Designing a Modern Workspace with Cat5e Cables and Extenders
Cat5e cables have long been used in workplace networking. They are reasonably priced, reliable, and get the job done, what else could we want with network cables? However, the modern workplace has greater requirements. The video requirements at workplaces have increased to the point where IT administrators are recommending high speed HDMI cables.
HDMI cables are a little pricey when compared to Cat5e technology, and for many workplaces, getting HDMI would mean replacing the existing Cat5e setup which would cost extra. To fix that problem, HDMI extenders are used.
TruLink was the first to pair Cat5e and HDMI extender technologies together, so that high definition videos could be transmitted over distances as long as 60 meters. Cat5E extender extends the reach of HDMI devices up to 60m for 720p and 1080i videos. The range is 40m for 1080p.
The kit comprises of two units, a transmitter and a receiver. The cable from the video source is connected to the transmitter and it emits the signal to the receiver. You can run a monitor or TV at 60m distances for lower resolutions and at 40m or less for 1080p.
The receiver can also be adjusted through an equalizer if the output is flickering and not sharp. The extender comes with an adapter for the receiver. There are LED lights on both units to indicate the power and signal strength. The build quality of the units is no0thing to complain about, and the material does seem durable.
In short, using Cat5e cables with extenders is an effective way to transmit video signals over long distances. In some cases, trouble with 1080p has been reported and some users complained about flickering when transmitting HD videos over 30m.
At modern workplaces, the cable is out of sight, and there is an increased reliability on wireless devices. If you plan on using Cat5e cables with extenders, you might have to sit down and calculate the area, and how much cable you wish to use. The extenders will help you use a smaller amount, but in some cases you might be compromising the quality of the output. If you already have Cat5e cables in place, you will have to use HDMI extenders unless you wish to replace all your cable with heavy duty HDMI version.
Apart from TruLink, there are companies out there claiming to extend HD video signal up to 30 meters with no power cords. XTENDEX, a company is US, claims that their extenders have a range of about 90 meters. The HDMI extenders in all cases can be mounted on walls which is pretty much a pre-requisite when it comes to the modern workspace.
When it comes down to designing a modern workplace, we recommend you use Cat5e with HDMI extenders. It’s a cost effective solution, it works, and it can give your office a slick appearance due to wall mounted devices. However, you could always go for HDMI cables but you will need a great length of cables and it would cost you a lot more than Cat5e.