Thomas McLaughlin, General Cable Corp.
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.
Follow a few simple guidelines when you are handling cable in a Category 5 installation.
- 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.
- 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.
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.