Construct your terminating wall away from the room wall

March 1, 2011
Do whatever possible to ensure you have the space you need in the TR.

Do whatever possible to ensure you have the space you need in the TR.



In telecommunications rooms (TRs), most terminating walls are made of plywood and built using 2x4 stud framing. Most are also located within inches of the room's wall. Dropping and routing cables through the back side of the terminating wall can be time-consuming and can create problems when you try to access these cables. Installing additional cables after the original installation can also take considerable time because of space constraints. Separating cables is difficult, and when you pull a cable through the terminating wall, you can easily damage its protective sheath. Also, if you drop a tool behind the terminating wall, it very likely will be gone forever.


Build your terminating wall approximately 2 feet away from the TR wall. You can use the same 2x4 construction you normally would, but do not construct your terminating wall to be the same length as the room wall. Instead, make the terminating wall 18 to 24 inches shorter than the room length to allow you access to the cables behind the terminating wall. When you route cables through the wall from behind it, you run a much lower risk of damaging them than you do when you pull cables through from the other side. Also, with this setup, adding cables after the original installation takes only minutes. Finally, you do not run the risk of losing your favorite pen or tool behind the wall.


1) Measure 24 inches out from the TR wall and construct your 2x4 frame the way you normally do. Remember to stop your wall at least 18 inches from the side wall to allow access. The height of the terminating wall should be specified by the end user. Typically, a terminating wall is 7 to 8 feet tall, allowing access to cables and cable-management hardware above the wall if necessary.

2) Because you will not anchor the frame to the room wall, install a 2x4 stud that is tall enough to reach the ceiling on the access end of the wall.

3) Anchor this 2x4 stud to the ceiling to provide stability to your terminating wall.

4) If your TR does not allow sufficient space to build the terminating wall away from the room wall, then at a minimum use 2x10 studs instead of 2x4 studs when constructing the wall. While not ideal, this solution does provide some additional space for post-installation additions and limited access behind the terminating wall.

Editor's note:This cabling installer tip was published back in 1998. In fact, when it was originally published the now-politically incorrect term "telecommunications closet" appeared wherever you now see "telecommunications room." We chose to run it again now because we believe it still works. But maybe, despite our efforts, it really is outdated. Or perhaps you have a better approach to do this, or to perform any task in the realm of cable pulling, routing, termination, management or removal. We'd like to publish your tips in our magazine. Please email your idea to our editor: [email protected].

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