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June 12, 2007, 5:17 pm
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I work at a small private school as a network administrator. We are
building a new classroom building, and to save the school some money,
I volunteered to do all the network cabling for the building. I'm
very comfortable with the installation and termination of Cat 5 & 5e
cable, and I assumed that Cat 6 would be similar. However, after
reading several articles online, I keep hearing warnings about how
different a Cat 6 installation is from Cat 5 - particularly because of
the delicate nature of the cable and the tighter twists of the wire.
My question is this: do you know of a good source for training with
Cat 6 installations? Or even better, a book I could buy that is VERY
detailed in how to go about performing such an installation? I would
assume that commercial contractors in this area would have to go
through some sort of installation training, and I would guess that
they would have books for this. Any ideas?
Re: Cat 6 installation question
Sounds like someone was trying to feel important by telling
you to be more careful... which is kinda true, but not
really (care should be taken with CAT5 too).
It's not particularly delicate, but if you have a hard job
you might choose 22 ga., not 23-24 ga. CAT6.
Beyond the fact that all pairs need connected, all you
really need to remember is don't pull through sharp corners,
find a way to feed it as it's pulled (2 man job sometimes),
and when terminating to outlets, retain as much of the pairs
twisting as possible, and don't run it along other cables
whenever possible. Practically speaking you might end up
running along with other network cables to an extent, but
not other cables like electrical. In other words, this is
not different than ideal CAT5 installation. Further, the
ideals of a perfect installation will end up colliding
(deliberate pun) with the real-world requirements of doing
it in an existing or pre-planned installation.
HOWEVER (this is important!) if you can get to the jobsite
early (I mean different day, not just a few hours earlier
every day) and do the rough work of stringing this BEFORE
others like the plumbers, electricians, etc get there, it is
definitely to your advantage. You'll get to pick the
optimal routes, and/or easier routes, and then all you need
do is be on hand to consult the electrican when he starts so
you can be sure he's not going to try to string parallel to
your existing runs. So it's a tradeoff, it can require
another trip to inform and/or check up on the other
installers, but (and I hate to say it but the honest truth
here as I saw it when dealing with rough-outs/new
installations was...) it also depends on whether you're
contract or hourly labor. Contract tends to mean you don't
want to have to keep checking up on jobs, you might actually
prefer to come in after the electrican just so you don't
have to go back to the site, while hourly... hey, it's
another couple hours billed to drive there and stand around
looking at things instead of working ;-).
Keep in mind that even CAT5e can normally be used for
gigabit ethernet. Using exact same installation with CAT6,
it is only that much better over long runs. As always the
key to a good installation is a good crimp tool to ensure
all connections to plugs are solid, or with jacks as
mentioned above, tight wiring where pairs are not untwisted
too much. If you had good practices with CAT5e, you can
pretty much just keep doing things the same as always.
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