This project involved installation of 28 double drops into two 48-port patch panels. Each wallplate has two connections with one dedicated to data and the other dedicated to voice. Price Benowitz has a lovely office at 409 7th Street, NW. The building is historic but renovated into a modern office. So, the drop ceilings and hollow walls facilitated a straight-forward installation of the Cat5e network cabling system.
Below are photos of the final installation at the wall closet. The cables come down from the ceiling in a nice tight bundle and into the back of the patch panel. Every port is labeled to match the faceplate.
It began so well. Microsoft wrote DOS. They started small and they created an operating system for the IBM PC that opened up a new world for the common, everyday programmer. DOS was sometimes a bit tricky. I recall issues with getting printers and modems to work. There was no graphic user interfaces. There was no multitasking. You ran a program. You finished and you ran a different program. Looking back, it was quite primitive. But, remarkably, the industry thrived throughout the 80s.
Why would an archaic, character-based, non-multitasking computer thrive? Meanwhile, today’s PC has 1000 times more power, RAM and data capacities and yet most users are loathe to use them. We are showing a dramatic preference for tablets and smartphones. We are back to non-multi-tasking devices! And Windows 8 is not helping at all. It is being panned as clumsy, poorly designed and packed with unnecessary features. Sound familiar? Of course it does because it is the same pattern repeated since Windows 1.0. Microsoft introduces a new OS, it is horrible, they fix it and then just as everyone is adapting to it, Microsoft introduces a new, poorly designed replacement.
DOS thrived because back in the 1980s and early 1990s Microsoft was only concerned with making DOS better at serving as the foundation for computer applications. They made it possible to develop applications and drivers so that we could get things done, print, use our modems and disk drives. This was before the mouse. Everything was keyboard driven. But what was really remarkable was that programmers were developing an enormous number of programs. It was easy. You simply bought a copy of dBaseIII Plus or Basic and you sat at home and you wrote a program. I worked on developing a program to handle drycleaning tickets for my Dad’s shop in DC. It never became a marketable product but my Dad was supportive and I was able to get it to work.
Then Microsoft decided that they wanted more of the market. So, they came out with Windows for Workgroups. Windows for Workgroups added peer-to-peer networking to Windows. Then they began developing applications. They bought up application developers and built a suite of applications to compete against products like WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3. They got heavily into networking by creating Windows NT Server. The Server market is still healthy because Linux is very popular among web hosting companies. But the impact on desktop applications has been devastating. The best analogy is to compare the smartphone and tablet marketplace to the desktop PC marketplace. Apple has a small percentage of market share on the business desktop. But within the PC market, there is little or no competition with Microsoft. They dominate the apps. If you use a PC, you probably are running Windows and using Microsoft applications (ie. Word, Excel, Powerpoint). If you are not using desktop apps, you might be using Google apps. But on the desktop, there are very choices beyond Microsoft.
Compare that to the smartphone market. Smartphones have multiple hardware manufacturers (Apple, Samsung, LG, etc.), multiple operating systems (iOS, Android, Web OS, etc.), multiple carriers and hundreds of thousands of amazing apps. I have apps on my iPhone that simply do not exist on my PC. Send me a PDF to sign. I can do it on my iPhone. I can’t do it on my PC. On my PC I can only drop a generic signature onto the document. It is not my real signature. And the app that enables me to sign and fill out documents is free!
Test yourself. Who is the number two desktop application competitor to Microsoft? Give up? Remember Corel? Well, they are still around but they have a tiny piece of the PC application market. They are literally 1/1000th the size of Microsoft. Imagine any other industry where the number two competitor is 1/1000th the size of the number one company.
But Microsoft’s destructive reach goes well beyond the desktop. Hardware manufacturers have to suffer with ongoing operating system upgrades. If you have an older, reliable LaserJet printer, it will quite likely have an obsolete driver issue before it physically breaks. HP is constantly coming out with new, better, faster and more capable printers. And if you have an older model, the newest operating system might mean that you will need a new driver. HP will not indefinitely develop new drivers on older, obsolete printers. And this is true of every hardware manufacturer. At some point, they will abandon their older products. But Microsoft doesn’t care. They will continue to come out with new operating systems whether you need it or not.
Another example of an industry that is drastically affected by Microsoft is cabling. Network cabling is the data backbone to all of the communications that occur in the office and also quite often in lots of homes. Offices can’t run wirelessly at the desktop. Database applications will almost always get corrupted on a wireless network. So, hard wiring is mandatory. Almost all cabling for the last 20 years has been Cat5 100mb cable. Cat6 is available and it runs at 1gb. But 1gb is not rarely needed at the desktop. In a competitive, innovative market I believe that 1gb Cat6 cabling would have been the standard long ago. But without innovation there has been little demand for more speed. Fortunately, this might change as 1gb Internet becomes available and as cloud computing becomes more practical and popular.
How did this happen? Could it have been different? The answer is “Yes!” Microsoft was being prosecuted in the mid and late 90s for unfairly and illegally competing against Netscape, Sun and many other firms. They were bundling Interent Explorer for free. That seems like a good deal for the consumer but it was unfair because Netscape had only one product, Netscape Navigator. So, Microsoft wiped out Netscape. And they did it by giving away a product because they have hundreds of products.
In 1999, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued his findings of fact, which stated that Microsoft’s dominance of the x86-based personal computer operating systems market constituted a monopoly, and that Microsoft had taken actions to crush threats to that monopoly. Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Notes, RealNetworks, Linux, and others were the victims. Judgment was split in two parts. On April 3, 2000, he issued his conclusions of law, according to which Microsoft had committed monopolization, attempted monopolization, and violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Microsoft immediately appealed the decision. On June 7, 2000, the court ordered a breakup of Microsoft as its “remedy”. According to that judgment, Microsoft would have to be broken into two separate units, one to produce the operating system, and one to produce other software components.
There were numerous appeals but the case ended. Janet Reno was out and John Ashcroft was in. The US Government decided to let Microsoft win. That was the last opportunity to fix this problem. And since then, nothing much has been done. Microsoft still dominates the PC market, they have no competition and consumers and businesses suffer for lack of innovation.
But there is hope. Microsoft is up against new market forces that they cannot stifle. Cloud computing is moving applications to the browser and tablets have created a new platform for app development that is reminiscent of the heady DOS days. What else do we all need? Faster internet speeds and better browser-based programming tools would be a huge boost to this shift. What we don’t need is a new, clunky, buggy operating system from Microsoft. That must end. Microsoft must end. And, for me, the end can’t come soon enough.
One of the most important things about cabling is to purchase cable not just for what you’re using now but for what you may run in the future. A rule of thumb is to install the highest-grade cable that your budget allows.
The standard is Ethernet. That means there are two basic types of cables to use: copper Ethernet and fiber optic Ethernet. Copper Ethernet cabling is generally used to connect the data center equipment to the end-user, while fiber optic cabling is used to network the infrastructure and to connect to the world outside.
CAT 5e and CAT 6 cables are primarily used for Ethernet applications. The newer CAT 6a/CAT 6e and CAT 7 are essentially still “works in progress”, and are not widely available. The question is which cable to use. Both CAT 5e and CAT 6 cables support 10/100 Ethernet networks, but CAT 6, although slightly more expensive, comes with higher bandwidth capabilities. CAT 6 also has improved protection against crosstalk and is more “forgiving” of network configurations that could degrade performance than CAT 5e cables.
The tendency to save money buying bulk reels of cable and crimping their own RJ-45 plugs on them should be avoided, especially with CAT 6 cables. The “amateur” crimping may cause significant degradation in performance; despite the “green light” seen on the equipment.
Devising a “color coding” for Ethernet patch cables to organize the cables is a good idea. One data center created a color code based on traffic lights: A red cable was a high security network, while green and yellow reflect less secure networks. Or color coding cables by length: blue for 5-foot cable, yellow for 7-foot, etc.
The key is plan your network before buying cable, so the cable will be grow along with your data center.Cabling, Definitions, Network Ideas, Residential Cabling
“Structured cabling” is a complete system of cabling and associated hardware which creates a telecommunications infrastructure. This infrastructure can serve a range of tasks, such as providing telephone service or data transmission through a computer network.
Every cabling system is unique. Variations in the structure of the facilities housing the installation, the specific cabling and connections needs, use and function, as well as customer needs requires standardization to ensure acceptable system performance from increasingly complex systems. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the responsible organization for providing and maintaining standards and practices for cabling installations to ensure proper cabling installation. The benefits of these standards ensures consistency of design and installation, conformance to line requirements, standardization of documentation and a basis for assessing proposed system expansion and/or changes. structure of the facilities housing the installation, the specific cabling and connections needs, use and function, as well as customer needs requires standardization to ensure acceptable system performance from increasingly complex systems. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the responsible organization for providing and maintaining standards and practices for cabling installations to ensure proper cabling installation. The benefits of these standards ensures consistency of design and installation, conformance to line requirements, standardization of documentation and a basis for assessing proposed system expansion and/or changes.
The standard term for a network installation serving a relatively small area (such as a building) is a Local Area Network, or LAN. Wide Area Networks (WAN) are networks that cover a larger geographic area than a LAN.
Structured cabling installations typically include entrance facilities housing the components providing connection to outside service facilities. The four principal types of entrance facilities include underground, tunnel, buried, and aerial.
From the entrance facility, the structured cabling network branches out to other buildings, as well as from floor to floor within a building. The term backbone is used to describe the cables handling the major network traffic. Interbuilding backbone cable handles traffic between buildings. Intrabuilding backbone cable handles traffic within in a single building.
The main components of backbone cabling are Cable pathways (shafts, conduits, and floor penetrations that provide routing space for the cables, the cables and connecting hardware and Miscellaneous support facilities.
Progressive Office Inc. has been the choice for the design and installation of business cabling infrastructure in the Washington DC area since 1986.Cabling, Definitions, Network Ideas, Repair
A major part of creating a viable network involves the installation of a cabling system. A solid cabling system is a good investment that will not only meet your current networking needs, but will last through your next-generation network as well.
Modern Ethernet networks follow a “star topology”, where each device on the network connects its own cable to a hub. In a single room network you can use drop cables to connect each device to a hub. If your network spans an entire building, then you need to install a cabling system, and designate one or more wiring centers for your network.
Cables originate at the location of each device on the network and terminate in a wiring center. On the user end, the cable will terminate with a wall plate. In the wiring center the cable will terminate in a jack on a patch panel. Be sure to use high-quality cables that conform to established standards.
There are basically three options for connecting computers: copper wire, fiber optics and wireless technologies.
While it is possible to use fiber optics to connect PCs and printers in a LAN, fiber-optics are expensive to implement, and installation and maintenance demand a higher level of expertise. It is seldom cost-effective to use fiber optics when copper cabling can achieve 100 Mbps speed
In buildings that lack the pathways needed for cable installation, Installing a wireless hub and transmitters on each computer can be less than the cost of a cabling system; but cable installation costs less than installing wireless equipment, and has better performance.
The current standard for data cable networks is Category Five, but as labor costs for installation are much higher than the cost of the cable itself, it’s better to use the higher grade Category Six cable.
While WI-Fi and other wireless network technologies have improved greatly over the years, nothing beats the reliability and performance of a wired network in your home or business. One challenge that people face is what kind of cable they need for their needs.
Although there are dozens of network cable types, the fact is only 3 types of network cable is commonly used in home and small business networks: Category 3 (CAT3), Category 5 (CAT5), and Category 6 (CAT6).
CAT 3 Cable is primarily for phone wire installation in homes and businesses; however it can be used for other purposes such as alarm system installs or other means. Most contractors prefer to use CAT 5 or CAT 6 for phone line runs as this allows them flexibility in switching a phone jack into a network jack and for potentially higher bulk purchase discounts.
CAT 5 Cable is the most widely deployed type of network cable today. But actual CAT 5 cable has been mostly replaced by CAT 5e or CAT 5 (enhanced). CAT 5 cable can be used for Phone line use, 10 base-T Networks or 100 base-T Networks (10/100). CAT 5 can also be used for Gigabit networking.
CAT 6 Cable: Category 6 network cable is the cable of choice for residential and business installs. Category 6 cable is designed for 1000 base-T [Gigabit Ethernet] or higher speeds, but works about the same as a CAT 5, CAT 5e, or CAT 3 cable – with additional benefits.
CAT 6, CAT 6E and CAT 6a are actually all very similar. The difference is: standard CAT 6 “crosstalk” (signal bleed) between pairs occur because of external interference or “alien interference”. CAT 6a solves this problem as it reduces crosstalk between pairs.Cabling, Definitions, Network Ideas
Structured cabling is a telecommunications cabling infrastructure consisting of a number of standardized smaller elements called subsystems.
Structured cabling falls into five subsystems:
- A Demarcation point is the connection point where the telephone company network ends and the customer’s on-premise wiring connection begins.
- Equipment or Telecommunications Rooms contain equipment and wiring points that serve the users inside a building.
- Vertical or Riser Cabling connects between the equipment/telecommunications rooms on different floors.
- Horizontal wiring connects telecommunications rooms to individual outlets or work areas on the same floor through conduits or ceiling spaces.
- Work-Area Components connect end-user equipment to outlets of the horizontal cabling system.
The most commonly used cables are Category 5e (CAT-5e), Category 6 (CAT-6), fiber optic cabling and modular connectors. Standards define how the cable is laid to meet the needs of the customer. A central patch panel, (usually 19 inch, rack-mounted) is used with each outlet, then patched into a rack-mounted switch for network use or, alternatively, into an IP or PBX (Private Branch Exchange) telephone system patch panel.
Lines patched as data ports into a network switch require simple straight-through patch cables at each end connected to a computer. Adapters for voice patches to PBXs are not required in the U.S. as the commonly used plugs for telephone connections are physically and electrically compatible. Neither are color-coded patch panel cables necessary for identifying the connection type, except in the demarcation wall field.
Cabling standards require all eight conductors in Cat5/5e and Cat6 cables to be connected, so there is no “double-up” by using one cable for both voice and data. IP phone systems, however, can run the telephone and the computer on the same wires.Cabling, Network Ideas, Repair, Residential Cabling
Although “Wifi” is simpler for a lot of people, due to multimedia sharing, bandwidth on some home networks. some users really want a hard-wired home networking solution. A wired network allows a private, high speed, network at home for Internet access, file sharing, media streaming, online gaming (console or PC), IP security cameras, or other standard Ethernet type wiring use.
There are certain design considerations that need to be addressed based on needs. Answering these questions will affect quantities, tools and materials needed.
The basic questions are:
- Which room(s) do I want wired?
- How many ports do I want in each location?
- What is a good location for distribution?
If the internet comes over a cable into the house move the cable modem there so it will be able to supply internet access to the entire network. Another consideration is the amount of space needed to hold the network equipment.
- What path should the cables take?
This is the most difficult consideration. For single floor homes the basement may be the best path. For multi-story homes you have to be creative. Outside may be an option or use an old laundry chute. The other consideration is cable length. The max cable length for up to gigabit speeds over copper UTP cabling is 100 meters (300 feet). This should be plenty for most home applications.
- What network speed do I need?
This will determine what kind of switch to get. 10mbps is faster than most home internet connection. If you just “surf” the internet, use a 10 megabit switch. If you are planning on sharing multimedia over the network 100 megabit switches are available and reasonably priced. If you must have the fastest, go with a Cat6 Gigabit cable.Cabling, Network Ideas, Repair, Residential Cabling, Solutions
It was once thought that copper cabling would never support speeds above 1 Gig, but Augmented Category 6, or Cat 6A – has proven that wrong. Copper still lives and copper cabling may still be around at 40 Gig,
There has been much debate about which is the better option for supporting 10 Gig: Cat 6A Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) or Cat 6A Shielded Twisted Pair (STP)? Both solutions have their uses, and some key information can help installers make informed decisions.
Standards and Alien Crosstalk
The IEEE released the 802.3an 10GBASE-T standard in June of 2006, which specifies 10Gbs data transmission over four-pair copper cabling. The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) then began work on transmission performance specifications for the cabling. They published TIA Standard 568-B.2-10: Transmission Performance Specifications for 4-Pair 100 Ohm Augmented Category 6 Cabling in February 2008.
The new Cat 6A standard extends the frequency of Cat 6A cables to 500 MHz with specifications for a new performance parameter called Alien Crosstalk (ANEXT). Category 6A cables are fully backward compatible with all previous categories, including Category 6 and 5e. NEXT is crosstalk that occurs between adjacent cables and connecting hardware. The higher frequency signals of Cat 6A makes ANEXT the limiting noise source for Cat6 and Cat5e systems.
CAT 6A UTP vs. STP
Due to its ease of installation and familiarity among installers, Cat 6A UTP is today’s cabling of choice as it can support future bandwidth needs and 10Gb/s performance. In addition, the shield n the STP cable helps prevents electromagnetic and radiofrequency interference (EMI/RFI) on twisted pairs, helping eliminate the effects of noise from sources like machinery, generators, or medical imaging equipment, making STP systems the choice for industrial and healthcare facilities.
As most residential systems are not faced with EMI/RFI challenges, so UTP is still the recommended cabling type for home installations.Cabling, Network Ideas, Repair, Residential Cabling, Software, Solutions, Support
Cabling is an evolutionary process. New challenges require new capabilities, and based on past trends and future projections, data rates will double about every 18 months. Running applications at 1 Gb/s pushes the limits of category 5e cabling, so doubling the bandwidth is like adding two or more lanes on a highway – you get faster and more efficient data “traffic flow”.
Streaming media applications such as video and multi-media are now commonplace, so the demand for faster data rates are increasing. These new applications will require the higher bandwidth of category 6 cabling.
The general difference between CatHYPERLINK “http://www.broadbandutopia.com/cat5en.html”5e and CatHYPERLINK “http://www.broadbandutopia.com/category6.html”6 is transmission performance, extending the available bandwidth from 100 MHz to 200 MHz for Cat 6. The improved higher signal-to-noise ratio allows higher reliability for current applications and higher data rates for future applications. Analysts predict that 80 to 90 percent of all new installations will be cabled with category 6. Category 6 link and channel requirements are ‘backward compatible” to category 5e, making it easy for category 6 to replaces category 5e in their networks. Applications that worked over category 5e will work over category 6. Also, improved transmission performance and better immunity from external noise allows CAT6 cabling systems to have fewer errors. This means fewer re-transmissions of lost or corrupted data, which translates into higher reliability for Cat6 networks.
It is difficult to replace cabling inside walls, ducts, floors and other difficult places, so it is always better to install the best cabling available. Equipment running at higher data rates require better cabling, and it will be more expensive to pull out Category5e cabling at a later time; so why not do it now?