Why You Should Follow the Cable Manufacturer’s Installation Guidance

May 10, 2022

Emerging software and applications are built to evolve, and they require a robust network to interconnect them together. To build a network fit for today’s technologies and those on the horizon, you need a sturdy and flexible cabling system.

Unfortunately, the best designs and cabling products lose their efficiency if improperly installed. Now, more than ever, correct installation matters when building your network and cabling system.

Why do the Manufacturer’s Instructions Matter?

Every cable has a different purpose, and those uses can multiply when you introduce connectivity variables. However, as the possibilities increase, the validity of general standards decreases.

“Our cables are capable of enabling a variety of applications and networks, but if you want to achieve maximum performance, you need to take care to adhere to our manufacturer’s guidance,” says Amir Sekhavat, director of product management for Superior Essex Communications. “These specify exactly how to install the cables to ensure the cables do their job to support the needs of the whole communications system now and in the future.”

  • Follow tension rules for cable. Most manufacturers provide slacking rules and often sell pulling tools to meet the requirements for their specific cables and packaging. If you understand their pulling guidance, you can avoid tension and kinks and ensure optimal performance.
  • Bundle cables with care. If using nylon ties, ensure they are loose; if using Velcro, ensure it meets the fire rating of space. You also need to respect the filling ratio (for example 40% in conduit according to NEC) in those bundles. On top of those general rules, manufacturers prescribe bend radius rules, J-hook installation guidelines and other details to decrease alien crosstalk and attenuation.
  • Use the recommended connections. Most cabling manufacturers have a set list of approved connections manufacturers because they improve installation success and maintain high-level performance over time.

Help the Cables Avoid Heat

“Heat is the enemy of data and of safety,” Sekhavat points out. “This is an important goal of communications cabling design but it’s just as important in installation.” Heat can slow down your data transmission and impact the ageing of the cable, but there are external heat factors that can put your building at risk.

Power transmission significantly increases the heat inside of Power-over-Ethernet cables. Installers may know some rules of thumb, but it is critical to make sure you use the right cable with the right temperature rating. “This is the reason most manufacturers include this rating information in their installation guidance, and it is printed on the cable,” explains Sekhavat.

A cable with a temperature rating higher than the jacket is only as good as the rating for the jacket. Make sure that the temperature rating of the jacket is at least the same as the temperature rating of the insulation. You should corroborate the two ratings so the external and internal heat capacities match.

Beyond the function of the cable, heat can come from termination points and the devices the cables supply. Verify you have the right cable design for the application requested. If you do not, it could spoil the whole project and leave your building with a fire hazard.

Test It

Before the job is done, test the cables. Proper testing verifies the cables and connections and can spot both manufacturer and installation errors. Test each type of cable, run of cable, and device you are installing.

Channel testing provides the most accurate readings because it includes all components of the physical layer including cords, connectivity, and cable. This way, you can accurately compare test results with the manufacturer’s standards with confidence in the readings.

Industry standards are important to create a universal knowledge base and interoperability among the manufacturers of the components of communications networks. Those standards, however, are the starting point for installation projects. You should always refer to the cable manufacturer’s guidelines for the specific cable, devices and environment. If you do not, you run the risk of reduced performance and a shorter lifespan for the cables.



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