Structured Cabling - Top Network Cabling Mistakes To Avoid

I understand structured cabling doesn't have that wow factor, it's pretty boring, but in today's marketplace, even small business needs to keep an eye on their cabling and network design. There are so many technologies available today that make it hard to understand all your potential options when having network cabling installed in your office.

Think In The Future

You have the option of multiple cable type from cat5 to cat6A and their prices vary from type to type. The price is only one thing to keep in mind. Think of your future telecommunications systems and it's specifications. It would not be wise to install less than cat5 and it's almost better to go with at least cat6 moving forward. Most modern systems need high speed and great memory to function as desired. Don't forget you may need to upgrade in the future so make sure the lines are ran properly and can be upgraded or easily replaced if damaged. Remember labor is typically the most expensive part of the project so choosing a good solid option is the way to go. I would advise minimum of cat6 to ensure a good use life for the wire and to be ready when you replace equipment that may require more than older wire types like cat5.

Do Not Run Data Cables Parallel with Electric Cables

All data cabling are twisted pairs that hold a magnetic field caused by low voltage that runs through the cable. When running parallel to electric cabling you run the chance of causing noisy communication and can even result in the transmission not even making from point A to B. It's ok to run close and of course in most cases you don't have a choice but be sure to leave 1-2 feet of separation if possible. Using zip ties or j-hooks that screw to the wall or frame is ideal to hold the cable above the electric wires in commercial ceilings. Also, no cables of any kind should run with power in the same cable tray, separate them by a metal trough.

Cable Management - No More Spaghetti Wires

It's easy to be worried about getting it done quickly and getting on line asap but that's only half of it! Your network cabling systems should look great and have the wires managed properly and dressed into the rack exactly at the perfect length. You should have all the labels in the same general area on the wires to be seen easily, so if there is an issue, it can be fixed without additional work. Also, you need to have a service loop on all the wires in the ceiling just in case you have to move the rack. Without this, if there is a problem with your lines it will cost you more to fix it than it should. The tech would have to tone out the wires, untangle and get them back to the correct location. In the worst case the wire would need to be ran again and it's hard to do properly if all the wires are in a mess.

Don't Mix Cable Type for Voice and Data

This is no longer the case but voice cabling used to be cheaper. This is due to voice only using single pair wires in past. Now days VoIP is the most popular option for phone service and requires data cables. Don't make the mistake of using older cabling for voice if you are running a separate cable for the phone. You need to use the same data cable type.

Know Your Distance Limits

There are standard distances for all cable types and it does make a difference in most cases if you go beyond the suggested length. Cat5 to Cat6a say the maximum length should be no more than 100 meters or 328 feet. Other cable types vary, USB is max 50 feet and HDMI is 50 feet as well. Going further with your cabling can cause slow transmission or nosy connections.

Don't Short Yourself on Wire

I get it, we all want to save money. You can create an unintended bottleneck if you are daisy chaining from mini switch to mini switch. It pays off to run a few more cables or so. This can clog your network when there's a need for a lot of network resources. Also, while running the cable you need to make sure you measure from the ceiling down to the floor in the rack room. Believe me, you do not want to find out your lines are too short to punch down in the rack.

IPC Tester

Test Your Network Cabling

Get the proper tools and test your network cables. Don't ignore the standards while installing your network cabling. You need to confirm the lengths and specifications of your cable are inline with the needs of your network devices. Also, check that the transmission speeds needed are compatible with the cabling you selected. The last thing you want to do is rerun all the cables due to your needs exceeding the cable's capability. One tool we use is a IPC tester. IT runs all the testing you can imagine! It has the capability of testing IP/CVBS or HDMI IN & IP at the same time. We can even run RJ45 cable, TDR test and UTP cable test.

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