Structured Cabling Problems
It’s a common issue…structured cabling problems.
Organisations often choose contractors to install voice and data structured cabling that simply aren’t trained or qualified.
However, whilst not all electrical contractors are bad at installing specialist structured cabling, we often find that electricians are to blame for poorly installed cabling.
Below is a report of an instance of this that we came across this week. The customer has had a flood and used their insurance money for not one but 2 different contractors. Here is the report.
A proper Fluke Test document is attached.
Structured Cabling Survey Summary
There were 31 x tests taken with 13 x faults found. Testing had to be stepped down from Cat6 to Cat5e. It should be noted that all leads on site, patch and device, are also Cat5e rather than Cat6.
This means that generally, speed and performance will be slower than is necessary and slow than Industry standards.
All outlets we found are badly terminated and this will cause issues with NEXT, Return Loss and PSNEXT. It would be useful for you to spend a few minutes looking at the links below which demonstrate how important it is to terminate cables properly and compare it with what has been done on your site.
We have checked each failure individually and found the following issues.
Outlet No fail Pins Cable End
32 RL 12 Patch
33 NEXT 1278 Both
35 RL 78 Remote
39 Cut Cable
40 Dis Blue Wire Remote
43 Dis Brown Wire Remote
45 Dis Brown Wire Remote
46 NEXT 3645 Remote
47 NEXT 1236 Remote
51 Dis Brown Wire Remote
55 NEXT 3645 Remote
56 NEXT 4578 Remote
59 NEXT 4578 Both Ends
Voice and Data Cabling Recommendations
All remote ends to be re-terminated where identified and re-tested to avoid unnecessary structured cabling problems.
Dis (disconnected) wires and cut cables require further investigation or replacement cables.
Where both ends failed the fault at the patch panel end, this requires the panel to be taken out of the cabinet, re-terminated, re-tested.
Cabling – Additional Comments
During site works all faults were visually inspected at the socket and patch panel. We ran out of time to perform any re-termination works due to the additional works completed.
Visually, no issues could be seen although this does not mean there is solely a termination problem. Due to the cost effective components used and supplied by an electrical distributor, there is a likelihood that component failure is also to blame for failures (this is not a vendor that we would use or recommend).
Should you wish to retain the distributor’s product then we suggest that a patch panel and 12 x replacement sockets are purchased and allowed for with any further work.
A different manufacturer’s components will not visually look the same. We could attempt to use a better quality component and see if it will snap into the existing face plate – these are euro module style but it will be dependent on the securing clips matching the face plate.
It was also noted that the cables were badly scuffed, kinked and the jacket split in some areas. This would be caused by pulling tight cables through small gaps/holes and usually on corners/turns. This is likely to be the cause for the disconnected wires and damaged cables identified. Such instances are typical where installers are not properly trained and do not realise the impact of such action.
Category 6 running at Category 5e
With all of the above in mind, the worst case is that the cabling will only support cat5e after faults are cleared and that disconnected cables need to be re-run or, possibly joined (possible but not really recommended unless it can be avoided). If the system passes at Cat6, then we would suggest that all patch/device leads are upgraded to Cat6. Performance will only be to the lowest category level found in a the link.
Unless the original cabling that was currently in service has had test results to show that is meets Cat6 standard, a full test of it would be recommended. If you are happy with what you have now, then we suggest you leave it as it is – we can revisit if and when any issues occur which may be likely once your network is busier dealing with large files and/or when using IP telephones.
It is easy to avoid structured cabling problems when you use a specialist contractor.