Wouldn’t using a shielded cable with plastic RJ-45 plugs achieve the same goal? I use plastic connectors and have all my cable screens star earthed to a low impedance ground.While discussing networking (noise):
Our current recommendation is to use UNshielded CAT5 or CAT6 copper network cabling, we simply get the best results that way ourselves since the introduction of the new USB card. There is a solid explanation for it which I will share now.
There are 2 main modes of noise stemming from network usage:
1) Noise generated by network activity / processing
2) Noise transmitted over interconnects
Noise type 1) is dominant in Fiber connections due to a higher current draw of the SFP module which is an explanation for a benefit to creating a seperate subnet or vlan in this case as that reduces network activity on that subnet. As it's fiber there is no direct path for electrical noise as fiber is electrically non conductive.
Noise type 2) is dominant in copper connections, we have a very consistent network noise profile which is now rather insensitive to variations in network activity. This applies to a much lesser degree to Fiber which we have to configure differently to get to the level of Sound Quality we're after as a direct result of it's higher current draw. Now let's take a look at copper networking's sensitivity to noise type 2):
A 1Gb or higher Ethernet cable is made up of 4 pairs of signal carrying conductors, nowadays often surrounded by a shield. The signal carrying conductors (data pairs) are transformer decoupled, both common and differential mode, with their centertaps highpass filtered and referenced to ground (on both sides), usually with a corner frequency of about 1MHz. Typical schematic from Intel reference design documentation:
View attachment 79138
Solid engineering here which you should typically find in any switch, regardless of pricelevel.
Now let's discuss cable shields. Cable shields extend chassis shielding to include signal carrying conductors into the system shield, shielding them from external noise sources and/or reducing emissions. Now what happens if we apply this to our hifi-systems. To make this more visible I've created a quick MSPaint drawing:
View attachment 79140
It should be clear from this drawing that these cable shields can create a conductive path from any device on your network straight into your system. Therefor we propose to connect as follows:
View attachment 79142
This is accomplished by using an unshielded ethernet cable, which would be CAT5 or CAT6 as CAT7 and CAT8 are shielded by design.