The Do’s and Don’ts of Network Installation
Ethernet cable has a major role anytime and anywhere the Internet is involved. Whether Internet connections are used at home or in a professional setting like an office, school, hospital, or manufacturing plant, Ethernet plays a part. Even wireless connections have to get their signals from devices like routers or wireless access points that are using Ethernet themselves. But most people who use the Internet for activities with high data usage, like video streaming, will choose Ethernet for its faster speed over Wi-Fi.
Getting hardline connections ready may sound easy, but there is a bit of a planning process that goes into it. Firstly, think about what type of Ethernet cables you will need. Ethernet is divided into different categories. The current default cable is Cat5e, although newer and faster versions are also available. Consider what kind of data speeds the cable should be expected to handle and make a decision from there. Also, ask yourself where the cable will be located. If it is sitting on a desk in a room-temperature climate, any Ethernet cable will do. But if it will be exposed to extreme temperatures, sunlight, water, oil, chemicals, or any other harsh conditions, make sure to select a cable rated for that.
Do’s of Ethernet Installation
Cable management is one of the next things to consider and there are a few different ways to go about it. One of the simplest methods is to color-code the cables. Ethernet cables are made in all the colors of the rainbow and then some, providing a wide array of colors to choose from. Since most other cables are typically made in dull colors like black or grey, getting a vibrant color like yellow or orange can help an Ethernet cable stick out.
Another good method is to label the cables. This is a good idea for cables in general, not just Ethernet. Most people, at some point, have had to unplug a cable only to find that they cannot tell which cable goes where once they get under their desk. A label could be as simple as a colored sticker or it could have the name or use of the cable written on it. This keeps cables easy to track even when they become a tangled mess.
Of course, it is a lot easier if the cables never become a mess in the first place. When cables are kept loose, they inevitably tangle. Even single cables seem to get tangled up in themselves. A little preemptive cable management can stop this from happening. There are many different ways to do this, from using simple zip ties to hanging cables from bridle rings. Everyone’s set-up is a little different so the exact methodology here will be up to the user.
With the Ethernet cables themselves selected and organized, it is time to consider how they are going to mesh with the rest of your infrastructure. If cables are being pulled through walls or conduit, is there room to do so? A big factor here can be whether or not the cables being used are pre-assembled. If there is a tight fit, the RJ45 connector on the end of the cable may be too big while the standalone cable can fit through. If that is the case, it may be necessary to terminate the cable after pulling it.
Don’ts of Ethernet Installation
With all the prep work set up, you now know what to do when installing a cable. But it is just as important to know what not to do during that installation. For starters, make sure to keep the Ethernet a reasonable distance from power cables. A “reasonable distance” for Ethernet being 5-inches away. Ethernet uses electrical signals to send data, so electricity from other sources can cause interference. The interference can be cut down by using shielded cables, but that only goes so far. Shielded cables can protect against electromagnetic interference (EMI) from smaller cables like a computer power cord but may struggle against high-energy output from factory equipment or other heavy machinery.
Another factor to consider is how the cables are physically placed. Cables are designed to bend, but each cable has a maximum bend radius. Most cables, Ethernet included, can bend at about a 90-degree angle before they start to suffer damage. Going beyond that can cause the materials that make up the cable, most notably the copper at its center, to start to break. That type of damage can result in signal degradation or outright signal loss.
When the cables are being installed, ease-of-access is also important to consider. Nothing lasts forever and users will want to make sure they can get to any cables that wear down. Sometimes cables do have to be placed in inconvenient locations, but if it is possible to reach a cable from the ground that is a lot easier than needing a cherry-picker to reach a high ceiling. This also means users should make sure a cable can be pulled out as easily as it is installed. If many cables are packed tight into some conduit or a hole in the wall, that is asking for trouble once maintenance needs to be performed.
Most cables (fiber being the exception) transmit signals using electricity, which can generate excessive heat. All cables give off heat and need enough empty space around them to release that heat into the air and cool themselves safely. If many cables are packed together tightly or put in a location where the heat they give off has nowhere to go, like under a carpet, it could damage the cable or even start an electrical fire. Some cables are made with those specific environments in mind, but standard Ethernet cables can be a risk here.
Ethernet Network Cords from ShowMeCables
At ShowMeCables, we offer a wide variety of Ethernet cables. This includes pre-assembled patch cables as well as bulk cable and connectors for larger installation projects. Our stock includes anything and everything needed for an Ethernet installation project.
The most important thing during a network installation is to use your head. If you are unsure about the best way to use one of our products, finding a little help for that question is always a good idea. Our Sales team is ready to assist with just that when it comes to Ethernet or any of the other products we carry. They can be reached at 1-888-519-9505 or Sales@ShowMeCables.com