Ethernet Components – Is it Safe to Use an Unshielded Jack for 10Mbps Ethernet?


I have a hardware device which includes Ethernet connectivity. I have a surface-mount Ethernet jack, with top entry (as opposed to right-angle). Part number is RIA Connect AJS03B8813, if that helps. No integrated magnetics, this is fine, I have a discrete part. All is well and good.

Except that I'm having trouble finding that part, so I need to find a replacement. However, it seems that no one makes a jack that has all of the following features:

  • top-entry (i.e., part sits flat on board and cable comes "down" into it, perpendicular to the board — in other words, NOT right-angle),
  • surface-mount, and
  • shielded.

I can find shielded right-angles aplenty, and shielded top-mounts, but they're through-hole (not an option, the other side of the board is densely populated.) All I can find are unshielded parts, such as

So, my question is: are there any potential problems using this unshielded jack in a 10Mbps Ethernet application? I can't see the shielding on the jack mattering that much, since most clients don't use shielded cat5 anyway.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

EDIT: thanks for all the replies. I'll just go ahead with the unshielded part. I know that most cables aren't shielded, so I figured it was probably pointless, just wanted to get some other opinions.

Best Answer

Unless the application is in a very noisy environment shielding is not required, or really even recommended.

Shielding may be needed in very noisy environments such as some industrial settings but it comes with its own set of problems.

Special attention needs to be paid to ensure that the shield is properly grounded, preferably only on one end of the cable. If both ends are grounded then both systems need to be able to deal with the ground potential offset that will almost certainly exist. In more complicated network topologies this can be a serious issue.

In short, if you don't REALLY need shielding, don't use it.