Handle cable properly for Category 5 installations

March 1, 1996
A critical requirement in installing Category 5 cable is to handle the cable properly. Although connecting hardware can often be the culprit for failing Category 5 standards, cable handling--or mishandling--can also cause your system to fail.

Thomas McLaughlin, General Cable Corp.

Problem

A critical requirement in installing Category 5 cable is to handle the cable properly. Although connecting hardware can often be the culprit for failing Category 5 standards, cable handling--or mishandling--can also cause your system to fail.

Solution

Follow a few simple guidelines when you are handling cable in a Category 5 installation.

Do

- Store the cable in a protected, moisture-free area.

- Replace any damaged cable.

- Avoid unnecessary bends.

- Keep bend radius to greater than four times the cable diameter.

- Minimize the number of 90 bends.

- Avoid sources of electromagnetic interference. For example, you should maintain at least a 6-inch separation from fluorescent lighting ballasts.

- Use Velcro straps, cable clamps or D-rings to support and position the cable.

- Make all connections via patch panels or crossconnect blocks.

- When feeding cable into the wall outlet, minimize extra-cable length.

- Maintain the same pin-pair assignment throughout the system.

Do not

- Step on cable.

- Exceed a 90o bend.

- Over-twist cable or pull the cable over a rough surface, which can tear the cable jacket.

- Run cable near sources of heat; such as heating ducts and hot water pipes.

- Overstress the cable; maximum pulling tension on a 4-pair cable is 25 pounds.

- Overtighten cable ties.

- Use staple guns.

- Run power cables in conduit with telecommunications cables.

Click here to enlarge image

Follow these dos and don`ts when handling cable in a Category 5 installation.

Thomas McLaughlin is director of engineering at General Cable Corp., Highland Heights, KY.

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