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LAN & WAN Basics

Introduction

In Part 1 of this series, I described the general approach to designing my new home's network, and how I generated my "drop list". Part 2 covered the design and material selection for the wall plates and central wiring panel. In this last installment, I'll cover some tips and tricks that I learned during the wiring process and how it all turned out.

The first thing I did to start the wiring process was to organize the drops in the utility room and put up a panel where I could mount all the wiring components. You would think that I would be able to find a scrap piece of plywood amid all the construction debris, but I ended up purchasing a 2 ft. X 2 ft. pre-cut panel from my local building supplier. I secured the panel to the wall with sheetrock screws - the next best thing to duct tape - and screwed the two data patch panels, one phone patch panel and three DIY coax "patch panel" outlet boxes to it.

I next separated the tangle of cables into three bundles for the data, phone and coax patch panels, which ended up being more difficult than I had planned. The RG 6 coax was no problem, but I hadn't been explicit enough in my instructions to the electrician for how to mark the CAT 5e cabling that was used for both phone and data drops. He ended up marking the cables with masking tape labels, most of which had fallen off by the time I got to reading them.

The lesson here is to use a cable marking system that is robust enough to withstand both the wirepulling process and the abuse the resulting pile of cables in your wiring closet will probably take from being stepped on, thrown out of the way, etc. by various construction tradespeople. In the end, writing directly on the cable with a Sharpie or other permanent marker would probably have been a better way to go.

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