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Can inserting a cable toner in a patch panel fry the cable and ruin the laptop connected to it.

Posted on 2016-11-17
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Last Modified: 2017-01-25
I had a wiring guy come out to re-cable a office.  When he was finished 2 of the other offices close to it and in the same patch panel had problems.  One office the network cable to the computer had to be replaced and another office is now totally dead and it looks like the ends of the network cable connected to the laptop is smokey black, and the network card (both wireless/wired) is no longer working.  I saw to wiring guy  unplug cables from the patch panel and then insert the cable toner into the jack, moving it around.  I know nothing about this, but thought maybe someone on this site could tell me if this could have caused the problems with the other 2 offices.
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Question by:cheryl23
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Tyler Brooks earned 251 total points
ID: 41892031
Cable toners are specifically designed to be plugged into jacks for tracing purposes and as such they shouldn't be putting out enough voltage to damage the cable/jacks/NIC's. I suppose it's possible for this to happen if there was something seriously wrong with his toner but it seems like kind of a stretch to me.
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by:CompProbSolv
CompProbSolv earned 83 total points
ID: 41892032
A properly-functioning (and designed) toner should not be able to put out enough power to fry a network cable.  It's difficult to call this a coincidence, though.
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by:gilnov
gilnov earned 83 total points
ID: 41892041
If there is any Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) equipment involved in any of the damaged ports like a switch or PoE injector to power a phone or other device, the tone generator could definitely cause a short. Was there any lightning on the day the work was done or overnight afterward? Or perhaps a power blip (brownout or blackout) that might have caused a surge?
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Author Comment

by:cheryl23
ID: 41892062
Thanks for the quick responses.  There was no POE equipment involved, no storms, but we are in an older building with old wiring.  The timing of everything is what made me wonder if it was the cabling guy.  Appreciate your feedback.
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by:John Tsioumpris
John Tsioumpris earned 83 total points
ID: 41892539
They way you are describing it seems that your cables had contact to electrical source...given the fact that you are an old building i am suspecting rats....
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