound like you'll be using the full gigabit network capabilities anyway.

If you get the gb switches/routers/nic/etc THEN go with the Cat6, but if you aren't going that route and just getting 100mb stuff, than 5e will be plenty for your needs.

Make sure you have a good backbone and a strong PBX to deal with VoIP.

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by K12Linux In reply to VoIP and PoE with Cat5e v ...

Go with CAT5e. Even gigabit over copper works on that. Heck... stuff is starting to come out that can do 10Gbit over CAT5e.

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by bkl.thomas In reply to VoIP and PoE with Cat5e v ...

How does the PoE fit in with the Cat5e and Cat6?

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by toddbastin In reply to VoIP and PoE with Cat5e v ...

If you are looking for a long term solution, install everything CAT-6.
If you plan to reconfigure work areas frequently, and need to save a few bucks, install everything CAT-5e.
If you want a long term cabling solution, but still need to save a few bucks, mix it up a bit. You could install CAT-6 cabling and CAT-5e components (outlets, patch panels, patch cords, etc) You will save money now by installing cheaper components which can be replaced in the future when the need arises. When the time does come to upgrade to CAT-6 it will be much more cost effective (from a labor standpoint)to replace jacks and patch panels and test than it would be to remove all of the old cabling, install all new cabling, jack, terminate and test. Besides, if you check around and chose your cable wisely, you may find that CAT-6 cable is not much more expensive than CAT-5e.

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by dplewis In reply to VoIP and PoE with Cat5e v ...

Personally; unless you are required to have cabling that will last more than 7 years or so, I'd go Cat5e.

As others have mentioned, Cat6 is basically better quality and will hopefully support future enhancements better than Cat5e. However, at this point in time, there is no practical difference; both support 1000Base-T (Gigabit) up to 100M max (using all four pairs remember).

Yes, you should definitely use PoE. Remember, not using PoE can also be costly - you'll need lots more power sockets at desks. More importantly, how would you provide battery backup in times of power failure for all those sockets? (people still expect phones to work during power failures and this is probably more critical in a school.) Much easier to put a UPS in the wiring closet...

If you have recent edge switches then add mid-span power units to them. Otherwise, buy new PoE switches that support the 802.3af standard. Check that your IP handsets will be compatible. Check the power budget on each switch as some handsets consume more power than others and most switches do not have PSUs capable of handling the highest power devices on all ports.

Finally - if you're looking at Avaya, make sure you have a Customer Infrastructure Readiness Survey (CIRS) performed.

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by bkl.thomas In reply to

Thanks for the info..... espicaly the PoE segment.

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by bkl.thomas In reply to VoIP and PoE with Cat5e v ...

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