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The Do’s and Don’ts of UTP Cable Installation

With the technology evolving rapidly and new products keep coming out, optical technicians have to upgrade their knowledge accordingly. Take the UTP (unshielded twisted pair) network cabling as an example, lately, telecommunication industry witnessed the evolution of copper cable from the old cat 3, cat 5 to the existing popular cat 5e and cat 6 cables (even to the cat 7 cable or cat8). Therefore, cable installers attach great importance to the TIA-568B installation. Even the experienced installer may discover the problems that they have never been aware of before. Today’s article is going to present all the detailed information necessary to complete a fully compliant TIA-568B UTP installation.

Overview of UTP Cable & TIA-568B Wiring Standard

Designed primarily for data transmission in local area networks (LANs), UTP network cable is a 4-pair, 100-ohm cable that consists of 4 unshielded twisted pairs surrounded by an outer jacket. Each pair is wound together for the purposes of canceling out noise that can interfere with the signal. So, remember to keep UTP cables as far away from potential sources of EMI (electrical cables, transformers, light fixtures, etc.) as possible. UTP cables should maintain a 12-inch separation from power cables.

In terms of the TIA-568B wiring scheme, this standard was published in 2001 to replace the 568A standard, which is now obsolete. The original purpose of the EIA/TIA 568 standard was to create a multiproduct, multivendor, standard for interoperable connectivity. The 568B standard sets minimum requirements for the various categories of cabling.

The figure shows the wiring diagrams imprinted on the jacks. The upper diagram is 568A, and the lower diagram is 568B. We can clearly see the only difference between 568A and 568B is that pairs 2 and 3 (orange and green) are swapped. For detailed information about 568A and 568B, please read the previous article “How to Configure the RJ45 Pinout”.

Do’s and Don’ts of UTP Installation

Before you proceed with the following article, you must understand that this article is for general information only. Always check with the local store or cabling consultants when planning a network cabling installation.

Things You Should Do

For the UTP cable or all the copper cables, you take the following instructions seriously during the installation.

Things You Can Not Do

You should never proceed with the following steps, or you will end up with permanent damage to the geometry of the cable.

In Closing

It is rare that we can directly use the patch cables or short link copper cable to connect the devices to the switch. In most cases, we need to install cable links to remote locations from patch panels to switch ports, which is far more complex. Therefore, anyone who installs UTP cabling should take the dos and don’ts seriously. Any minor mistake can easily become a nightmare in the future.

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