Computers & Electronics

Does Ethernet cable (Cat6) length matter between modem and router?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 16th, 2016 8:17 pm
Deal Addict
Jul 6, 2005
3936 posts

Does Ethernet cable (Cat6) length matter between modem and router?

In a residential setting, I'm trying to plan out my network device locations (modem, router, patch panel, switch, etc)

The cable internet RG cable comes into my home on the basement level near the front of my house and is connected to a the modem at the back of my house. I have absolutely no problems with signal strength between the street and my router (in fact, the signal was too strong and Rogers needed to install an attenuater to stabilize the signal).

Ideally, I was planning on having my patch panel, switch and modem located in the basement and installing my wireless router on the first floor in my coat closet, which is pretty much in the center of my house, to optimize the range of wireless signal throughout my home. The distance from the modem to the router would be approximately 50 feet.

All cabling in the walls will be Cat6, as will the patch cords from the wall plates/patch panel to the hardware devices.

Example Setup:
<RG Cable>[Rogers Modem]<Cat6 Patch Cord>[Patch Panel]<Cat6 Cable>[Wall Plate]<Cat6 Patch Cord>[Wireless Router]<Cat6 Patch Cord>[Wall Plate]<Cat6 Cable>[Patch Panel]<Cat6 Patch Cord>[Switch]

Or should the Modem and the Router be side-by-side and connected with a short length (2 foot) patch cord?

Alternatively, if the modem must be close by the router, than I would either need to:
a) locate the modem in the 1st floor closest beside the router and then run a cable down to my basement rack with my patch panel and switch (cheapest option); or
b) locate the modem and router in the basement in my rack, and deploy POE Ubiquiti APs on each floor of my house (very expensive option)
6 replies
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1791 posts
It doesn't really matter at all, just don't go over 100 meters and place your gear wherever you feel is best.
Penalty Box
User avatar
Apr 25, 2013
7398 posts
If you really want to get to the nitty gritty of it then what is important is the length of the RG6 cable to the modem should be the shortest distance between the outside and the modem. The network cable side is where you can vary length wise to suit your needs. I see no problems in your proposed setup, only thing I would change is instead of using patch cords stick with solid copper plenum grade CAT5E or CAT6.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 23, 2003
15288 posts
Cat 6 lengths should not really matter which is why many offices have TONS of wires strung across the drop ceilings. Just make sure you get some cable that is good quality from a reliable vendor. Nothing worse then doing all the wiring and using something low end to save $20 and cause headaches down the road. If you can afford it, go with Cat 6a to achieve 10 Gbit (the next generation). Years ago people never though Cat6 was needed and now are having to gut wiring.

With regards to distances for the Modem/Router/Switch, I would suggest about 5 feet apart. Call me old school but sometimes signal interference, magnetic fields, etc. could cause some weird issues and keeping them a few feet away is not a bad idea. Also, this would also improve heat from going against each other as well. I recall going to a home years ago who had an enclosure and pretty much stacked each of the devices and ran short patch cables. The issue he had was constant reboots. After spacing them out and improving airflow, the issue went away.

The key is good quality wiring (RG6, Cat 6) and best practices.
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Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 12, 2009
20436 posts
My wired network was installed in the cat 5e era. Long runs are fine. My longest run is easily 200 feet. I have no problems getting gigabit performance. I would have issues running multiple gigabit connections on a single run of ethernet cable. This is not something I would lose a lot of sleep over.

If the house is too big to be served by wifi signal coming from a single router, just get a second one do a wired bridge.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 13, 2004
11359 posts
Toronto, Ontario
You are fine with the lengths

When used for 10/100/1000BASE-T, the maximum allowed length of a Cat 6 cable is 100 meters or 328 feet. This consists of 90 meters (300 ft) of solid "horizontal" cabling between the patch panel and the wall jack, plus 10 meters (33 ft) of stranded patch cable between each jack and the attached device.Oct 10, 2014 ... uteeimltgJ
Jun 15, 2016
6 posts
You need to remember the signal is already coming from an outside ISP pretty far away so within your house you are talking about a matter of feet over a few KM of total diatsnce