What is the maximum wire distance for an IP camera?

Before you jump into installing an IP CCTV camera system, you need to know about the cable distance restrictions, which are different to those of an analogue camera.

Is there a maximum distance you can run a category 5 or 6 cable for IP cameras?

The short answer is yes but it varies with the network speed you are working to. As most NIC’s are 100BaseT there is a 90 metre rule for Ethernet cables. Actually it is a 100m rule but most work to the 90m as it allows for patch cables and connectors either end of the run.

This distance restriction is due to the time it takes a packet to travel along a piece of wire, which is something locked down by physics and can’t be changed as detailed in the Ethernet IEEE 802.3 standard (Communications Engineering).

Cat 5 – 100BaseT (100 Mbps) 100m range
Cat 5e – 1Gbps (1000 Mbps) 75m range
Cat 6 –  1.2Gbps (1200 Mbps) 100m range

How can I go beyond 100m ?

How to extend ethernet using network switches.Fortunately we are not limited to a 100 metre radius from the switch. The distance can be extended in several ways and the most common is by installing additional network switches before the 100m limit, which gives us another 100m to play with. This also means we can reduce the number of home run network cables to the core switch.

Another way of extending beyond the 100m limit is to use an Ethernet Extender, which is an in-line device that can give significantly more distance. These are useful in applications where adding a switch is not possible due to the cable path. A good example is across a car park in a conduit buried for 200 metres. You can’t simply dig it up to put a switch in.


All network switches should be layer 2 or 3 and have a back plane speed that is faster than all the ports at full bandwidth.

This is a common cause of network trouble I see in IP video. Someone inserts a cheap switch (or hub) somewhere in the network as a quick fix but then it is forgotten as as the system grows, you start to see packet loss on that line.

A third option is a fiber to Ethernet media converter and a fibre optic cable, which I would recommend across a car park as it will also eliminate lighting strikes coming up the CAT5 cable and destroying other equipment.

If existing coax cable exists, you can convert that to ethernet with one of these coax-ethernet adaptors.

And the last option is to use a RF solution.

I have supplied lots of systems that work over wireless and do recommend it if cabling is not an option. However you have to use the right equipment if you want a professional result. That’s another post.


If you want to know more about these options, please either add a comment below or email us.

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  1. Jonathan Sparco September 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    This is actually very informative as I always only use the 100 meter rule when it comes to CAT 5 Ethernet cables. It is pretty reassuring to know that you cannot always be limited by this.

  2. Tim Norton September 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    Hi Jonathan,
    Are you working alot with IP CCTV?
    What are your prefered products?

  3. IP CCTV Installer October 12, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Cat6 cable usually helps in long distance.

    Quick Response CCTV Ltd

    • Tim Norton October 13, 2011 at 8:55 am #

      Can you confirm that? I believe the only difference from CAT5 is it’s speed. The data length is limited by the handshake response times

    • IP CCTV Installer November 5, 2011 at 3:23 am #

      Oh yes, it is not the major contributor. The difference between the 2 is not much at all.

  4. Philip November 3, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    Yeah you will not get a significant distance increase from using a category 6 cabling, however you can achieve remote networking beyond the distance limitation from several different devices in the industry. http://ethernetextender.com/ is what I would recommend to you, these devices support PoE as well for IP Cameras, routers, etc. If you have any questions feel free to message me.

    • Tim Norton November 3, 2011 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks Philip.
      There seems to be a lot more miss understanding around this topic than I expected.

      • Philip November 4, 2011 at 1:22 am #

        Hi Tim,

        No problem, happy to put my two cents in. It is funny how a large amount of people think that remote networking is impossible, however in this day and age it seems like there is a solution for everything. Ethernet Extension technology has been around for awhile, but is just starting to gain traction within it’s related fields.

        • Tim Norton November 4, 2011 at 11:14 am #

          Are you able to explain how an Ethernet extender overcomes the timing issues that cause the 90m rule?

  5. Philip November 5, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    Most Ethernet Extenders (Not repeaters) come in a two unit kit (sending/receiving)and are able to go past the 90m through the use of VDSL technology. Basically the sending unit changes the IP signal into VDSL signal so it can be driven past the standard distance limitations. The receiving unit then changes it back into IP signal so whatever device you have at the remote end will be able to read the signal thus allowing for remote networking. I hope this answer was along the lines of what you were looking for, any other questions feel free to ask!

    • Tim Norton November 5, 2011 at 4:48 am #

      So is VDSL our future?

      • Philip November 5, 2011 at 5:48 am #

        I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s our future… The technology was first approved in 2001. With the Extenders, it is basically the same concept as to how a television gets its signaling. It works well within related industries because IP signal has limitations that are easily solved by the VDSL technology. If you would like I can share a case study or two with you so you may see how the extenders are used in real-life applications.

  6. IP CCTV Installer November 6, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    exactly, extenders are nothing new but do a great job. are you talking about active ones?

  7. Philip November 8, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    No, the extenders I work with are passive ones… Meaning that they are just transparent un-managed switches. Whatever data/voice/power they receive from the starting point, is what the units are going to pass through full-duplex. This is ideal because they are just plug-and-play solutions that don’t require extensive technological knowledge or experience to set up and utilize.

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