Network Cabling Guide
Poor or incorrectly installed network cabling can cause numerous problems with your computer network. Whilst we recommend that you employ a network /cabling specialist
to wire and configure your network, we have compiled some important information to help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls.
It is very important to understand that a problem with your network cabling, however small it may appear, can have a catastrophic effect on the operation of your data and audio network.
There are two wiring standards for network cabling, T568a and T568b. We will be discussing using the T568b specification.
It is essential that you DO NOT MIX T568a and T568b on the same network.
USE HIGH QUALITY CAT 5e , CAT 6 or 10G cabling
Audio files are generally very large data files and need to be moved around the network as quickly as possible. All computers sold today by Carley Communications are capable of network transfer at 1 Gbps (a Gigabit) full-duplex; however your existing network cabling, switches and routers may not be capable of supporting this speed and may only operate at the more common 100 Mbps.
Whilst generally it is possible to utilize good quality Cat 5 cabling for Gigabit networks, we highly recommend that you stick to the “in spec” Cat 5e standard or higher specification Cat 6 cabling and install cabling for Gigabit connectivity even if your existing network switches and routers only support 100 Mbps. This will then ensure that the cabling infrastructure is in place when the Gigabit routers and switches are more readily available.
The rest of the points apply equally to 1Gbps and 100 Mbps connections – each can be affected badly by poor cabling / bad connections etc. In high RF (Radio Frequency) environments, it is also essential to use ‘shielded twisted pair’ (STP) rather than ‘unshielded twisted pair’ (UTP) to prevent interference.
HAVE GOOD CABLES RUNS
Cabling between each of the computers should be in a ‘star’ configuration with each computer having a separate cable run to the central switch and / or router.
Each cable should be no longer than 90 Mtr and should be a single piece of cable (there should be no joins or joins).
Cabling should NOT be run next to electrical mains cabling (because of the potential for interference); nor should network cabling be suspended or laid on ceiling tiles (this may violate building, health & safety, and fire regulations).
As typically network cabling uses solid wire, cabling should not be twisted or bent into a tight radius.
Metal staples to secure cable runs MUST NOT BE USED, nor tightly adjusted cable wraps.
We recommend that you ‘flood’ wire any new building or area with Cat 6 or higher specification wiring, using an industry compliant cabling system end to end (no mixing and matching of manufactured products, this includes the cable).
This is because as well as network connections, this wiring can also be used for telephone systems and network cabling makes excellent audio cabling runs (the capacitance of the network cable is such as to allow high-bandwidth, high-speed data to transfer and is perfect for both analogue and digital audio).
If the telephone system is analogue using a PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange) system to migrate or converge to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) the cabling will be in place and will reduce the overall convergence cost.
Installation of Structured Wiring Solutions is a specialist area and should only be undertaken by competent trained and certified installation cabling companies. Ignorance is not an excuse for failed, non compliant or poor installations.
On completion each individual connection must undergo the full point to point test to certify that it is compliant with the relevant specification to which it has been installed.
These results should be published in paper or electronic format for you to retain as proof of compliance and as a reference for the future if a problem is detected.
Data cabling copper or Fibre Optic is an investment and if done properly will give rich returns on your investment. Data cabling systems installed today by authorised manufacturer accredited installers will have a 25-Year parts and labour warranty assigned to them.
Data cabling is not just a bit of wire it is a complex infrastructure like the foundation of a building, your operational network is reliant upon to transport data at high speed reliably and efficiently 24/7.
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When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the things it was bought to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot; it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better!”
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