The standardly used wiring for both home and company networks is twisted pair – twisting the wires cancels out electromagnetic interference effects and improves SNR or signal-to-noise ratio. Because cat 5, cat5e and cat6 wiring are all twisted pair wiring types, there are special handling requirements that apply.
First of all, try not to twist the cable as you install it. This can cause fragile internal wiring to split or break, and can degrade the insulation. When running twisted pair cabling, try to use gentle curves rather than sharp angles which can degrade performance. It also makes sense when using UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cabling to install wires a safe distance away from any other wiring, and especially from fluorescent lighting.
To maximize performance and minimize latency, use as short of a cable run as you possibly can get away with using. In any event, never use more than 100 meters of cabling. Pulling two wires per “drop” (room, or area needing a connection) provides redundancy, which means you have a spare should one of the wires become degraded. Using two boxes of wiring makes this easier to do. Position your patch panel or hub in a central location such that each wire run is minimized.
If you nick a cable – don’t just let it go and think it will be OK. It won’t be over time. Degradation in performance is easy to achieve at Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet speeds. Discard or recycle this cable and pull a new one, to be safe. If you start with the longest runs first, if you nick a long wire, you can cut some of it off and still have enough for a shorter run.
It goes without saying that labeling each wire as soon as you pull it makes it easier to remember where it goes! Use colored tape, and mark the same colors on the RJ45 sockets you place the wire terminations into. Try to minimize the untwisting you do at the ends and connections when terminating the wires. Test the wiring with a high quality tester – lower quality testers do not detect “split pairs” or stress test wiring at high bit rates.
Pulling low voltage twisted pair cabling does take time and practice – if the infrastructure you are considering pulling is mission critical, it makes sense to leave it to professionals. Call experienced network cabling installers a cost-effective, thorough and professional job that you can count on for future as well as current infrastructure needs.
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