Network Cabling: The Basics

Network cabling is a subject that many prefer to stay out of and let the professionals handle it for them. While you will not only be spending more on their services, you are entirely at their mercy since your understanding of the subject is limited. A large part of Network Design relates to your cabling and if you understand a few basics about it, you will not be taken for a ride.

While the decision should be an informed one, you should be aware that choosing the right kind of cables need not be the best one from the lot, but it should also allow for changes or upgrades in the future as this field is constantly improving. Some of the factors to be considered while you choose and install your network cables are:

Choices: We are now in a much better position than we were a few years back regarding the kinds of cables that are available. Coaxial cables were in demand and they ran at the maximum speed of 10mbps which is not great considering the kind of speeds we expect and want to work with.


While some organizations tend to work with unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling, many others prefer to use fiber. While there are other options available including the older ones, unshielded twisted pair is widely used thanks to the price and availability.

However, considering the present circumstances where the need for speed is greater every time, it is best to choose a category 5e cable whether it is for voice or data. It is better that you spend slightly more at this time than having to spend additional when you know realize that you do not have enough speed.

Jacketing: All kinds of cabling is required to be sheathed in the material. The material itself will depend on the expense. The least expensive ones use PVC as a shield.

While this works well when PVC burns, it gives out toxic fumes which are dangerous for those who inhale it.

While a single unit burning may not raise alarm bells, a whole bunch of those burning is a major issue. Especially so, if we imagine that firefighters may be entering a building where several such wires may be burning.

Local laws: There local laws that prevent the use of certain kinds of the shield. For instance, in many places using PVC especially in air-handling spaces such as ceilings or raised flooring. This is precisely for the same reason we have discussed earlier.

There is a grave concern when the material burns. In such cases, you will need to use Netwek Kabel which is far more expensive than PVC. So, it is best to understand local laws and spend the extra money only where required.

So, if you plan to run the cables through the wall and are sure about not hitting any of the prohibited spaces, use PVC cabling. Interferences: This is probably the one big concern, especially if you are dealing with amateur installers. Electromagnetic interference is a problem when it comes to cabling and it is essential that such UTP cabling is kept at least 3 ft. from anything that generates electromagnetic fields. Typically, the things that generate such strong fields that interfere are :

Any electrical wiring


Heating and cooling units

Video Equipment and so on.

One other aspect is to keep the fluorescent lighting as far away from the cabling as possible due to its interference. Care and Testing: While the above are all general concerns and factors that one needs to remember, there are a few that are of major concern and that is to lay these cables with care. First and foremost, you must make sure that you do not damage the cable while laying it out. There are certain rules about how much you can bend the cable before it starts interfering with the signals. The rule says that any cable that is bent within the radius of 4 times the width of the cable has not been laid correctly. There is a wide use of staples and hammers while laying the cables, excessive hammering or improper stapling of the cables will result in a far lesser efficient signal.