1. Length. For some reason, many network installers forget the fact that the longer a cable is, the less efficient it is. Sure, it is nice to wire a computer to the server boxes, routers or modem from located tens or hundreds of feet away, but it is not always practical in terms of performance. As with networking cable, which loses speed and signal quality further away from the hardware to which it is attached, patch cords lose quality.
2. Overload. Cable trays are made for a certain number of cables. Overloading cable trays leads to immediate problems and other issues that present over time. Immediate problems include the inability to remove unused cables without starting over. Long-term issues include cables being crushed beneath the weight of other cables in the tray. Crushed cables then lead to network degradation.
3. Stretch. When cables hang under their own weight with no support, they are prone to stretching. When the cables stretch, quality goes down. The stretching can even cause connectors to come loose, which leads to network disconnect. Make sure cables are bundled loosely to keep them from crushing one another and attach them to a support. Supports can be brackets, zip tie ends screwed into a wall or any other device that keeps them off their own weight. In addition to supporting hanging cables, do not pull too hard on them when installing. That causes stretch and degradation as well.
4. Segregated Electrical. Electrical wiring conduits are separate from the non-electrical wiring and plumbing for a reason: to prevent fire. Networking cable is not made to withstand the same environment as electrical wiring, so keep it away. Aside from the potential fire hazards, for optimal performance, cable must be kept cool and dry. Electrical wiring throws off heat, which affects performance, and it provides unwanted electrical interference. Cold water pipes can help keep cabling cool, but it presents a potential dampness issue, which can affect performance.
5. If You go Cheap, Go Home. Cheap cables, patch leads and connectors are cheap because they are not as well-made. Cheap cabling contains less copper, which makes for weaker connections and wire that will degrade faster than the more expensive options. Cheap patch leads and connectors have similar issues, but they are also prone to falling apart in very little time. All of these are also more susceptible to dampness, electrical interference, stretching… you get the picture.
Consider these tips during your next network installation, and you will provide clients with the best results. Business owners can use them to determine the best and most cost-effective service. Finally, agents can use the information to provide potential clients with information on why their company’s installers are at the top of their field.