Installation of LAN Cabling for 100mb Cat5e - Page 2 - LAN Cable Selection
The most important thing to buy is of course some LAN cable. I would recommend to select a good manufacturer for this. To the left you can see a box of 305m of Nexans Category 5e lan cable. You might ask what the additional 5m is doing. Well 305m = 1000ft. That box was purchased for 62euro. Depending on the length of the cable runs for each user you could use from 1 to maybe 3 boxes for a 20 user office.
It is important to select good quality cabling because installation is time consuming and tiring and you will not want to have to rewire a segment again, you want to do it properly the first time and you want the cable to survive a little abuse. The Category 5e cabling is fine for 100mb connections and also will support Gigabit but in that case you will have to be careful of the cable lengths for each user. A good installation will last for years. There are other types of cable for instance cat6 and above. If you are considering these then you will have to weigh up the extra costs and the benefits. You may have better luck with Gigabit over longer lengths at a higher capacity but I am not experienced to advise you on that. I can advise that the Nexans cat5e cable is readily available and fine for an office installation and survives a little abuse during installation and painting over.
If you are doing a reasonably large installation it is most recommended to get a box of cable. This is because the box of cable is designed to assist you in the installation. The cable exits through a plastic nozzle in the box enabling you to pull more cable gently when required during installation without the cable becoming twisted and fouled. It will save you time and annoyances from sorting out a horribly twisted coil of wire.
If you want to avoid problems you must avoid pulling and bending the wire excessively. Especially if you have drilled holes in the wall and are pulling the wire through it, it is best to have someone on the other side of the wall to prevent the cable from kinking and the wire looking obviously stretched. In the case of that happening I usually cut off the visibly stretched part and use the good part of the wire for a shorter use. The reason I do this is because I do not have access to expensive lan diagnostic equipment. It is possible to waste too much time trying to find the problem in the wire so it is best to do it properly the first time.
The best method for pulling cable is of course the easiest method. You must look at the whole journey the cable will have to take and decide the easiest way to pull it. It is most difficult to start at the socket and pull cable all the way to the switch/patch panel. If you have to go through walls then that is the best place to start because you have to pull cable through that hole. So you start at the hole in the wall closest to the socket. You pull cable through that hole all the way to the switch/patch panel and then you start laying the cable from the hole to the socket. I usually start that way, being closer to the socket than the switch/patch panel. This is because it is easier to lead a cable into the rack cabinet than start the cable from through the patch panel.