20 practical cabling tips for network engineers

Oct. 15, 2012
Installer-friendly list is compiled by Ethereal Mind, an online journal of "data networking design, analysis and review."

Ethereal Mind, an online journal of "data networking design, analysis and review," recently published its no-nonsense reckoning of the "top 20 practical cabling tips for network engineers." The installer-friendly list in two parts is conveniently broken down into highly pertinent real-world sub-headings, as follows:

The Forgotten Things:
(1) Cable length matters. (2) Long patch cords can be a bad idea.

Physical Considerations: (3) Overloaded cable trays. (4) Leave space to remove unused cables. (5) Crushed cables in overloaded cable trays. (6) Hanging cables will stretch. (7) Don't pull to hard. (8) Electrical conduits can’t be used for data cabling.

Cheap Cables: (9) Less copper. (10) Cheap patch leads.

Degrading Signals: (11) Neat cabling causes signal interference. (12) Keep away from power cables. (13) Keep away from electrical interference sources. (14) Keep your cable dry. (15) Cables need to be cool. (16) 'Star Pass' is 'Fail' at installation time.

Fiber-Optic Cables: (17) OTDR testing is not enough. (18) Fiber-optic loss is power sum. (19) Dust caps have a purpose. (20) Don’t kink fiber cables.

The article wraps up with "The EtherealMind View" as pertains to installation best practices for network cabling infrastructure. Worth quoting in full, the recommendation of the list's author, Greg Ferro, is as follows:

"The weakest link in the cabling infrastructure defines the performance of your entire cable system. A bad patch lead means the entire cable run is faulty. It’s surprising how much impact a bad cable install can have on a facility (experienced it a couple times).

A faulty cable can hard to detect. Many cable faults are simple 'up / down' or errors will show on the physical interface in the router or switch. But marginal cabling may only be detected by replacing the cable or performing a signal test.

Cable can degrade over time because it’s made of actual stuff. A cable that was working yesterday can be intermittently faulty next week."

See full articles:

Top 20 Practical Cabling Tips for Network Engineers - Part One (etherealmind.com)

Top 20 Practical Cabling Tips for Network Engineers – Part Two (etherealmind.com)

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