Networking, running cables cat5

Hi Guys

I have a project, we are currently working in a small office with 20 network extensions(jacks), we are moving a new office and we are planing to set 30 network jacks.(we currently have 3 servers, 2 routers and 1 switch)
We are planing to hire an IT guy, but maybe i can do it myself,
it will be a server room, 20 feets away from the main office, probably i will use a conduit to carry the cable from the server room to the main office and split it from there,
I know how to create cat5 cables, but please let me know
what else is involved in this process
How much can i pay per run?
in this kind of job do you pay per run or per hour?
how many hours do you estimated this could take?
how much do you etimate it could cost total?
Does the person who do the run, has to check the servers in place or that is a separate project?

Please advices
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sgt_bestConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It is a best practice to run cable from one location to the workstations.  This is normally a mechanical room that includes the service provider entrance.  This would include a wall or floor mount 19" rack.  If you don't have rack mount switches & router they make rack mount shelves.  I've seen wall mounted patch panels and the switches on a wall mount shelf.  This quickly becomes messy and there is a lot of strain on the cables hanging from the patch panel to the switches.  

The patch panel keeps you from handling the house cable once it is installed.  You then use "patch" cables from the patch panel to the switches.  Patch cables are cheap and easily replaced if one becomes damaged from handling.  A patch panel also gives you a labeled port which will match the label at the workstation faceplate.  A network without a patch panel will work but will increase troubleshooting time and make moves, adds & changes take longer.  A network without a patch panel is not compliant as far as the industry standards EIA/TIA 568 & 569.  Even if it is tested, handling the house cable changes the cable' characteristics and makes the test just a point in time.  In between patch panels you can install wire management panels to take the strain off of the house cable on the back of the rack and the patch cables on the front of the rack.  This also makes the network look clean and you will get complimented on it even if you don't do it.

Don't make your own patch cables.  Takes too long and it is hard to get it right every time.  It is a challenge to kick out more than 10 an hour even if you are good at it.  So you can spend about 6 hours crimping patch cables with 60 patch cables....Commercial patch cables are made with stranded cable which is more flexible than the solid cable that is used for the workstation cabling.  Most places stock patch cables in 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 14, & 25 ft. lengths but don't always stock the patch cable material and if they do you have to buy 1000 ft of it....There is also a difference between the male crimp connectors for stranded, solid, flat & round save yourself some time & pain and just buy the patch cables.

Panduit makes a blank patch panel that you snap in the same Cat5e female modules as the faceplates.  This prevents you from purchasing loaded ports you don't need and from having to purchase a punch tool.
Most data cabling is done at the same time as the telephone cabling and they normally share the the same faceplate, same type of cable and same class of connectors Cat5e or Cat6, the new standard.

Low voitage cable is not required to be in conduit unless you are going through a wall.   It is difficult to pull 30 circuits through a single conduit unless it is pulled in all at once.  Sometimes there is a 3 or 4 inch conduit from the rack into the ceiling but pipelining it through a few rings of velcro makes it easier to add cables later.  The cable is not supposed to be ran in parallel with electrical wires, alarm system wires or laid on top of fluorescent lights, exhaust fans, etc.  This can induct interference on the cables.   The cable should not be kinked, twisted, cinched by cable ties (use velcro, it can be removed), and should be supported by the building using J hooks, bridle rings or the building structure, not the "dropped ceiling".  Think about the next guy that has to lift a ceiling tile to fix something other than the network....if there is data cabling above it he will be pushing it out of his way...

As far as quoting, it depends on the job.  Most companies will quote this as one project but look at the detail of parts.  Ask to see a picture of what it will look like when they are done or if you can visit a project they have done.  Some companies will give a per circuit price which makes it easy for the customer to add circuits without waiting on another quote.   Don't forget circuits for copy machines, printers, surveillance system, wireless access points and other non computer devices that connect to the network.

This could cost about $200 a circuit but they are very short runs so maybe less.  2-3 man hours per circuit to pull, terminate & test them.  So at 60 bucks an hour you are approx. 150 a circuit in just labor.  This is to do it right...someone could do it cheap and dirty by throwing the cable across the dropped ceiling and running it down the wall...looks bad too.  If it is dropped ceiling and the cables are to be fished in drywall it will be less than if it has to be ran though decorative raceway mounted on a block wall.

Attached is a picture of a 2 foot APW SO191225M swing out rack mounted to plywood painted with fire resistant paint.
Wall mounted phone system & voice mail.
Panduit CP24BLY patch panel with CJ5E88TGBU connectors
Panduit WMP1E Wire Management panel
Tripp-lite rack mount power
Rack mount shelf
At the workstations we used a B-line BB10 drywall ring and a Panduit CFPE2IWY faceplate.

The drywall ring is used as a template for cutting a single gang hole in the wall.  The ring has tabs that fold into the hole and then the faceplate can be attached to the drywall ring with the faceplate screws.  If there are existing telephone faceplates you can remove them and just fish to that hole and terminate the existing telephone cable in another connector that snaps into the 2 port faceplate.  If you don't need two ports they make blank inserts and also have 1, 4 & 6 port faceplates that accept data, telephone & video connectors.

Best of luck.

simon_m_Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Normally you pay for the whole job on a fixed price, after getting some quotes in ( well in the uk thats the norm at least). The quotes tend to be based on the number of runs, distance,  the layout of the building etc. So if there's complicated routes ( over roof space etc), lots of drilling etc, that can add to the price.  You will mostprobably also need a cabinet and small patch panel in the server room.  Key thing, is that whoever does the job certifies the cabling with a proper cat5e tester, which provides comprehensive test results, and certifies the installation to cat 5e and provides a warranty on the work done.  If it's a straightforward layout then I would have thought that 2 guys could do the job in a day, including mounting the cabinet etc.

In terms of checking out the servers, it all depends on the company you're using.  Some cable guys are multiskilled and can do Ip addressing, servers etc.,  but some just do the physical cabling, and will need to bring in other people if you're not comfortable with re-locating the servers. there should be any major issues with moving servers, however if your internet connection changes then your firewall / router will mostprobably need re-configuring, and your DNS for email changing.
titorober23Author Commented:
do you a link that can ilustrate me in the networking diagram

i have worked in small networks, tht do not need a patch rack, what is the function of the patch panel ?i have a server room 20-30 feet away from the main office, i am planing to use a conduit from this office to take the cables inside the main office, now question, should i run all the cables thru the conduit or just one cable and put 1 router inside at the in end of the conduit to distribute from there?
what is the best practice
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simon_m_Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Best practice on the cabling is to have a cabinet somewhere with a patch panel , switch and routers  in .  They are usually in the same room as the servers ( with a UPS),  which is usually secure, and also is usually where you get the telco to run voice connections etc,   and hence all cables run to there.  

However there's nothing wrong with having a small wall mounted cabinet in a central location and putting sockets for the servers, and running cables to the cabinet if you want.   Also it is normal to put more wall sockets in than you have users, spread around the office, such that you can easily re-locate people / add people if required.  Certainly it's normal to run double sockets to a location even if you only need 1 user now,  as the cost of parts is less than the labour cost.    

In terns of links, I've just done a quick Google, and some of the videos on you tube look like they may be useful, here's  one, with some follow on links.
Mike_CarrollConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You could probably do it yourself without too much difficulty.

Best way would be to get somebody in who knows what they are doing. You would be surprised at the little problems that can be eliminated before they even think about starting when you get a pro in.

Should not take any more than a couple of days for 30 drops as long as the runs are not complicated. Cabinets, patch panels, RJ45 plugs and cable are pretty inexpensive. Get a price for the job and ask for Fluke certs on all the points.

As stated above, some data guys will handle hardware as well but in my experience, most will not.

KETTANEHConnect With a Mentor Commented:
i dont know where are you from but usually it's payed by point.

if you can, use CAT5e instead of CAT5 .. enhanced CAT5 support upto 1000Mg :) will help you in future and cost almost same
titorober23Author Commented:
excellent answers
thanks a lot
one final question
i will be using a conduit to go from the server room to a central office, because there is a hallway common area in between. Is that a good practice?
now inside the office how do i enroute the cable, do i just lay it out on the fake ceiling or do i have to hang it or put nails to avid electrical cables, give me some hints on this.
titorober23Author Commented:
what is the difference between cat5, cat5e, cat6 and when is better to use one or the other
sgt_bestConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It is best practice not to lay it on the ceiling tiles.  There are many services above a dropped ceiling and even if there is cable already laying on the tiles it is still better to support the cable and not add continue to add to the mess.  You also don't want to pick up inductance from fluorescent lights, fire alarm, telephone cables, electrical, etc...
You do not have to use conduit except as a sleeve through a wall but it you are above the dropped ceiling you may not encounter any walls.  Pulling repeatedly through the same conduit gets hard after the 2nd or 3rd pull.  Depends on how many boxes of cable you are planning to pull at a time.  I would avoid the conduit and use J-hooks.  Properly hanging 30 ft. of conduit is harder than pulling all of that cable through some J-Hooks or bridle rings.
Usually the cable is supported by J-hooks or bridle rings every 4 ft. or so but if you have building steel above the drop ceiling it is perfectly OK to run it through the steel framing.  J-Hooks and bridle rings can also connect to beam clamps so that you can clamp it to the building structure.  Some J-hooks have holes in them for shooting a screw right through them to wood.
Usually there is extra #9 wire at the ceiling level supporting the drop ceiling.  It is not a compliant practice you can usually bend this excess into a U and lay a cable or two across it.  Don't kink the cable in it.  Sometimes this can be done before you go down to the individual workstation.
I don't know how your workstations are arranged but you can use a 1, 2, 4, 6 port single gang faceplate and pull that many cables to one faceplate then use patch cables to the workstations.  Patch cables are usually stocked up to 25 ft.  10-14 is average, especially if you have to weave it through furniture.  Also, if you have modular furniture they make special faceplates for that.  They will accept the same connectors as the wall plates and patch panels....  

The rating of cable is an industry standard.  The physical difference is the number of twists per foot of the cable.  Cat6 has a pair separator that helps reduce cross talk between the pairs.  The physical difference allows Cat5 to be certified up to 100Mbs, Cat5e 1000Mbs and Cat6 to 10000Mbs.  Most people that install themselves would probably go with cat5e in a non-bonded twisted pair.  Some Cat5e (Belden DataTwist350) have bonded pairs to keep the cable's integrity after installation.  These pairs are siamesed together and difficult to separate.  It is a good cable but has the extra step of separating the pairs before termination.  You will probably find Cat5e when you go to buy cable.  Most people just call it Cat5 but don't really stock the older standard.

We use a pull string that we attach our cable to with black electrical tape and pull the string through our bridle rings / J-Hooks...So if you bought 5 spools of cable you would pull 5 to the workstations then cut and add 5 more to the string.  You would have 6 pulls.   We also use a pulling grease if it is through conduit and a tough pull.  Be careful that the string does not cut through the cable like a saw....You have to fasten the rack end down with black electrical tape before pulling the next group or they will pull back by friction.

The cable is supposed to maintain no tighter than a 1" radius.  In other words, "Don't kink it".
When it is terminated there is supposed to be less than 1/2" of the pairs untwisted.  The connectors usually account for this but if you have a punch down type patch panel, keep the twist tight up to the punch down.

We also use glow rods to help us reach farther or to fish down the walls.  These are flexible fiberglass rods that attach together.  There are about 6 in a pack but more than two is hard to work with...helps you get over duct work or to push it through the building an old antenna whip would work too....

When you cut your cable at the rack end.  Cut it at floor length.  When you are done make a rack wide maintenance loop and then dress that up into your connectors.  Strap this whole loop to the wall or backside of rack.  This will help support the cable and you won't have a cable that is too short when you go to terminate.

You also need a pair of snips....these are electrician's scissors but will cut the cable.  Easier to carry and cleaner cut than wire cutters.  Techs usually use these to strip the outer jacket off the cable but they make other tools for this.  They are very sharp,  fingers are pink.
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