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Network cabling from scratch

Posted on 2003-11-23
Last Modified: 2013-11-09

I have network cabling task, I need to know what considerations I to have take during its design.

Netwok should have following properties:

1. Office is at one floor, under one roof.
2. Cabling has to be underground.
3. Power cables and phone lines will also be provided to each network user. (also through underground wiring).
4. We will have Ethernet network on Windows 2000 Server using UTP CAT 5E or CAT 6.

I need to know everything I should know. Please help!!!
Any good URL links or text replies will do.

Thank you in advance.
Question by:taimur
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9805701
The first thing you'll have to do is locate the server room. It should be physically secure, be proximate the the telco pop, have independant climate control, lighting, power and UPS adequate to the business needs.

You'll then have to survey the site to estabish the distance from the farthest drops to determine if satellite wiring closets will be needed. Ethernet over UTP has a limitation of 100 meters http://www.ethermanage.com/ethernet/ethernet.html.

If the blueprints show drops approaching this limit switching equipment will have to be located in satellite closets and interconnected with the main switch. The closets can be located farther out using fiber optic runs and enough uplink bandwidth must be provided to serve the aggregated stations terminated in the closet.

Provisions for special situations such as classrooms, call centers and tech labs must be discussed with site planners to determine the number of ethernet drops and power outlets. Each room's use must be identified and data, voice and power drops located on the bluprints. Data runs may take a different path than power runs. Voice and data are usually bundled in one conduit and power in another. Office typically get three runs of CAT6, two used for data and one for voice.

All ethernet terminations should conform to the TIA/EIA-568 specification. http://www.ablecables.com.au/568avb.htm

Siemons, Belden, Lucent and other firms have developed standards for installation of UTP ethernet and cable installers subscribing to those standards and certified by the vendor can provide "certified" instalations that conform to the best practices of the moment http://www.levitonvoicedata.com/ccs/default.asp.


Author Comment

ID: 9808580
Fortunatly satellite wiring closets will not be needed. One more thing, office expects future high speed connectivity requirement. Should I go for Gigabit Switches right away? I saw some switches usually they have 24 or 48 ports of 10/100 Mbps and only 2 10/1000/1000 Mbps ports, probably it is used only for uplink to another switch. What if we want to provide 1000 Mbps to user, how can we acheive that. Also is it possible to use cables prepared for 1000 Mbps standard for 10/100 Mbps standard?

Here is little about the site...
Building is roughly rectangular (150 feet / 30 feet) almost like a baseball bat, i.e. one end is narrow (15 - 20 feet) while other end 40 feet. Starting from narrow end first comes server room , corporate offices ,  meeting room , call center , customer services  + counters and sales offices (wider area).

I plan to keep all the switches inside server room. Also plan to keep UPS (capable of supporting critical systems i.e. servers + customer services + top management) at server room. Bellow are the equipment which i plan to keep in server room...

1. Rack mounted servers
2. Switches
3. Router
4. UPS
5. Phone exchange
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9808978
If you can afford GIGe, go with it, just keep in mind that any one workstation can monopolize a server. You might want to consider a switch that supports Fast Ether Channel and use 2 or four adaptors in your servers.

If you're using rack mounted UPS's you don't have a choice but if you're going with a large stand-alone unit I would locate it an auxiliary room adjacent to the equipment room. The flooring in the equipment room should be static conducting and the lighting on it's own circuit.

The walls in the equipment room should incorporate a vapor barrier to help control humidity and have it's own hvac.
The HVAC should not be located directly over the server room if roof mounted.
Overhead data and power racks can simplify your life. Get some POTS lines in equipment room for out-of-band remote management and for voice. Hard to call the telco switch guys when it's down without them.
The door should have a door check and combination lock and the combo changed regularly.

Other considerations are overhead water pipes, electrical transformers in close proximity, planning drops for future wireless access points and printers, overhead projectors and video conference equipment in meeting rooms. The latter still tend to like ISDN so I'd cable for 4 BRI's to the meeting rooms if that might be in your future.

If code requires sprinklers, try to go with a dry pipe preaction system, wet pipe preaction next. If you have to with live sprinklers try to get them flush mounted with the suspended ceiling so that somebody doesn't clip a sprinkler head. Enforce a rule of NO COMBUSTABLES in the server room and try to get CO2 on the extinguishers that are close to it.

I'd try to go with one big switch since you'll have all home runs. Get a chassis with a couple of emply slots when you're done with your initial install.

CAT6 and TIA/EIA-568 termination will work for 10/100/1000. All you components (cable, jacks, patch panels and cables and the way that the wire is terminated) have to conform. If you can't get a 'certified instalation' insist on an end to end test from every node including the patch cables.
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Author Comment

ID: 9811362
Thank you for your so much helpful details. It seems as if I am receiving oxygen in suffocated situation.

I want to ask one more thing regarding the server room, I saw wooden flooring in Exodus and also in SBC setups. Should I go for it? I feel it is helpful in managing proper cable distribution, what do you say about that? Actually I recommended two items and so far both are rejected by decision makers. I want to know if I was right in recommending them or not. 1. Raised wooden floor in server room, 2. Underground cables should pass through open ducts with screwed top cover.

(2) was my suggestion against circular conduits burried under gravel + cement mixture. Because they planned to pull through the cables from it with steel wire as guide to install them and I feel it can damage network cables and also it will make it difficult for me to manage and trouble shoot them later.

If I was right then please give me solid reasons so that I can have my grounds to have what I want.

Request: Your guidelines are helping me a lot, if you feel my continous questions are extending this session i will raise reward points.

Thank you.
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9811566
While wood is relatively nonconductive, but it does not dissipate static charges.
It is also combustible.
There is antistatic carpeting as well but fiber release makes it a bad choice for equipment rooms.

Overhead cable distributuin is a lot easier to maintain and cheaper than load bearing raised flooring and makes locating heavy equipment much easier later. Racks have cable guides in the top for this purpose.

>Underground cables should pass through open ducts with screwed top cover
Cablers are very adept at pulling cable through conduit. There are guidelines for conduit installation that prevent too many bends which would result in the cable hanging, once a conduit run reaches so many degrees of total bends a junction is installed and the cables are pulled in stages.
It's a very common practice and besides - the contractor is responsible for an intact installation.

Ducts are going to add a lot of $$$ to your cable plant installation. Visual inspection of cables is worthless, a proper cable tester will tell you exactly where a fault is. Ducts might be usefull in the equipment room, both for power and data as it would let you reconfigure easily and add little cost to the whole process.
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9811619
If you're getting pushback on the fire supression issues, ask that the business insurance company be brought in.
Sometimes they'll cut you some slack on your business continuity policy that will offset the cost.
Also try to through in an evironmental monitor. These will call or page you in the event the HVAC dies or there's water on the floor, etc. Beats coming in on Monday to find out the HVAC died at 5:01 on Friday and you have silicon crisp where xeons once were.

i assume the site commitee has established there isn't a microwave repeater, nuclear waste dump or munitions testing ground next door and that the site isn't n a former rice paddy

Author Comment

ID: 9812831
Then what do you suggest for equipment room floor?

And yes one more thing, I am sure cabler is not a certified installation guy and I am also sure he will not know about Installation standards. If you know any link which can give me installation guides, It will help me know better.
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 9813224
>equipment room floor
static dissipative vinyl - properly grounded and maintained
conventional wax can inhibit the static dissipative properties.

> I am sure cabler is not a certified installation guy
Make sure you get a report as I mentioned
see http://www.kwhw.co.uk/spec_11801.htm

Here's a sample request for proposal:


Author Comment

ID: 9813319
Here is the funny part, They have no network/cable plan on paper, just using 'Not to Scale' floor plan and digging channels with approximation of tables and chairs drawn on that plan.
LVL 18

Accepted Solution

chicagoan earned 250 total points
ID: 9813370
funny ha ha?
funny like a clown?

Write up your specs and recommendations, mail them to everyone, frame a copy
try to make sure they use something better than doorbell wire...


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