Proper installation of network cables is essential to ensure efficiency, speed, and reliability of your network infrastructure. This should also help avert costly troubleshooting, repair, and upgrades in the future.
An IT expert at a cabling company Firewall Technical noted that most of the leading causes of slowed network performance or frequent troubles can be traced to an improperly installed cabling. In many of the service requests, they find faulty network cabling to be the main culprit. The good news, however, is that these mistakes are actually avoidable.
9 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Running Network Cable
Let’s take a look at some of the most common network cabling errors to avoid.
#1. Failure to foresee future networking needs
As more and more transactions become digitized, networking needs will continuously grow over time. And this should be something to anticipate whenever you run new network cabling.
While it can be tempting to just stay with your current networking speed, this is often a short-sighted decision that could cost you more in the future. When you stick with a low bandwidth network, you might need to have it changed sooner than expected when data transmission demand increases.
So, if you are planning to revamp your network infrastructure or set up a new one, you need to aim for higher network capacity even if a 100 Mbps network connection still meets your present needs and even if you don’t anticipate any upgrade soon.
#2. Poor cable management
Poor cable management is a common mistake to avoid. Network cables require continuous checking and maintenance, as well as, regular upgrading; as such proper cable management is vital. Cable management involves having a network infrastructure plan, labeling and color-coding of cables and use of cable management strategies such as rack-based or ladder rack approach.
#3. Running network cable beyond recommended length
According to EIA/TIA network cable installation standards, network cables should not exceed 100 meters in length (including patch leads). Going beyond this limit reduces the reliability of the network cabling. The longer the distance the data needs to travel, the slower its transmission and the higher probability of transmission issues.
#4. Using separate cables for voice and data
The common practice for businesses is to install separate cables for voice and data since twisted pair cabling tend to be costlier. In addition, voice required very little bandwidth and a pair of wires is often enough. Typically, businesses spent more on data and less on voice.
At the outset, installing different cables for voice and data may seem cost-effective. But in reality, this is actually costlier since the additional wiring means additional labor cost. Furthermore, with the popularity of VoIP, voice now requires higher cabling bandwidth. Nowadays, it is a good decision to go with twisted pair cabling or similar cabling for voice.
#5. Installing network cable parallel with electrical cables
Data cables are designed to be unshielded twisted pairs precisely to ensure swift data transmission. Electrical cables send off electromagnetic signals. When you run network cables in parallel with electrical cables, these electro-magnetic interferences or ‘noise’ can alter the transmission of data, thereby resulting in a slower or problematic network. To avoid this problem, design your network infrastructure so that the cables run in perpendicular with electrical cables or better yet they don’t ever come together.
Aside from electrical wires, other electrical devices, gadgets and equipment also produce interference. Motors, fluorescent lighting, and cell phones can produce ‘noise’ thereby wrecking the network infrastructure. Better avoid these interference-inducing items when running network cable.
#6. Running cables in moist and humid space
Data is transmitted through the cable’s copper material. Moisture and heat can adversely impact the way data is transmitted, as such, there recommended standards and practices that can help ensure the cables are kept cool and dry. Running your network cables in an environment that is moist and humid can result in operational and safety issues. It is important to incorporate plans on cooling and humidity control while laying out the cables.
#7. Failure to test the network
Before activating your network cabling, make sure to test it with recommended tools. Make that all cables are transmitting signals as recommended and apt for its intended use. Using network cables without testing can give you headaches later on. It can be a struggle to troubleshoot and pinpoint errors once you start to activate the network. It can also potentially lead to safety problems.
#8. Non-compliance with codes/standards/ordinances
Local codes and ordinances are put in place to ensure the welfare of safety personnel. Non-compliance puts safety personnel in danger. For example, some local ordinance prohibits the use of PVC-jacketed cabling in air handling space. This is because PVC material produces toxic stew when burned – and this can be harmful to firefighters and other responders.
Failure to follow local ordinances may also result in hefty fines. The local authorities may even order you to completely replace the cabling. Finally, these standards are recommended for your safety. All of these reasons make underscore the importance of knowing and following local codes.
#9. Not having access space
One thing certain about network infrastructure is that they’ll need to be updated, removed, modified, or changed at a certain point. You need to anticipate this by ensuring that there is enough space where you can access the network cables. Lack of access can result in unused cables being left in the infrastructure; hence, posing operational and safety hazards. When installing network cable, make sure there is adequate space for you to remove, update or modify these cables.
These are nine of the most common and avoided network installation errors. Although it is possible to learn how to DIY network cabling, it is best to consult someone with expertise in this field to help you plan and guide you through the installation process. Better yet, you can leave this task at the hands of specialists. This will definitely save you the troubles of dealing with a sluggish and inefficient network infrastructure.