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Frequently Asked Questions

What Things May Affect the Performance of Cat5e Cable?

Poor installation, poor terminations, and inferior materials are the main issues with performance on cabling systems. If the cable is poorly installed and terminated then data loss and errors will be a continuous problem, including lost data, dropped VoIP Calls, and poor visual displays. Interference from other cables and outside factors such as electrical, microwave, lighting, and noise will also affect the performance of the cable.

What Is a Patch Cable?

A patch cable is used at the cabinet end for linking the dedicated cabling port to the required equipment in the communications cabinet. For example, an outlet could be “patched” from the panel to a data switch, telephone switch, CCTV switch, or WiFi switch. The difference to standard cable is that patch cable is stranded for flexibility, whereas standard cable is solid copper.

When Is It Better to Use Fibre?

Fibre cable carries greater bandwidth over longer distances. It is not limited by the 90/100m limit of copper cable and has a distance potential of 40km in some cases. It also isn’t affected by noise or outside influences, like copper cables are, so it is a perfect solution when linking cabinets through risers in a building. As a standard guide when linking separate cabinet’s fibre optic links should be used.

VoIP – What Is It?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) uses digital technology to send voice signals over your cabling infrastructure. Voice is converted to a data transmission and converted back to a voice signal at the user’s end.

Can I Use Cat5 Cable in Power over Ethernet (PoE) Applications?

Cat5e and Cat6 can both effectively run PoE applications up to 90m. However, due to power dissipation, there is better performance and power efficiency with Cat6a cabling running PoE devices, if being incorporated into a new design.

What Is Cat7 and Why Would I Use It?

Cat7 cable has increased performance and increased protection against outside interference. With a bandwidth of up to 600MHZ, its increase in speed potential over Cat5e / Cat6 is considerable. Also, each pair of wires (4 pairs) are individually shielded, as well as an overall shielding for the cable itself. This provides a great protection from outside noise and interference. It’s especially useful in areas of high-speed data transfer in large cable bundles and within the audiovisual industry.

Cable Categories

  • EIA/TIA Category Speed LAN 100M Support ISO Spec EIA/TIA Spec
  • Category 3 16Mhz 10Mbit/s 100Base-T4
  • Category 4 20Mhz 16Mbit/s 100Base-T4
  • Category 5 (5e) 100Mhz 100Mbit/s 100Base-TX ISO/IEC-11801 TIA/EIA-568-A-5
  • Category 6 250Mhz 100Mbit/s 100Base-TX ISO/IEC-11801 TIA/EIA-568-B.2-
  • Cat6a Improves upon the basic Cat6a cable by allowing 10,000 Mbps data transmission rates and effectively doubling the maximum bandwith to 500 Mhz. 

Can I Use Silver Satin Cables for LAN Cables?

No. Silver satin cable is used for telephone wiring and does not support the more stringent requirement (higher speeds) used in LAN cables. Yes, we know people do use silver satin cable for LANs in very quiet (electrically quiet) offices but it just needs a little extra electrical noise (a new PC could do it) and it may no longer work. If you do use silver satin cables for LAN, you should replace them, especially if you are having problems.

Glossary of Cabling Terms

  • Cat5, 6, and 6e Are Performance Classes for Cables
  • Decibel (dB): a Logarithmic Ratio Used to Indicate Signal Strength
  • Patch Lead: a Short Cable Usually Used as a Jumper from Wall to Node
  • Gbit and Gb: Short for Gigabit and Has the Unit Symbol Gbit or Gb
  • LAN: Local Area Network Which Usually Describes a Same-Site Network
  • UTP: Unshielded Twisted Pair Cabling Is Designed to Eliminate Electromagnetic Interference
  • Bandwidth: Is the Amount of Data That Can Be Carried from One Point to Another
  • SWA: Steel Wire Armoured Cable, a PE Jacket Protects the Data Cable with a Strong Outer Coating
  • Crosstalk: Where Data is Introduced from One Channel or Pair to Another and This Causes Interference

Contact us, in Cumnor, Oxfordshire, to find out more about our structured cabling services.

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