I have phone 8 wire cable, shielded, with no pairs (wires go along to each other, no twisting).

I wonder if I can use this cable for wiring an Ethernet network?

Wires in the cable are in the following colors:

white green blue red brown grey orange yellow

I presume the problem with this cable is because the wires are not pair twisted and that's why to many interferences happen. Am I right?


I have done some tests. I have connected very short cable (cca. 0,5m) and the network works fine at 1Gbps. I think the performance would dramatically decrease with the length of this cable, as I saw with 15m cable that is not working, router just blinking (as it try to establish the connection).

  • What you say in the update makes sense. The longer the cable the greater the likelyhood of crosstalk at high speed to the point where it may not operate at all. Personally I'd go with the correct cable it is so inexpensive. – hookenz Jun 10 '11 at 0:57
  • The differential signalling in ethernet and the twisting of the wire is important to get speed and increased length out of the cable and reduce external noise as well. – hookenz Jun 10 '11 at 0:59

Yes, you are right. The lack of twisting will make your cable very noisy. I would not expect your network cards to connect at anything higher than 100Mbit and in some cases might even go to 10Mbit. Silver satin (8 wire no twisting) was sometimes, though incorrectly, used in 10Mbit applications

  • Well I have 15-20 meters of the cable. Electrically is OK (via network tester), but signal just do not go undisturbed through. I should use oscilloscope to see the signals. :) Anyway, I will buy the proper cable. – Peter Stegnar Mar 9 '10 at 14:58
  • Silver Satin was never used for Ethernet applications. – chris Mar 9 '10 at 15:13
  • @Chris: You're right. Edited to reflect that it was used, incorrectly, in early LAN applications – Scott Lundberg Mar 9 '10 at 15:28
  • @Chris: Never say never. I've personally seen short lengths of silver satin used for patch cables. – Gerald Combs Mar 9 '10 at 16:20

If it isn't at least cat3 (for a huge 10mb/sec), you're not going to be able to do normal ethernet at all.

The best you'd be able to do is a fancy transceiver like an "Ethernet over phone" sort of system. The "HomePNA alliance" is a consortium that makes devices that allow you to plug an ethernet device into a box that connects to home wiring, which would likely be easier and cheaper than running new wires, depending on the situation.

A little googling, though, doesn't turn up any promising products that actually exist...

  • Yeah I have installed this wire in the wall. I just have this cable lying around that's why I used it, and hope that it will work, but I way sceptical though. – Peter Stegnar Mar 9 '10 at 15:00
  • 2
    Well, if you haven't used it for anything yet, it is probably useful for making twist-ties or a clothesline, or maybe sprinkler control wires. The amount of engineering that goes into modern network cable is impressive, especially considering that it is probably as expensive per foot as speaker wire... – chris Mar 9 '10 at 15:03

I worked in a 4 room ~30x60 foot office for several months that wired 8 conductor silver satin through the walls and I do not recall having problems for about 6 machines. That was in 1998, so it was probably all hard configured to 10Mbps. I never cut one of the wires to see if there was any twists, but I doubt it as it was very very flat.

I am sure Laptop.com still sells patch cables that are very thin flat conductors spring loaded in a small plastic carrying case. Have used a bunch of these, but have never verified conductor pairs were / were not twisted.

If all you really need is internet access speed, then 10Mbps is more than enough for most people in most circumstances. However, I would not recommend it.

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