[FAQ] Do I need special Ethernet cables for my dCS product?

The Ethernet standard is regulated by the IEEE under 802.3. This means that provided an Ethernet cable has passed certification, you can be confident it will be fit for use in your system and will deliver the correct sonic performance, regardless of the specific details of the cable. Ironically, some ‘audiophile’ Ethernet cables and devices actually do not meet the requirements of IEEE 802.3, so are not fit for use.

As an aside, some ‘audiophile’ Ethernet cables have extremely large connectors and very stiff cables. One potential downside to this is that they will be putting a lot of strain on the joints of the Ethernet socket of the dCS product, and its connection to the network circuit board. This can cause damage to the unit, so cables with this type of construction should be avoided.

Using unshielded Ethernet cables is preferable, as the shielding found on Ethernet cables can ground your audio equipment to your network, which will have an audible negative impact.

Lossless audio streaming of 2 channels at 384kHz 24-bit consumes less than 20 Mbit/s of bandwidth. CAT5e and CAT6 cabling is rated at 1,000Mbit/s, so well above the requirements for streamed audio. A basic unshielded CAT5e or CAT6 cable which has passed certification will be fit for purpose and deliver ample performance for streaming audio.