Network cabling is one of those things that seems easy on paper but ends up being hard once you apply it in the real world. Most people tend to ignore it but do not realize how much it will cost them in the long run. You could find yourself paying extra costs that were unnecessary in the first place, wasting time on running maintenance tests that never needed to be performed if the job was done right, poor network performance, and much more.
Close up of network cables connected to switch
The most surprising thing about networking cable mistakes is that there aren’t thousands of little mistakes that are being made. Many IT professionals agree only a few fundamental mistakes are responsible for the majority of the problems.
Here is a short list of the 11 most common networking cable mistakes that are seen in the IT industry:
1) No cable management. This is where it all starts. Forget testing and other things – you can’t expect solid network performance if you are not properly managing your cables. This means that you will have to do the necessary work of properly labeling your cables and organizing them in a way that they can be easily accessed. Whether you use a rack or some other means, it is important to get this crucial mistake out of the way. It will be far easier to manage the cables, and maintenance will take up less of your valuable time.
2) Failing to plan. Before you even begin to take your cables and start connecting them to every port in sight, you need to know how everything is going to be laid out. Planning out your cable organization in advance is the first step to properly setting up your network.
Network cable bundle
3) Ignoring the rules. The best cable setup in the world is meaningless if you are breaking the rules! There are certain laws, standards, and codes that you have to abide by at the local, state, and federal level. Read up on the standards that pertain to you and your company. It’s one thing to have a safety hazard because you ignored the rules and another thing to pay hefty fines!
4) Failing to control atmospheric temperature. The environment in which you set up your cables makes a huge difference. If the cables heat up too much, it could lead to the failure of the entire network. Likewise, moisture can also lead to network failure and compromise the safety of nearby workers. You need a system in place to keep all of your cables cool and dry. Cooling systems, air conditioning – whatever it takes to get the job done: Do it.
5) Ignoring distance limits. In general, 100 meters is the limit for the length of a cable. Keep in mind that this distance also includes path leads. Each cabling has its own limits, however, so you need to mindful of the cabling that is being used for your network.
6) Running cables near interference-causing devices. Believe it or not, there are many ways for interference to mess up your cabling setup. There are several types of interference (magnetic, electrical, etc.) that can be caused by seemingly harmless things like motors and fluorescent lighting. The pathway you set up for your cables should be free of these types of hazards.
7) No space for cable removal. The IT environment is dynamic in nature, and changes are going to be happening all the time. Adapting rapidly to change means that you should be able to easily remove cables at any time. If not, you are paving the way for operational hazards. When in doubt, always leave a little more space than you think is necessary.
8) Using separate cabling for data and voice. The traditional way of designing a cable network was to use separate set-ups for data and voice. Due to the different needs of the end user, this is no longer a viable option. Your best bet is to use twisted pair cabling.
9) Running cable parallel to electrical cables. This is a common mistake that usually leads to interference in data transmission from one point to the other. This can be remedied by crossing them in perpendicular instead of parallel.
10) Failing to test your network before activating it. Once everything has been set up, and you are happy with your layout, don’t forget to test your network before activating it. This will help you catch any errors you may have missed and address problems regarding data transmission and safety. Make sure to use the appropriate tools.
A bunch of network cables in a data center
11) Failing to ask for help. Sometimes, when all else fails, and you don’t know what to do, you need a second pair of eyes to look at what you have done. Call a licensed, experienced professional to help you set up your networking cable in a way that is safe and helps to transmit data efficiently.
Those are the 11 most common mistakes that you are going to see with networking cable. As long as you are aware of them and pay extra attention during the setup, you should be good to go on the first try! If not, look back at each mistake individually and check to make sure that you did not miss anything.