Structured Cabling Solutions, Implementations, and Troubleshooting CAT 5, CAT 5e, CAT 6, CAT 6a, CAT 7

We provide complete Structured Cabling Solution, Implementation and Troubleshooting for CAT 5, CAT 5e, CAT 6, CAT 6a, CAT 7 cables no matter how large or small your project. We have cabled large office buildings, small offices, data centers, and numerous Internet Startups. The backbone of your infrastructure is a robust structured cabling system, that is able to easily integrate the latest technologies, helps your business stay ahead of the competition, and provides for easy growth and expansion in the future.

We also specialize in troubleshooting your cabling issues. We can find where the cable is having issues, develop a detailed issue resolution plan, and with your approval, fix the issues quickly. Having a thorough review, verification and validation of your cabling infrastructure will determine and pinpoint issues, bottlenecks, and if each cable meets your architectures requirements.

Our Project Manager will start with a FREE site walk and site evaluation with you. He will then design a plan that meets your requirements, manage the installation, testing and documentation, review infrastructure dependencies, plans, and schedules the installation and testing with you, then delivers the As Built documentation and test results to you when the project is completed. If you have existing cables, he will coordinate the re-verification and re-validation of these cables to be sure they meet your voice and data requirements.

When your project is completed, you will be presented with the As Built Cabling Documentation and the Verified Cable Test Results Documentation for each cable. Each cable will be tested for 10BaseT, 100BaseT, 1000BaseT, VoIP, PoE, Wiremap, Length, Telco, Signal Performance, any faults, as well as labeled. You will also receive a detailed diagram of each cable validating all wires are fully operational, like the one below:

Request a FREE Quote and Site Walk Thru with our Project Manager.

When thinking about a structured cabling project, it is best to identify exactly what you need for voice and data. Think about how many workstations and phones the staff will require and their locations. Think about Internet based applications and their bandwidth requirements. A Structured Cabling Solution must support your staff’s requirements.

Also think about future growth requirements for voice and data. How will your company grow in the next 3-5 years? What will be the voice and data growth requirements? With this information, we can build a flexible solution allowing for effective and managed expansion

Selecting the right cable for your environment and company is critical. Will you be requiring CAT 5e allowing for up to 1 gigabit transmission and Power of Ethernet (PoE), or will you be growing into a larger, faster network requiring up to 10 gigabit speeds with CAT 6?

Cable pathways are also important to consider. If cables will be passing through open airways or ventilation areas, then the cabling must be Plenum rated.

All these factors and more will be discussed and reviewed in detail before one cable is installed. Our Project Manager will explain the options and alternatives to you so an intelligent decision can be made.

There are different types of cables for different requirements:

Category 5 Cable

Category 5 (CAT5) cable is a multi-pair (usually 4 pair) high performance cable that consists of twisted pair conductors, used mainly for data transmission. Basic CAT5 cable was designed for characteristics of up to 100 MHz. CAT5 cable is typically used for LAN Ethernet networks running at 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps and for up to 100 meters of 328 feet. Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) construction makes the cable highly cost-effective for data networks.

Category 5e Cable

Category 5e (CAT5e) cable, also known as Enhanced Category 5, is designed to support full-duplex Fast Ethernet operation and Gigabit Ethernet. The main differences between CAT5 and CAT5e can be found in the specifications as Cat 5e cable achieves a greater standard of data transmission. Cat 5e cable can handle data transfers up to 1000 Mbps which makes it suitable for Gigabit Ethernet as well as Power of Ethernet (PoE). The performance requirements have been raised slightly in the new standard. CAT5e has stricter specifications for Power Sum Equal-Level Far-End Crosstalk (PS-ELFEXT), Near-End Crosstalk (NEXT), Attenuation, and Return Loss (RL) than those for CAT5. Like CAT5, CAT5e is a 100-MHz standard, but it has the capacity to handle bandwidth superior to that of CAT5. VPI's selection of CAT5e cables feature Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) construction for cost-effective connections.

Category 6 Cable

Category 6 (CAT6) cable provides higher performance than CAT5e and features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise.

The quality of the data transmission depends upon the performance of the components of the channel. To transmit according to CAT6 specifications, jacks, patch cables, patch panels, cross-connects, and cabling must all meet CAT6 standards. The CAT6 components are tested individually, and they are also tested together for performance. In addition, the standard calls for generic system performance so that CAT6 components from any vendor can be used in the channel.

All CAT6 components must be backward compatible with CAT5e, CAT5, and CAT3. If different category components are used with CAT6 components, then the channel will achieve the transmission performance of the lower category. For instance, if CAT6 cable is used with CAT5e jacks, the throughput will perform at a CAT5e level. VPI offers both Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and Screened Shielded Twisted Pair (SSTP) CAT6 cables. Another advantage this gives Cat 6 cable is that it now has double the bandwidth of regular Cat 5 cable. Cat 6 cable supports up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet for up to about 37 meters or 121 feet.

Category 6a Cable

Category 6a (CAT6a), also known as Augmented Category 6, requires a cable to operate at a minimum of 500Mhz and provide up to 10 Gigabits of bandwidth. The CAT6a standard also includes a new measurement called Power-Sum Alien Crosstalk to 500 MHz. CAT6a cables will reduce the interference on a 10GBASE-T network caused by Alien Crosstalk thereby improving network performance. VPI's selection of CAT6a cables feature Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) construction for cost-effective connections. Also, Cat 6a version cable addresses the limit of distance of Cat 6 cable and is certified for up to 100 meters or 328 feet.

Category 7 Cable

Category 7 (CAT7) cable, also known as Class F, requires a cable to operate at a minimum of 600Mhz and provide up to 10 Gigabits of bandwidth. To further reduce interference, CAT7 cable requires individually fully shielded twisted pairs. Screened Shielded Twisted Pair (SSTP), also referred to as Screened Foiled Twisted Pair (SFTP) all but eliminates alien crosstalk and greatly improves noise resistance making it the ideal networking cable in high EMI environments such as power stations, data centers, factories, and hospitals.

Now when deciding whether to upgrade from Cat 5e cable to Cat 6a cable there are some other factors to take into consideration.
  • Are all your components rated to supports Gigabit Ethernet? If not, then you won’t be achieving true gigabit speeds and might as well just go with the Cat 5e. Unless you plan to upgrade your components in the future then Cat 6a cable will provide a better infrastructure for these planned upgrades.
  • While Cat 5e cable can support gigabit speeds only Cat 6a cable is certified to handle speeds up to 10 Gigabits. However, unless you’re in an environment that has a server with a tremendous amount of data constantly being transferred between machines then an upgrade to Cat 6a structured cabling might not be necessary.

  • Structured cabling falls into five subsystems:

  • Demarcation point is the point where the telephone company network ends and connects with the on-premises wiring at the customer premises.
  • Equipment or Telecommunications Rooms house equipment and wiring consolidation points that serve the users inside the building or campus.
  • Vertical or Riser Cabling connects between the equipment/telecommunications rooms, so named because the rooms are typically on different floors.
  • Horizontal wiring can be IW (inside wiring) or Plenum Cabling and connects telecommunications rooms to individual outlets or work areas on the floor, usually through the wireways, conduits or ceiling spaces of each floor.
  • Work-Area Components connect end-user equipment to outlets of the horizontal cabling system.

  • Structured cabling design and installation is governed by a set of standards that specify wiring data centers, offices, and apartment buildings for data or voice communications using various kinds of cable, most commonly category 5e (CAT-5e), category 6 (CAT-6), and fiber optic cabling and modular connectors. These standards define how to lay the cabling in various topologies in order to meet the needs of the customer, typically using a central patch panel (which is normally 19 inch rack-mounted), from where each modular connection can be used as needed. Each outlet is then patched into a network switch (normally also rack-mounted) for network use or 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 to connect a computer. Voice patches to PBXs in most countries require an adapter at the remote end to translate the configuration on 8P8C modular connectors into the local standard telephone wall socket. No adapter is needed in the U.S. as the 6P2C and 6P4C plugs most commonly used with RJ11 and RJ14 telephone connections are physically and electrically compatible with the larger 8P8C socket. RJ25 and RJ61 connections are physically but not electrically compatible, and cannot be used. In the UK, an adapter must be present at the remote end as the 6-pin BT socket is physically incompatible with 8P8C.

    It is common to color code patch panel cables to identify the type of connection, though structured cabling standards do not require it except in the demarcation wall field.

    Cabling standards demand that all eight conductors in Cat5/5e/6 cable are connected, resisting the temptation to 'double-up' or use one cable for both voice and data. IP phone systems, however, can run the telephone and the computer on the same wires.

    Structured Cabling Standards

    Structured cabling standards are used internationally and are published by ISO/IEC, CENELEC and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Building Industry Consulting Service International is a recognized independent trainer of structured cabling installers with manufacturer independent design and installation best practice documents; it also plays a major role along with industry leaders in developing and designing the US standards.

  • TIA-526-7 Measurement of Optical Power Loss of Installed Single-Mode Fiber Cable Plant – OFSTP-7 - (February 2002)
  • TIA-526-14-A Optical Power Loss Measurements of Installed Multimode Fiber Cable Plant – OFSTP-14 - (August 1998)
  • ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.1 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 1: General Requirements: General Requirements, May 2001.
  • Addenda ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.1-1-2001, Addendum 1, Minimum Curve Radius for 4 pair UTP and ScTP cable, July, 2001.
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.1-2 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 1: General Requirements Addendum 2 – Grounding and Bonding Requirements for Screened Balanced Twisted-Pair Horizontal Cabling - (February 2003)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.1-3 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 1: General Requirements Addendum 3 – Supportable Distances and Channel Attenuation for Optical Fiber Applications by Fiber Type - (February 2003)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.1-4 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 1: General Requirements Addendum 4 – Recognition of Category 6 and 850 nm Laser Optimized 50/125 nm Multimode Optical Fiber Cabling - (February 2003)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.1-5 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 1: General Requirements Addendum 5 – Telecommunications Cabling for Telecommunications Enclosures – (March 2004)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.1-7 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 1: General Requirements Addendum 7 - Guidelines for Maintaining Polarity Using Array Connectors – (January 2006)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.2 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 2: Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling Components - (December 2003)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 2: Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling Components – Addendum 1 – Transmission Performance Specifications for 4-Pair 100 ohm Category 6 Cabling - (June 2002)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.2-2 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 2: Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling Components – Addendum 2 – Revision of Sub-clauses - (December 2001)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.2-3 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 2: Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling Components – Addendum 3 – Additional Considerations for Insertion Loss &asp Return Loss Pass/Fail Determination - (March 2002)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.2-4 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 2: Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling Components – Addendum 4 – Solderless Connection Reliability Requirements for Copper Connecting Hardware - (June 2002)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.2-5 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 2: Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling Components – Addendum 5 – Corrections to TIA/EIA-568-B.2 – (January 2003)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.2-6 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 2: Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling Components – Addendum 6 – Category 6 Related Component Test Procedures – (December 2003)
  • TIA/EIA-568-B.2-11 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard Part 2: Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling Components – Addendum 11 - Specification of 4-Pair UTP and SCTP Cabling – (December 2005)
  • TIA/EIA-568-3 Optical Fiber Cabling Components Standard - (April 2002)
  • TIA/EIA-568-3.1 Optical Fiber Cabling Components Standard – Addendum 1 – Additional Transmission Performance Specifications for 50/125 ΅m Optical Fiber Cables – (April 2002)
  • TIA-569-B Commercial Building Standard for Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces - (October 2004)
  • TIA-598-C Optical Fiber Cable Color Coding - (January 2005)
  • TIA/EIA-606-A Administration Standard for Commercial Telecommunications Infrastructure - (May 2002)
  • J-STD-607-A Commercial Building Grounding (Earthing) and Bonding Requirements for Telecommunications - (October 2002)
  • TIA-758-A Customer-owned Outside Plant Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard – (August 2004)

    T568A and T568B Termination

    The widest known and most discussed feature of TIA/EIA-568-B.1-2001 is the definition of pin/pair assignments for eight-conductor 100-ohm balanced twisted-pair cabling, such as Category 3, Category 5 and Category 6 unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cables. These assignments are named T568A and T568B and they define the pinout, or order of connections, for wires in 8P8C (often incorrectly referred to as RJ45) eight-pin modular connector plugs and sockets.

    TIA/EIA-568-B specifies that horizontal cables should be terminated using the T568A pin/pair assignments, or "optionally, per [T568B] if necessary to accommodate certain 8-pin cabling systems". Despite this instruction, many organizations continue to implement T568B for various reasons, chiefly associated with tradition (T568B is equivalent to AT&T 258A). The United States National Communication Systems Federal Telecommunications Recommendations do not recognize T568B.

    The primary color of pair one is blue, pair two is orange, pair three is green and pair four is brown. Each pair consists of one conductor of solid color, and a second conductor which is white with a stripe of the same color. The specific assignments of pairs to connector pins varies between the T568A and T568B standards.

    Note that the only difference between T568A and T568B is that pairs 2 and 3 (orange and green) are swapped. Both configurations wire the pins "straight through", i.e., pins 1 through 8 on one end are connected to pins 1 through 8 on the other end. Also, the same sets of pins connect to the opposite ends that are paired in both configurations: pins 1 and 2 form a pair, as do 3 and 6, 4 and 5, and 7 and 8. One can use cables wired according to either configuration in the same installation without significant problem; problems involving crosstalk can occur (which is normally minimized by correctly twisting a pair together), but are usually insignificant in all but the most stringent specifications such as Category 6 cable. The primary thing one has to be careful of is not to accidentally wire the ends of the same cable according to different configurations (unless one intends to create an Ethernet crossover cable).

    Industry Standard CAT5 Pin-out

    The images below depict the cable pin-outs for straight-through and cross-over Cat-5 Ethernet cables that conform to EIA/TIA industry standard for 568 A and B. IF the first and second pin are orange, the cable is 568B. If the first and second pins are green, the cable is 568A. If one end of the cable is A and the other end is B then you now have a cross-over.

    CAT 5 Straight-through Cable Pin Assignments

    CAT 5 Cross-over Cable Pin Assignments


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