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Voice and Data Cabling

Today, network cabling system carries the lifeblood of any organization - INFORMATION. The installation, material, quality of cable and testing procedures are all much more critical in data wiring than in voice. The main reason for this is that networks today are designed to carry large amounts of information at incredible speeds. To accomplish this over unshielded twisted pair cable (UTP), many different criterion must be met.

Who sets the criteria and standards for network cabling? Well, the three major players are IEEE - who work on developing new protocols, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the Telecommunications Industry Association / Electronic Industry Alliance (TIA/EIA) who issue the standards and testing procedures. Ask any IT Manager what their most common network problem is and you will most likely hear them rant about cabling issues. In fact, cabling problems, which account for over 50% of network problems, cost companies millions annually. The most common problems are:

  • Low attenuation
  • Poor NEXT (near-end crosstalk)
  • Poor ACR (attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio)
  • Poor delay skew (data arrives at different times)
  • Impedance
  • Poor return loss (also known as "echo")
  • Poor ELFEXT (equal-level far-end crosstalk) numbers for cable, connecting hardware and channel
  • Splices in cable
  • Mis-labeled cables

All of these problems can be avoided if the cabling is installed and tested properly. The cable must be installed following strict and specific guidelines and the testing must be done using the right equipment calibrated for the latest standards (called certification). RTE provides this with each cabling installation.

 

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