- Cheap cables negatively affect network performance
Cheap cables are false economy. They may bring the cost down in the short-term, but will cause problems and need to be replaced much sooner than good quality cables. Cheap, low-quality cables tend to have cores that are narrower than the standard diameter, which results in signal loss. Cheap cables are also physically weaker, which increases the chances of them snapping or stretching over time. So, not only do cheap, low-quality cables negatively affect network performance, they also don’t last as long and are, therefore, false economy.
- Cable length matters
The EIA/TIA standard specifies a maximum length of 100 metres for copper twisted pair cables. This maximum length includes patch leads so where, for example, 5 or 10 metre patch leads are used at each end of the cable run, the main cable length should be reduced accordingly so as not to exceed the 100 metre maximum. When cables are not installed correctly, network performance can deteriorate.
- Cable trays should not be overloaded
Firstly, overloaded cable trays can be a hazard. Suspended cable trays, more specifically, can fall from the wall or ceiling as a result of being too heavy due to overloading. This puts people and equipment at risk. In addition, the cables at the bottom of overloaded trays can be crushed by the weight of the cables above them. Crushed cables will cause signal degradation. It’s worth remembering that some cables are heavier than others and, therefore, more of a risk in this regard. Cat6 cabling, for example, is heavier and thicker than the previous copper cabling standards.
- Cables should not be pulled too hard
Damage can be caused to cables by pulling them too hard. When cables are pulled excessively, the copper core is stressed and this can result in copper wire being stretched and thinned. When this happens, signal performance deteriorates. Cables should be able to withstand a maximum force of 110N and a force meter should be used to ensure that pulling strength does not exceed this. It’s important to note that cheap, low-quality cables may not be able to withstand the maximum recommended force.
- Data cables should be kept away from power cables
As much distance as possible should be kept between power cables and data cables. When copper cabling, particularly unshielded cables, runs parallel with electrical power cables, the magnetic field that is a crucial component of the communications become disrupted. This leads to ‘noise’ or interference, which affects network performance. If it’s absolutely necessary to run data cables near electrical cables, they should be crossed in perpendicular instead of running parallel and shielded cables should be used for added protection against interference.
- … and other sources of electrical interference
As well as power cables, there are many other potential sources of interference that should be considered. Motors, fluorescent lighting and other items capable of shedding magnetic or electrical interference can compromise the performance of a cabling network. Such hazards should be always factored in when planning a cabling installation.
- Cables should be kept dry
Cables should always be kept dry during installation to avoid the damaging effects on signal performance that can be caused by moisture. When cable has to be run outdoors and between buildings, additional measures should be used to prevent moisture creep. Such measures include capped ends and waterproof conduits.
- Cables must be kept cool
Thermal changes in cables can affect the signal performance. To avoid this, cables should always be kept cool and prevented from overheating, which is a particular risk when they are in large bundles.
- Hanging cables causes them to stretch
When cables are hanging in a rack, they can be subject to physical stress caused by gravity. This can result in the copper cores being stretched over time and this, ultimately, results in signal degradation. To avoid this, patch management should be used.
- Once installed, the entire cabling infrastructure should be tested
A cabling network should always be tested, using appropriate tools, upon completion of the installation. This will ensure that it meets required standard and is appropriate for the intended use. Testing should include, for example, verification of cable length and specifications. The performance of a cabling network can diminish over time, as demonstrated by the previous points, so an installation that barely passes testing might soon fall below required specifications and should, therefore, be considered as requiring improvements.
If you’re looking for a reputable cabling installer in Birmingham, Worcester and the surrounding areas, call Midland Networks today on 0800 849 8585.