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LAN Installation techniques from an Installer POV
AccessDenied 
22/8/06 6:25:09 PM
Hero
Guru


I've noticed one thing in these forums. Alot of people know about cabling and the like, but their information is always lost in the guts of a thread. I couldn't find (Albeit, my searching skillzors suck) any threads specifically about the cabling side of networking. So.. I'm going to try and fill the void.

About me: I have 7 years experience in data cabling. (Some people have more. I accept this. But at the same time, you know you're not getting advice from a 'noob')

I'm registered with BICSI as a licenced cabler (LIC# B17766ACT) and endorsed for Twisted Pair, Fibre Optic and Coaxial.

I've installed fibre, cat 5, cat 3 and coaxial by the truck loads. I've terminated more connections than I have enjoyed (Up to 500 points/day including other ancillary work).

But let's go down to the basics.

------------------------

I'm going to assume you are wiring up your house with Cat5e. If I say Cat5 it's because I was too lazy to put the e on the end.

What are the different types of cable out there?
Cat3: This is your phone cable. It typically has 4 cores in it. Blue/white, Red/Black.

Cat5e: Your network cable. It has 8 cores. Blue/bluewhite, Orange/orangewhite, green/greenwhite, brown/brownwhite.

Cat6: Similar idea to above.

--------------------------------------

What is the difference between Cat5e and Cat6?
Cat6 has a better guarantee on it's Twists Per Inch. That is it. There are no different conductor thicknesses (This is dependant on cable brand and models. Nothing to do with category) That is all. Check it if you don't believe me.

What is UTP and why do I see it everywhere?
UTP stands for Unshielded Twisted Pair.

Are there other types?
Sure. You have FTP (Foil Twisted Pair) and STP (Shielded Twisted Pair). FTP and STP are often confused. The difference is simple. If it's got a wire braid around it, it's STP. If it's got what appears to be aluminium foil wrapped around it with a SINGLE drain wire (typically about 6 strands of .2mm tinned copper) then it's FTP.

Do I need FTP or STP?
No. Quite simply. When you increase the shielding, you decrease the noise introduced into your signal. Unfortunately, it also increases the load on your network. Thus you cut the distance you can run the cable quite significantly. It's also horrendously expensive. If you have a massive 11kV transformer strapped onto the side of your house and you need to run cable near it then maybe FTP will be beneficial. Otherwise, this cable is normally used in an industrial environment.

Is it worth paying the extra money for Cat6?
OUCH! Nasty question. Are you willing to pay the extra money for gigabit switches? If so, then probably yes. If you manage to get your hands on good quality Cat5e you may be ok. In fact, in many cases it's better to get something like "Belden Cat5e" than "Yumcha Cat6".

------------------------------------------

Ok. So you've bought your cable and you want to get it in.

Many different methods of doing this. I've seen people just run it over the floors in the corner and are happy with that. Fine.. If that floats your boat. Go for it. But I'd personally be unhappy with that sort of work. And here is the best reason for it (And it has nothing to do with cosmetic appeal). When people run it around a corner they quite often bend the cable far too tightly. This is almost like putting a kink in a hose. Yes.. It affects the quality of the signal. You get what are called "Reflections". So.. This marvellous Cat6 you got is now only capable of doing 100megabit. I'll go into this later.

Lets first look at the starting point.

Where are you cabling back to? Cables don't just go everywhere. There has to be a central point. So, where is most practical. It's not necessarily right in the middle. It needs to be somewhere where there is power available (For switches and if it takes your fancy, a server). It needs to be accessible for MANY cables. The thickness of cables quickly adds up I promise you.

How will you want to do this? Will all ports be active at all times? Will you put a patchpanel in there and as you need a port to become active you whack a patch lead in? Advantages and disadvantages either way. If you are only running a fistful of cables (Maybe 10 or so) you may just run straight into a switch and not need a patch panel. But if you are doing a full install of 2 or more points per room plus extras, you'll quickly fill up a switch and have cables left over.

Some people don't like patch panels but instead just terminate all the cables with plugs and plugs them in as necessary. This is fine. Just be prepared for it to look messy and for cables to get knotted up just by looking at them.

NEXT

Plan your runs. Why run just one cable when you can do 2 or more.

If you're going to the other side of the house, did you want to run backwards and forwards 5 times or just haul 5 cables to the points and then get them in position as necessary. It saves time. And there is also tidyness involved.

Plan your backbones. You have a central point. And now you realise you have 5 cables going off in one direction. Cable ties are your friends. Keep them together. It looks neat. You'll feel happier for having done a great job.

This process is called "Roughing in".

Get the cables approx in location. So you've dragged them into position (I'll go over correct method of pulling shortly). Leave a couple of metres of excess. If you're in the roof dropping down leave about 4 metres excess. If under floor leave about 1.5 metres excess.

At the central point you want about 1 metre possibly a little more in a loop.

When pulling cable always use low pressure. If you have to use any force then most likely it is too much. Stop. Find where the cable is catching and resolve it. It may be that you are going around too many corners. Pull some slack to the corner and then carry on.

Corners. You want a large diameter bend. It needs to be greater than 5x the diameter of the outer sheath of the cable. So approx 25mm (1 inch for the imperial inclined)

If you are going from horizontal to vertical with the cable (like dropping into a wall or going upwards) and you believe the weight of the cable may be an issue then use some form of strain relief. A piece of rounded conduit can be used to stop it from being to tight a kink or if necessary do a loop. Make it about 200mm diameter on the loop and use a LOOSE cable tie to hold the loop in place. This will allow a nice big bending radius.

ROOF INSTALL
ALWAYS install your cable underneath the wooden supports in the roof if going along the plaster. If possible, go underneath insulation too.

ALWAYS keep at least 300mm seperation between data and power at ALL times.

If you must cross power cross at 90 degrees and ensure there is mechanical protection between the power and data cables.

Dropping the cable is the hardest bit. Typically you are most likely to get the cable down right near the outer wall. There is ALWAYS a gap between the brick and the wooden frame of a house (Typical house). Dropping the cable down this gap is typically the easiest. If you have to go an internal wall, you may encounter a few difficulties. First you have the "Top plate". This can be dealt with by nothing more than a 25mm spade bit bought from a hardware store and your drill. (You have a drill right?) But what about the noggins in between? What you need here is one of those extensions for the drill. They are expensive. You might be able to find a hardware store that will rent them out for a day. But here is how you do it if you get your hands on one.

FIRST.. Measure EVERYTHING. Locate the studs in the wall. Locate where you want it in the room. Check and then double check.. Write it down. Don't trust your memory.

Drill a 25mm hole in top plate. About 50 mm from edge of this hole, drill another hole.

Get long extender and put your spade bit (or auger) onto this.

Get a REALLY strong torch. Shine it down the second hole.

You MIGHT need to drill a third hole to help sight down the wall.

When you have it lined up. Drill.. Do NOT be surprised if the first time you do this, you actually are at a slight angle and come through the plasterboard and into the room. It happens.. And those spirit level bubbles you get on some drills? Useless.

Now you need to get the cable down there. Easiest way to do that is with a piece of string and some heavy nuts or washers. Tie the metal bits onto the string and lower them down the hole.. You should be able to guess what you are meant to do.

At the bottom cut your hole and a magnet on a stick can be used to get your nuts out of the wall (oh yeah.. Make your jokes now)

At the top, tape (Electrical tape is brilliant for this) your cable to the piece of string. Pull on string and VOILA.. Insta-cable-coming-out-wall.

Floor
This is ALOT easier. You don't have noggins in the way.

Run your cable. Again avoiding power as mentioned above.

MEASURE (Like above)

Drill holes in bottomplate of frame.

Cut hole in plasterboard and drop string down (String is more flexible than cable so it's easier to get right). Typically it's a good idea to use the nut/washer thing again because you can always use a small magnet on a stick to just drag it out.

Tape cable to string and pull up.

SECURE THE CABLE. This is important. Ground moisture can absorb into the cable deteriorating it over time.

Do NOT use a staple gun. It applies too much force and can damage your cable. I recommend getting the knock in style C clips. (eg. Jaycar Part # HP0680)

---------------------------------

OK.. You've got the cable in place. It's hanging out the wall.

Wallplates.

Pick something nice. Electrical wholesaler is best place to get them at a reasonable price.

Make sure you get your plaster clips too. Makes you job so easy to install.

Easiest way to get the right size cutout everytime is to use your plasterclip. Just hold it against the wall so it's nice and level. (Clip parts facing outwards). Use a pencil to mark the 2 screw-holes and then trace around the central "c" part of the clip. Turn the clip through 180 degrees (clip parts still on the outside). Line up the screw-holes. Repeat the drawing of the inside of the "c". You'll now have I nice "Cutout" to make. Stanley knife or plaster saw it out.

Don't forget to cut a nick on either side of the cutout to where the screw holes are. You need to get the screws through somehow. So a triangle on either side which extends out about 12mm is perfect.

The Keystones (Jacks)
You've reached the expensive part of your install. Most importantly is to get the jacks that match your wallplate. HPM/Clipsal/Krone quite often have different styles of locking. Some are round some are square. If you're not sure. ASK!

The Punchtool
You WILL NOT use a screwdriver. I've seen home handymen do it. I've seen electricians do it. BUY THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB! Jaycar sell a cheap $10 punch down tool which is MORE than adequate for doing a one off house install.

Why shouldn't you use a screwdriver? Simple. When you push down the the flat blade you infact push the 2 IDC (Insulation Displacement Connectors) to the side and they don't properly terminate into the cable. You might get lucky and they blades will sufficiently cut the insulation of the cable getting you a termination, but it is a poor connection at best. Use a punch tool and save yourself the headache of destroying the plugs (Yup. Once the IDC blades are bent you've destroyed $10 worth of plug. How many times do you want to do that?)

------------------------------------

NITTY GRITTY TIME

You've got your cable in place.. You've got your wall plates. You've got your jacks. You might even have a patch panel. But what the hell do you do now?

There are 2 standards for terminating.

568A and 568B The difference? Quite simply where the orange and green pairs go.

568A Pinout
1 - White/Green
2 - Green
3 - White/Orange
4 - Blue
5 - White/Blue
6 - Orange
7 - White/Brown
8 - Brown

568B Pinout
1 - White/Orange
2 - Orange
3 - White/Green
4 - Blue
5 - White/Blue
6 - Green
7 - White/Brown
8 - Brown

Notice 1+2 switching positions with 3+6? There is your difference.

Why? Green and orange are your TX/RX pairs. If you have a cable which is one side 568A and the other side 568B you have made a crossover cable.

Check your Jack
Quite often on either the packet of the jacks or on the jack itself it has the wiring diagram on it. If it has an A/B it means the first colour is if you want 568A and the second colour is if you want 568B. Not dramatic.

Typically you will have a socket which has something like
 
---A----B----B----A----
1 W/G W/O W/Bl W/Bl 5
2 G O G O 6
3 W/O W/G W/Br W/Br 7
4 B B Br Br 8


Where
W = White
O = Orange
G = Green
Bl = Blue
Br = Brown

If you want it to be type A just look down the A column etc.

Stripping the cable
The trick is to keep the twists in the cable til the last possible moment. If you have to untwist all the way back to the sheath you've done something wrong.

So, strip back about 30mm. Keep all the pairs twisted (Don't untwist yet)

Align the end of the sheath with the edge of the jack (Crimp side of course)

Untwist back the pairs as far as necessary and no further.

Align with the crimps and using your crimp tool, push down. It should be straight down and quickly. Check the cable. Did it go down flat and smooth? If so, you can cut off the excess wire and move on. If you have a small "hump" in the cable, you'll have to start again. The core is most likely damaged and needs to be cut off.

Repeat for all cables and patch rack.

-----------------------------------------------

Few technical details for people that like to know.

NEXT: Near End Cross Talk. This is where signals 'jump' between pairs at the near end of the cable. This is quite often due to poor crimping or not maintaining the twists on the cable.

FEXT: Far End Cross Talk. Again signal 'jump'. This is when the cable may be poor quality and not have proper TPI (Twists Per Inch) maintained throughout cable.

Reflection: You've got a nice little kink in your cable. Or you used a staple gun. In "lies to children" method of explanation. The signal has momentum. Electrons or whatever. The scream along and suddenly that hit a sudden change in direction. Some make it around that sudden change. Some don't. They have nowhere to go but back where they came from. Reflection.

EMI: ElectroMagnetic Interference. You ran your cable beside the 240V. (Most common cause BTW). So you get a lovely 50Hz hum introduced. Your signal goes all over the shop. Sometimes it induces higher voltage into the cable. So instead of sending 1s and 0s suddenly it's sending really big 1s and 1s..

---------------------------------

Hope this helps a few people. It's nowhere near definitive. But I hope it means that people can install a network with a bit more knowledge. If you get it right the first time, you'll know that you won't have any problems in the future.

If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to tell people.

AD

---------------------
Addendum:
Maintaining twists in Twisted Pair cable (Cat5e + Cat6) is very important. Many things can disrupt the TPI. This can include going around corners too sharply but also things like impacts on cable and stepping/standing on the cable (Thanks Stevie for pointing this fellow out. Obvious yet easy to overlook). Care for your cable and it'll look after your data.. :D

Edited by AccessDenied: 22/8/2006 6:26:22 PM


Edited by AccessDenied: 22/9/2006 1:34:31 PM

-----
AD: 100 points.
Everyone else: Nil
50 points awarded by: The_Salty_Peanut, Mills

99% of girls on the internet are interested in sex. The other 1% are actually girls.

tacticus 
22/8/06 10:02:49 PM
Guru

bloody awesome write up ad

-----
Vetinari often speculated upon the fate of mankind should Leonard keep his mind on one thing for more than an hour or so.

"In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior."
- Francis Bacon

aliali 
22/8/06 11:47:42 PM
Hero
Immortal


Also might be worth adding that you must use the cat6 plugs and keystones with cat6 cable and I assume (haven't checked this) Cat5e plugs and keystones with cat5e cable. Also that there is a difference between stranded and solid core plugs.
One question though. If cat5e and cat6 are the same diameter why do the wires go in staggered in a cat6 plug but on the same level in cat5?

Tools> Even for small jobs a decent crimping tool is worth it. I bought a cheapy and it lasted for a week. I then got a decent one and it does the job perfectly every time. Same for punchdowns a decent punchdown is worth the cost.
I have one of these
http://www.datacomtools.com/catalog/punch-down-tool-krone.htm
and it is a wonderful piece of kit.
For crimping I use one like the ht-568r
seen here
http://www.qintar.com/html/telcom/crimptools2.htm
Again well worth the money spent.
Still bloody good stuff there AD.

Oh one tip too. When crawling around in ceiling spaces or under floors wear a beanie or hat of some description. It is amazing how much a simple beanie can reduce the impact of an accidental clonk on a rafter or joist.
And for christ sakes don't step on the plaster between the rafters.
:P

-----
"rhinos are not particularly intelligent animals"

Urbansprawl 
23/8/06 12:21:07 AM
Guru

Stickie!

-----
There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

Midnighter 
23/8/06 2:30:27 AM
Titan

Well done son, A for Effort mate, well said :) Cheers

-----
-'I Love You' is 8 letters. So is Bullshit.
-I'm smiling :) That alone should scare you.
-Smith and Wesson. The original Point and Click interface.
-There's a fine line between clever and stupid. Around here it's often hard to notice.

Katatonic 
23/8/06 4:37:23 AM
Champion

Oh I can so use this.

I've got 200m+ of cable I flogged from work. (Sue me).

+1 sticky.

-----
-=:Katatonic:=-

Kodotech.com - Ground Breaking Technology for PC Enthusiats [Coming Soon]

Mac Dude 
23/8/06 7:24:27 AM
Mod
SuperHero

Immortal


noice! x 2

-----
Melbourne Anime Movie Night
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=1&c=5&t=1622

Nullis in verba

AccessDenied 
23/8/06 12:57:36 PM
Hero
Guru


Aliali: You can get staggered Cat5e plugs too.. It has nothing to do with core diameter of cable. The larger cores are used for longer signal transmission rather than noise rejection. (In fact, larger cores are more prone to noise)

Decent tools FTW! But if you're just doing your own home and that's it, a simple tool that lasts 1 week is more than adequate.

Yes there is a difference between stranded and solid plugs. But nowadays it's almost impossible to get stranded. Most places that sell it are just trying to get rid of it.

And also.. WOOHOO!! MY FIRST STICKY EVER!!!

Any questions, I'll periodically check in here and see if I can answer them..

ALSO + 1 Beanie idea.. It also makes cleaning your hair so much easier.. You'd be amazed at the amount of things your hair collects..

AD

-----
AD: 100 points.
Everyone else: Nil
50 points awarded by: The_Salty_Peanut, Mills

99% of girls on the internet are interested in sex. The other 1% are actually girls.

aliali 
23/8/06 5:42:17 PM
Hero
Immortal


Ah cheers on the staggering (:P) info AD.
As for stranded, never used it once I swa the damn price, ouch.
As for "You'd be amazed at the amount of things your hair collects.."


Dude I farm for a living so Beanies FTW.

-----
"rhinos are not particularly intelligent animals"

Visi, veneri, vamoosi

MSGT Bilko 
23/8/06 10:13:17 PM
Primarch

Nice wirte-up AD, it all looks good from my experiance as well.

Thou in the west, we use a lot more brick walls for internall walls, so its harder to drill through noggins in the walls cause its solid brick instead.

-----
See Ya All on the Battle Field

Rig Specs: P4 3.2PG, 1.5 Gig Corsair TwinX, 280GB of Segate Storage, GeCube X800XT PL, Pioneer DVR 108 SW, LiteOn DVD, GTR 550W PSU, Home Made Fan Bus, with 2 Extra 80mm and 2 40mm Fan, All housed in a Antec Lanboy

confined 
23/8/06 10:20:39 PM
Guru

Fantastic and bookmarked. Never know when I might need to refer to this. Cheers AD.

-----
Drive boy,
Dog boy,
Dirty numb angel boy.

zephyr 
24/8/06 3:27:45 PM
Hero
Titan


Quote by AccessDenied Yes there is a difference between stranded and solid plugs. But nowadays it's almost impossible to get stranded.


but... patch leads? is everyone making these out of solid core now???

-----
"It is better to be silent, and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." (Confuscius)

AccessDenied 
24/8/06 11:39:55 PM
Hero
Guru


Nope.. Nowadays it's often cheaper to buy pre-made leads than stranded cable with stranded plugs.. Simple fact..

Hence why stranded cable is so hard to come by now..

Just make sure you get it from a wholesaler not an electronics shop.. Price difference is huge..

AD

-----
AD: 100 points.
Everyone else: Nil
50 points awarded by: The_Salty_Peanut, Mills

99% of girls on the internet are interested in sex. The other 1% are actually girls.

stevie 
27/8/06 8:49:09 PM
Champion

i picked up a non-brand krone tool off ebay for $15 it is nearly as good as the real deal. if you use a genuine one you notice the diff.

you can pick up a thing that is used for stripping the outer sheath and be used for punching down. dunno what they're called

[e] but here one is.

http://www.cabac.com.au/webshop/public/prodinfo/KDAT1~CRM_IMAGE

one other thing in my experience is that clipsal jacks dont seem to go as well with a krone punchdown tool and visa versa.

Nice work BTW too!






Edited by stevie: 18/9/2006 8:54:28 PM

-----
You are the doctor!
You are the enemy of the daleks!
You will be exterminated.
EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

stevie 
18/9/06 8:50:46 PM
Champion

Something i have recently learned (Not the hard way fortunatly) is that when you install your cat 5e etc. DO NOT leave the cable on the ground to be walked on. It changes/messes up the twists in the pairs and you get cross-talk, which means you get poorer performance than what you would hope to get.

AccessDenied your more than welcome to put any of what i said; if you want; in your post since some people might not read reply's.

Stevie


Edited by stevie: 18/9/2006 8:56:42 PM

-----
You are the doctor!
You are the enemy of the daleks!
You will be exterminated.
EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

AccessDenied 
22/9/06 1:31:47 PM
Hero
Guru


You are correct about that standing on stuff. I suppose you could say, I was hoping that people would have it in the walls before people could step on it.. :P

Fenn and I just bought a house. So I'm about to put all this into practice (again). O_o

AD

-----
AD: 100 points.
Everyone else: Nil
50 points awarded by: The_Salty_Peanut, Mills

99% of girls on the internet are interested in sex. The other 1% are actually girls.

Goth 
25/9/06 12:34:46 PM
Hero
Immortal


Can't believe i missed this thread, it's a really brilliant, useful thread, and i think it's really helpful.

However, there is one point that i think should at least be mentioned in passing.

Technically, if you do this kind of stuff, and you're not a Registered Cabler, you're breaking the law.

I'm sure you can understand that this issue should at least be mentioned, AccessDenied.

Of course, like many other suitably competent people, i often ignore this :)

Cheers.

-----
No United States based airline currently allows snakes in the main cabin area. However, some airlines allow snakes to travel as cargo.

AccessDenied 
25/9/06 5:11:30 PM
Hero
Guru


Goth: heheh.. Partly wrong however.

You are only breaking the law if it connects to 240V OR directly to the telephone network.

If it required a cabler for all internal wiring, it'd mean you would not be allowed to run extension leads and the like in your house. So the law was broken down a little.

A registered cabler is permitted to test and sign-off (TC-01 form) a installation for connection to the public network.

AD

-----
AD: 100 points.
Everyone else: Nil
50 points awarded by: The_Salty_Peanut, Mills

99% of girls on the internet are interested in sex. The other 1% are actually girls.

Goth 
25/9/06 6:52:47 PM
Hero
Immortal


The issue has been debated at great length over at OCAU, and the ACMA has been contacted, etc etc... and the general conclusion is that since just about all data network systems ultimately connect to the telecommunications network somehow, they're subject to ACMA regulations.

-----
No United States based airline currently allows snakes in the main cabin area. However, some airlines allow snakes to travel as cargo.

zephyr 
26/9/06 8:03:27 AM
Hero
Titan


are we talking connection on a physical/electrical, or logical level? what about a wireless router? ie air gap?

there is no reason for them to regulate where there is no electrical circuit between the phone network and your data network.

why is it that i can happily install coax for my TV antennas, but if i were to connect some old 10BaseT network to it, i would suddenly be breaking the law?

-----
"It is better to be silent, and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." (Confuscius)

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