Networking: A Beginner's Guide
Installing and Maintaining Network Cabling
Not only is the selection of a type of network cabling important, but the cabling must
be installed correctly. A cable plant installation should include all of the following:
Proper cable and connectors for the type of network, including documentation
of the components selected and used. (This is so that people adding to the
network in the future can make sure to match these selections.)
Complete labeling of all parts of the network, which should include the wall
plates, cables, patch panel ports, patch cables, and hub port assignments. This
is important for troubleshooting.
An as-built drawing of the building showing all the cabling routes and locations.
A certification report showing that all the installed cables operate properly
using a special network cable test device.
For bus-type networks, users should be made aware that they should not touch
the coaxial cable for any reason whatsoever. The coaxial cable will cause all other nodes in the
segment to fail if the cable is separated. Make sure that facilities personnel also know this.
Making sure that a new cable plant installation is properly installed and well
documented will save you time over the long run. The network will be more reliable
and much easier to maintain and repair.
Choosing a Cabling Contractor
When building a new network, choosing a cabling contractor is extremely important.
A contractor who does high-quality, well-documented work is desirable and,
unfortunately, hard to find. Make sure that the contractor you choose has a lot of
experience installing networks like the one you're installing. In addition, assess the
following issues as part of your selection:
How will the contractor document the cable plant? What are the contractor's
standards, and do you think those documentation standards meet your needs?
(Remember that no such thing exists as too much documentation for cable plants.)
Will the contractor provide a set of as-built drawings showing how the cables
were installed in the building?
How does the contractor install the cable to avoid electrical interference sources
in the ceiling and walls?
Does the contractor recommend a wiring solution that combines
telecommunication wiring with data wiring? Generally, keeping these two
cable plants separate is best. They have different requirements and respond
differently to various building conditions. What works fine for telephones may
not work for network cable, and vice versa.