How To Install Network Wiring

sacramento network cable installation

If you’re investigating Ethernet networks as a way to create a more stable and efficient work environment, you may also be wondering about the ins and outs of network installation

Network wiring installation has a few basic steps:

  • Create a central hub where the router and networking switch will be located
  • Create an outlet near the hub, and another where networked devices will be
  • Run the cable through the walls
  • Connect the cable at each end
  • Fit outlets with faceplates
  • Test connection
  • Configure devices

But in order to get a network with wiring that is correctly arranged, easy to repair or maintain, and able to scale, there are a few do’s and don’ts to follow in network wiring installation.

What Not To Do In Network Installation

Don’t Run Cable In Unsafe Spaces

When cable runs through a ceiling or wall, it can potentially come into contact with electrical conduits and pipes. It’s important that the Ethernet cables don’t touch ceiling tiles, conduits, and water or gas pipes.

Ethernet cable should also not be run under the floor. Ethernet cables, unlike network cables, are specifically designed for wired internet connections and should be installed with caution to avoid hazardous contact with electrical components.

Don’t Bundle Wires Too Tightly

Tight bundles will kink the cables and impair their function, as well as shorten their lifespan. Plus, cables in a tight bundle are harder to access in case of maintenance. Similarly, don’t twist cables or make unnecessary loops.

Don’t Overload Cable Racks

Too many cables in network racks will actually cause overheating problems, so it’s important not to stuff too many into the same rack, and to keep them properly spaced and ventilated. 

Don’t Layer Two Types of Cables

Cables like Cat 5, Cat 6, and Cat 7 contain copper wires, while fiber optics contain glass strands. In a network that uses both, it’s important not to layer Cat-type wires above fiber optics, as their weight will literally crush them.

Best Practices in Network Installation

network cable installation

Do Cross Cables At Right Angles

When cables need to cross, make sure they do so at a ninety-degree angle. This minimizes interference or “crosstalk” when data moves through both cables concurrently.

Do Use Labels

Label all cables at their origin point at the network switch, and at their termination at the far faceplate. Individual faceplates should also be labeled for best organization and ease of maintenance down the road. Different colored cables can also be helpful in this regard.

Do Test Cables

It’s helpful to test cables before and during certain points in the installation process in order to make sure that they are functional. Any cables that test as dysfunctional need to be labeled and removed so that they aren’t accidentally installed.

Do Measure Cable Length Carefully

When cutting cable for a network, the best rule is to “measure twice, cut once.” Cable for each run should be cut to fit, with enough room for there to be some slack at each end.

Do Document The Process

Map and diagram the layout of the cables, jacks, and other equipment thoroughly during this installation process. This makes it easy to navigate the wiring system for repairs and maintenance, as well as scale it up later if necessary.

Do Consult With An Expert

Professional network installers will be able to help you figure out what type of network layout your project needs, as well as what hardware and cabling you should choose. In network installation, where the integrity of your network depends on the correctness of its installation, it’s worth it to get professional help.

How to Install Network Cable

network cable installation inside of rack

Select A Location For Your Server

Essential network devices like the server, modem, switch, and firewall, need a dedicated space of their own. It should be in a fairly private area of the facility, not a public one, and should be centrally located so that it’s easy to run cabling from it to other zones in the facility.

Place Nodes and Measure Cabling

The next step is to find the right locations for the network nodes, or the places where computers and equipment can be plugged into the network.

Then, the different lengths of cabling can be measured based on the distance between the server area and the node.

Select and Collect Necessary Hardware

This hardware includes data plugs, plates, connectors, switches, and cable ties.

Other tools you’ll need for network setup are:

  • Punch down tool, for punching down and snipping wire.
  • Crimping tool, for joining modular connections.
  • Network test tool, capable of testing 8P (RJ45) and 6P (RJ11 and RJ12) connections.

Position Wall Plates and Cut Holes

Before this step, flip the breaker for the building or area to Off to cut power.

The wall plates will cover the nodes where the cables terminate. The best place for wall plates are places that are easy to access, and that avoid other electrical components such as power outlets and light switches.

Run Cable Through Walls

This step is most time-consuming and also needs to be done carefully in order to make sure that none of the infrastructure is damaged. In older buildings with solid walls, it may also involve some cutting.

Test Connection

Once the cable is run through and connected at both ends, you can test the network connection to make sure the cable is active and able to carry data.. This is accomplished using a network testing tool, which uses a series of lights flashing in a particular order to indicate whether the connection is active or not.

Network Configuration

Once the network is operational, you can begin adding and configuring servers, routers, and computers.

Hazards of Network Installation

Network installation is not inherently dangerous, but there are some potential hazards that may arise during the installation process to be aware of.

House Fire

In extreme cases, improper wiring installation can result in house fires when the installation disturbs electrical wiring without taking adequate precautions. 

In general, the power to the area where the installation takes place should be cut via the breaker box before the project even begins.

Damage to Walls

Network installation does require cutting holes in walls for faceplates and feeding cabling through the walls in order to connect data ports to the modem. With walls that are mostly hollow, damage is usually avoided; solid walls, however, make installation tricker, and more care needs to be taken in order to maintain structural integrity of the walls while cables are being installed.

Poor Cable Layout

A bad installation will result in a badly functioning network. Poor cable layout or misplaced connections will result in a network that experiences crosstalk, lag, and even downtime. It also leads to premature failure of cables and other hardware. Poor layouts are also notoriously difficult to service, repair, and scale. 

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The Network Installers is a low voltage electrical contractor that provides data cabling, network installation, fiberoptic installation, and WIFI installation. We've been serving commercial customers since 2008 with exceptional quality, consistency, and professionalism.


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