Firstly, why would you need to trace network cabling? In a perfect world you wouldn’t need to, but even if a network begins life properly labelled, things have a habit of changing. Documentation and cable labelling don’t always keep up when changes are made. A jumble of network cables in a network cabinet. When you need to re-arrange the cabling in your patch panel, can you be 100% certain that the label is correct?
A series of box opening photos of the recently released JDSU ValidatorPRO-NT NT1155 all-in-one copper, fibre and wireless tester with active network features.
A couple of weeks ago BASEC (The British Approvals Service for Cables) issued a 6 point checklist pre-empting the release of the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations in July. They are alerting cable installers that the need to ensure the correct specification of cables for major projects has now become critical. Dr Jeremy Hodge, BASEC’s Chief Executive, said: “For any size of project, the last piece of news a contractor or specifier wants is that cabling has to be stripped out because the system is not working properly, there is a safety implication or the wrong cable has been installed.
Many thanks to everybody who attended the ELEX show in Harrogate last week. OPENXTRA had a stand and we enjoyed meeting you all. Denis and Annie did heroic stand duty ably assisted by Steve from JDSU. One of the big hits at the show was the cable tester demonstrator box (as demonstrated by Denis above) with various cables exhibiting a number of different faults like shorts, miss wires and the like.
You might assume that because the technology involved in manufacturing optical fibre cable is more complex than copper, installation of fibre networks would inevitably be more expensive than using copper. However, with the advent of CAT6 cabling means that copper is getting faster – but at a cost. There are environments where copper is at a severe disadvantage; take an industrial environment with a lot of electromagnetic interference; copper cable in this type of environment will need a lot of protection, incurring extra cost, fibre would be totally immune to such interference.
More and more companies have systems that are in operation 24/7, that cannot in any circumstances be switched off. Sometimes the data centre cabling is poorly documented. Regular toners and tone generators are absolutely fine if you know the cabling is not live. Like identifying cables prior to the network cabling being hooked up to the network infrastructure or even to identify cables before the cables have been terminated.
If you are involved in installing data, voice or video cabling then you won’t be disappointed by Data, Voice, and Video Cabling by Jim Hayes and Paul Rosenberg. Jim Hayes, as we’ve recommended before, also has a couple of online tutorials available. Well worth a look! The book gives a nice overview of the various technologies involved as well as more practical chapters on wiring installation, testing and termination. The book covers both copper and fibre cabling too.
A lot of the skills that an electrician applies every day are directly applicable to network cable installation. But there are differences, and that’s what I will be covering in this article. Network Cable is Delicate Network cabling is lighter gauge. Any kind of rough handling has the potential to damage the cable before you've even installed it. CAT5e or CAT6 cable has 4 pairs of thin copper wires. Damage to any of those 8 wires renders the cable unusable.
If you want to know more about voice, data and video cabling we strongly recommend a visit to Uncle Ted’s Guide to VDV. Highly recommended! For a great guide to fibre optics, you will find much to enjoy in Lennie Lightwave’s Guide to Fiber Optics. Both of the above have been created by VDV Works a voice, data and video cable training company in the USA.
I am happy to announce that the Test-Um Tri-Porter (IVT600) has arrived. First impressions: absolutely brilliant! Three testers (voice, data & video) all in a single solid unit. Oh, and you get a tone tracer too. It isn’t in the on-line shop yet, so please bear with us. It will be available early next week as soon as we have the images and web copy sorted out. 2007 is off to a great start…and I think it’s only going to get better 🙂