Differences between Cat 5 and Cat 6 network cable

I am often asked “what are the differences between Cat 5 and Cat 6 network cable?”. Here’s my take on it:

Physical differences between Cat 5 and Cat 6 network cable

Cat5 Cat6 Cable DifferencesThe main physical differences between these cables is the way in which the spacing inside the cable is maintained. By spacing, I mean that between the pairs of copper wires there is a physical divider. This is most often made of a flexible plastic and it’s like a ‘plus’ sign in cross-section, running down the center of the cable with the 4 cable pairs separated into each quadrant. In a few cases there is foil wrapping used and separation is done with a braided sheath.

The idea behind this separation is that it reduces “crosstalk” between cables hence the data packets are not lost and speed of transfer is improved.

Cat 5 and 6 bandwidth rating

Category 5 cables are rated at 100 MHz, Category 6 cables are rated at 250 MHz. This effectively means you could push 2.5 times the amount of data down them but in the real world this is not always the case as there are a few other factors that come into play. Category 6 cabling does support the bi-directional transmission that we see in Gigabit Ethernet setups aka 1000BASE-T (1 gigabit is 1000 megabits per second!).

Signal-to-noise ratio performance advantages

Cat 6 cable provides a SNR (Signal To Noise) ratio that is approx 15 times better than Cat 5 cable over a large range of frequencies and compensates well for external ‘noise’ and temperature variations.

Popular applications for network cabling

Cat 6 has much better support for HD video, coping well with HD-SDI which demands up to 1.5 Gigabits per second. It can be used in any application that requires Cat 5 cabling such as till data, PC networks etc, so replacement of older Cat 5 cabling can be done with this newer cable as the end connectors (RJ45) are the same.  Do read my next paragraph for a caveat though.

Using Cat 6 cable with Cat 5 RJ45 plugs

The cabling is easy to terminate but watch out for the end connectors. Cat 5 RJ45 connectors are NOT the same as Cat 6 RJ45 connectors. This is a common mistake made by electrical wholesalers and even some suppliers. They don’t know the difference and often brand the end terminations as suitable for both Cat 5 and Cat 6 cabling. You won’t be able to fit Cat 6 into the old connectors because the inner cable diameter is usually that bit bigger. Stripping off the outer sheathing may help temporarily if you are in a fix, but this will usually break the integrity of the end connector as the plastic sheathing also helps to prevent the cable from pulling out. Before attempting a network installation, do a test run with your cable and end terminations.  The RJ45 plug will, however, fit in exactly the same socket so no need to change the wall plate, switch, hub, or device socket.

Ready made cables will definitely help the beginner out there as the connections are already made and there is often a moulded boot in place to support the cable and prevent excessive loads from pulling it out. Prices are often as cheap as making your own so go for these unless you need extra long lengths.
Hope this helps to straighten out the lack of information out there, please leave me a comment if you find this helpful.

 


Panda Cloud Antivirus review

Panda cloud antivirus reviewThis article is primarily a Panda Cloud Antivirus review, but let’s start by examining the need for a lightweight antivirus.

Well, the ubiquitous market leader AVG Antivirus has gained some weight in its 2012 incarnation. So much so that it now brings many lower-specced PCs to their knees.  Running AVG on our test rig (a Dell 3.0GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of RAM) we saw an unusable PC with pretty dire start-up times. Removing AVG shaved nearly 3 minutes from the startup time! Not good. The older version had been a step in the wrong direction too in my eyes, with added bloat and heavily foisted registry cleaners.

So many loyal AVG users should look to a newer antivirus, with a lighter framework.  Enter the ‘cloud’ antivirus offering from Panda Security. There have been other manufacturers of antivirus products that utilised the cloud but, to date, none as capable as this.

Installation is a breeze with the install program weighing in at less than 700kB. It took just 50 seconds to install on our Dell Windows XP test PC.

It was nice to see that the right click functionality is there – you can scan a folder or file for viruses ‘on demand’ rather than do a full scan every time. On opening the main program window via a double click on the panda icon in the system tray – you can immediately see whether you have any issues with the industry-standard big red or big green indicator. Panda’s interface offers a built-in reporting feature that will show you what threats were found and dealt with on your PC. A discreet ‘gear’ icon allows you to further explore the Panda Cloud Antivirus options.

You can select both Quick and Custom Scans, as is the norm these days.  If Panda incorrectly marks a file as infected (a “false positive”) then you can recover it from the Panda Recyce Bin. For network scenarios Panda provide a useful proxy option.

For the privacy concerned, you should know that you pass your scanned file and setup data, albeit anonymously, to ‘the cloud’. This approach means that other users benefit from your detection of malware as do you benefit from theirs. You can opt-out of this but that really does defeat the object, as by doing this you are also opted-out of any cloud based advanced threat management.

I was disappointed to see that it doesn’t scan in archives (zip, rar, 7z etc) by default so you will need to turn this feature on immediately from the settings menu. This is a major fault in my eyes and I suspect this was done because of Panda’s eagerness to have the lightest-weight AV client around and improve the scanning speed.  The inclusion of a Internet Explorer/Firefox Panda toolbar that we didn’t get the option to install is annoying. Hilariously, it incorporates the “Toolbar remover” icon that allows uninstallation of – you guessed it – all other toolbars except the Panda one.

PC Repair Man’s Verdict

A useful and lightweight antivirus that operates cleverly in the cloud to achieve low resource usage. Has a huge amount of work to do to be able to compete with our current pick of the AV crop Kaspersky Pure, but it’s a sensible free solution for older PCs and those with low RAM , eg XP with 512MB or less.

 


Manage multiple WordPress sites with WPRemote

Looking for an easy way to manage updates on multiple WordPress websites? Well there’s a new tool in town and it’s called WP Remote. Here’s a brief review.

This nifty tool installs on WP sites via a small plugin and gives you a single console from which to monitor your sites for plugin updates, theme updates and WordPress updates. You can apply the updates from the console so no need to login to any site after the initial plugin install. Not only that but it allows manual backups of files and MySQL databases in one click. Fiddly and incomplete WordPress backups are a thing of the past, you can expect to add the site to the console, update all plugins and themes and do a complete backup within a few minutes. Stunning.

It’s free, easy to setup, minimalist, stable and incredibly useful. And no, I don’t own the company, just thought you might like it as much as I do. Look out for this company over the next few months as I think this is going to be very popular!

https://wpremote.com


Sony VAIO CB3P1E 15.5 inch Core i5 laptop with BluRay DVD

Sony Vaio CB3P1E cheapest UKOur workshop has just had a brilliant new laptop to play with, the Sony VAIO CB3P1E/B and here is our review.

This Sony Vaio 15.5″ laptop is powered by the excellent Intel® Core™ i5-2430M processor which makes it a super-responsive machine. It has a large 6GB of memory and an equally capacious 640GB hard drive.

The screen is razor sharp and offers a very good experience from all viewing angles, something cheaper laptops can’t boast. Couple this to the BluRay DVD which comes bundled with this laptop and you have a stunning film clarity that isn’t bettered on any other machine we have seen. There’s an HDMI output port that allows you to plug in a cable and transmit this film to any TV with an HDMI port. The laptop runs very quietly and makes it suitable for use as a DVD player when required.

USB 3.0 ports and Bluetooth allow decent connectivity and there’s a multi-card reader built in. The card reader does the usual SD formats but also includes Sony’s own memory stick Duo format.

Build quality is top-notch, we have come to expect nothing less from Sony. This laptop would compete with most other brands in the £1000 plus category but for UK buyers, it’s currently on offer for £547.

The mouse touchpad is responsive and has the new-style click bar. The keyboard is a delight to use with the keys all being raised and nicely separated from each other. Use a keyboard like this and it’s hard to go back to the squashed-together keys that other manufacturers offer. The keyboard also features ALC (Auto Luminance Control) to detect the brightness of the surrounding environment. The sensor turns the backlight on automatically at night or in a dimly lit environment (such as the depths of our workshop storage area).

The integrated HD Web camera offers clear, crisp and sharp video chat with minimal blurring. The colours appear natural and have good contrast. A “Web” button on the top of the laptop’s keyboard allows you to load a mini-Linux browser and you can get online in seconds, ideal for surfing while in a hurry. That said, boot up times were very respectable with only the addition of an SSD drive that could shave a few seconds off.

The SONY VAIO CB3P1E comes with Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, meaning it can make full use of the generous 6GB of RAM. This led to some blistering speeds in our benchmark testing and the laptop coped with everything we threw at it including Adobe Photoshop (graphics) and Premiere (video) which it handled with ease. It handles most PC games with ease too, only being outshone by dedicated gaming PCs that cost 3 times or more what this Sony does.

Sony Vaio CB3P1E – our verdict

All in, this laptop is built to last and a pleasure to use. It’s lightning quick, even with the Sony stuff that launches on startup. We generally take this software off and do our own updates but leaving it on has no noticeable performance impact if you prefer to be prompted. It makes full use of the large 6GB of DDR3 RAM which gives it the edge over lower-specced machines on memory hungry applications such as graphics and video rendering. The cheapest deal we found for UK buyers was at Tesco Direct, we’ll keep this updated below if we find better prices.

 

 

 


Link Swiper review – Post CPA offers automatically!

There’s a new money-making tool in town and it goes by the name of Link Swiper.  It’s currently $20 (price increases a little with each purchase) and is available by clicking this promotional link

SORRY THIS OFFER IS NOW CLOSED.

 

Link Swiper review

Link Swiper reviewI’ve just bought this software and I have to say, I’m VERY impressed. You can watch the video for a better explanation but I bought a domain name and made the whole thing live in less than 30 minutes and then pumped out about 20 stealthy little CPA links in another 10 minutes. It does what it says and the developer offers free upgrades to the software.

The software was tested on a Dual Core Windows 7 PC with 2GB RAM. The target domain was registered with Dynadot and hosted on Hostgator shared hosting. Total setup time was 43 minutes from domain registration to submitting our first link.

 

What is CPA?

CPA (Cost Per Action) is an online advertising model.  The advertiser pays for each action. This may be any of the following:

  • A purchase
  • A form submission
  • An email address
  • A click through to a website

It’s a good business model because it allows you to make a profit even if the visitor doesn’t purchase anything (unlike eBay, Amazon etc).

 

So what’s so good about Link Swiper?

You don’t need content, you link to other sites that have great stories and then when the visitor closes that site your CPA offer opens on the same topic. It looks like it’s their site that opened the link, this is very impressive in action.

There is a one-time offer that is definitely worth going for, it’s another $17 but this is well worth it as it gives you a bit more stealth on the CPA link.

 

So what do I need to install it?

You need a self-hosted WordPress installation and a CPA offer, that’s it, the software does all the link generating for you. It can be adapted for Amazon and eBay offers too as well as other CPA networks.

Hosting a WordPress installation can be cheap as chips if you use Hostgator or similar. They have tools that help you install WordPress in minutes so you can be up and running with your own WordPress site, Domain name and Link Swiper in less than an hour.

 

Verdict

Super-slick, fast and a great idea to diversify your Affiliate Marketing tactics while keeping your outlay low.  This software is another must-have tool in your armory, buy now before the price goes up.

 

Resources:

Hostgator – Cheap hosting starting from $1 a month

Dynadot – Cheap and easy domain purchase

 


SERPBuddy review and free trial

SERPbuddy is a premier online SERP tracker that was built by SEO professionals. For those who don’t know, SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page.

The data that SERPBuddy presents is well formatted and offers everything that people need to accurately gauge the rank and position of a search keyword for any website. There is built in reporting and management for your Keyword Rankings, Backlinks, Pagerank and Alexa Rank. The dashboard is easy to use and the software is responsive.

 

SERPBuddy review – features

SERPbuddy will notify you by email of changes in your search engine rankings, or they can just notify you when your chosen keyword reaches the first page (or if you are lucky, the top position!).  This is a nice feature as it means that you can do other things and forget the daily check.  With all of the Google updates it’s also a nice way to see if your site drops off the radar completely.

The impressive thing about  this relatively new software is the SERP buddy free trial, so you can see if it suits you.

SERPBuddy review – reports

Creating attractive, branded reports is easy, so this would suit an SEO company just as well as an individual. Simply upload your logo and you can create rather impressive reports that clients will like. You can download to PDF or email the report(s) directly to your clients. Very simple, neat and efficient.

 

More information about SERPBuddy here