We have CAT5 cables that were installed in 1997, some of which are longer than 100m and run past elevator engines and probably lots power cabling (it's in a theatre). With some cables, I could only get a stable link on 10MBPS and sometimes even that was too much to ask. I used simple 8 port switches (sweex, broadcom, etc) for most of these connections. After I plugged in these cables into a decent 24 port 3Com switch, the connection turned out to be steady as a rock.
Kind of obvious perhaps, as a more expensive switch would be expected to have better noise tolerance, but it did save me from the impossible and expensive job of reinstalling the cabling.
Decent network switches can be lifesavers. Yay for vlans!