Blog

  1. Wired or Wireless? Ethernet vs. WiFi

    The ability to just click a button and connect to WiFi on almost any modern device is hard to pass up. On the other hand, ethernet is still around after years of WiFi so surely it has its advantages. The truth is that both options have ups and downs. Your priorities as a user will be the ultimate deciding factor for determining which is better.

    Wired Connections - Ethernet

    Ethernet is older and better tested than WiFi, maintaining a number of benefits. Physical connections are faster and provide greater reli

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  2. Patch Panels

    Patch panels are simple pieces of equipment designed to house a large number of jacks. Typically, they are mounted onto rack or cabinets. The panels themselves are easy to install, but there are a few details to know before getting started.

    Horizontally, patch panels are 19 inches (the industry standard size). Vertically, patch panels are measured in rack units (RU). Patch panels are rectangular and secured with four screws, one on each corner. A single RU is the amount of space one row of jacks will take up on a unit (1 RU = 1.75 inches). Typically, a maximum of 24 ports can be squeezed onto a single RU.

    There are two main types of patch panels,

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  3. Pinouts (Wiring Schemes)

    “Pinout” is a term describing how an electrical cable is wired. Some cables do not have pinouts because they only contain a single internal wire, like coax cables. But if a cable has multiple pins on the end of the cable, it will have a pinout.

    Each type of multi-pin cable has a standard pinout or two, but these layouts are not set in stone. Some machines will require non-standard pinouts; this will require users to use a custom cable.

    Pinouts also come into play when using a cable with two different ends. For example, going from DB9 (9 pins) to DB25 (25 pins) will mean the DB25 side has 16 unused, “dead” pins.

    If you need to know what pinout a cable needs, ideally there will be a spec sheet

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  4. Cable Distance Limits - Data

    Every type of cable has a maximum distance. These distance limits can vary greatly from one type of cable to the next. Along with determining whether a cable will work, distance limits will also determine how well a cable works. Knowing the fundamentals behind cable distance limits is the first step in selecting the best cable for your needs.

    Cables will always have some sort of “maximum signal” rating, depending on the type of the cable. For ethernet cables, it will be the maximum upload/download speed. For HDMI, it will be the maximum resolution of the video. And so on and so forth for other cables. Any type of “maximum” rating should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Those ratings are the best possible rating the cable is capable of under t

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  5. Making & Mending - DIY Surface Mount Box

    Surface mount boxes are great little alternatives to wall plates when running cables to a keystone jack. A surface mount box can be easily affixed to the wall, floor, or ceiling when setting up a keystone jack. This makes them perfect for setting up connections without having to pull cabling through the walls as well.

    In the guide below, we will be attaching an ethernet keystone jack to a single port surface mount box. A video guide is available at the bottom of the article.

    Step 1: Gathering the Supplies

    The main item will be the surface mount box itself, which will come disassembled in a few separate pieces. Not all of these pieces will be used; some will be left over depending on how you secure the mounting box to the wall/floor/ceiling. Aside from the box, you will a

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  6. Keystone Jacks

    Keystone jacks are small inserts designed to snap into place on keystone wall plates, patch panels, and surface mount boxes. Equipment built for keystones will have small holes left in them instead of having jacks pre-built in. Keystone jacks snap into place in these holes, allowing users to customize what jacks are included however they see fit. Keystones are also easy to remove if anything ever needs to be repaired or replaced.

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  7. Making & Mending - DIY Low Voltage Mounting Bracket

    Installing a wall plate onto drywall can be a real pain. Cutting a hole in the wall is easy, but getting the plate to stay tight and secure is another story. More often than not, users end up with a loose wall plate that feels like it will come off along with the cable any time something is unplugged. The issue lies with the wall plate not have something solid enough to rest against. Drywall may be too soft by itself, but a mounting bracket changes that.

    In the guide below, we will be using the single gang version of the bracket. The same steps can be applied to the dual gang version. A video guide is available at the bottom of the article.

    Step 1: Gathering the Supplies

    The main item to have will be the bracket and the wall plate that will go on top of it. For tools, us

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  8. TV Mounts

    TV mounts have become increasingly popular during the new era of the flat screen TV. Now that TVs are not giant, heavy boxes that require a dedicated TV stand, a simple mount can be used instead to save space and provide a sleeker look. There are just a few facts to know before selecting a TV mount to make sure you choose the best unit for your needs.

    TV mounts come in three varieties: fixed, tilting, and articulating. Fixed TV mounts are solid; the TV simply hangs in place and cannot be moved. Tilting TV mounts can tilt down a little, making them easier to see when hung up high and saving viewers from straining their necks. Articulating TV mounts are wall mounts with a swinging arm, allowing the mount to face different directions. Most articulating mounts can also tilt as well. Ceiling TV mounts can also have the

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  9. Making & Mending - DIY Install - Swing Arm (Articulating) TV Wall Mounts

    The days of giant, boxy televisions that take three people to carry are long behind us. Modern TVs are flat, slim, and most importantly, lightweight. These newer, sleeker designs make it much easier to save space by using a TV wall mount over a traditional TV stand. Before installing a TV mount, there are a few basic details to be aware of.

    In this guide, we will be covering articulating (swing arm) TV mounts. Articulating wall mounts allow a TV to swing back and forth, making them best for areas where a TV needs to face different directions. For tilting and fixed mounts, see our other TV mount DIY install guide here.

    There are a few different ratings that apply to TV wall mounts. The first is the size of the television. Wall mounts will be rated for different screen sizes, so be

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  10. Cable Distance Limits - Audio/Video

    Every type of cable has a maximum distance. These distance limits can vary greatly from one type of cable to the next. Along with determining whether a cable will work, distance limits will also determine how well a cable works. Knowing the fundamentals behind cable distance limits is the first step in selecting the best cable for your needs.

    Cables will always have some sort of “maximum signal” rating, depending on the type of the cable. For ethernet cables, it will be the maximum upload/download speed. For HDMI, it will be the maximum resolution of the video. And so on and so forth for other cables. Any type of “maximum” rating should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Those ratings are the best possible rating the cable is capable of under t

    Read more »
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