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Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to do a Simple LAN Cabling

Local Area network is the smallest example of the bigger internet, it can be located in a single room or across a whole building from the ground floors to the penthouse. Still it is also located in several building that is closely located which other ad can be accessible easily by a few seconds or minute of walking. In a Local Area Network computers and other peripherals devices can be shared and connection via cable and wireless means, even your smartphone can also be connected via a WIFI spot. But standard connection is still via the old cable, not just any cable but a group of smaller cable banded and twisted to form a larger cable called a Twisted Pair Cable.

The correct technical term for this cable is Category 5 cable (Cat 5). A cat 5 cable is a twisted pair cable for carrying signals. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet. It is also used to carry other signals such as telephony and video. The cable is commonly connected using punch down blocks and modular connectors. Most Category 5 cables are unshielded, relying on the twisted pair design and differential signaling for noise rejection. Category 5 has been superseded by the Category 5e (enhanced) specification.

Nederlands: Unshielded twisted pairImage via Wikipedia

Maximum cable segment length

Now  like all type of cable the CAT 5 cable use in LAN has also its maximum limit between devices such as computer and switch. According to the ANSI/TIA/EIA standard for category 5e copper cable (TIA/EIA 568-5-A), the maximum length for a cable segment is 100 meters (328 feet). If longer runs are required, the use of active hardware such as a repeater, or a switch, is necessary. The specifications for 10BASE-T networking specify a 100 meter length between active devices. This allows for 90 meters of fixed cabling, two connectors and two patch leads of 5 meters, one at each end.

Now that you know a few simple facts regarding the cable used in LAN, we need to know hoe to connect your basic computer to the central devices which could be a HUB or Switch. Actually there a four pairs of wire twisted inside the main cable. First we need to removed the main protective cover of the cable and expose those four pair of smaller wires twisted together.
English: Category 6 twisted pair Ethernet cableImage via Wikipedia
From the picture above you can see four pair of wires that was twisted which each other hence the name Twisted Pair. Actually there are several cable configuration for structured cabling for LAN but for today we are going to focus on the Computer and Hub/Switch connection the common one. Just like what i said before we need to untangle all the twisted pair of cables and we need to straighten them out. We need to do that, gently massage each cable after untangling them to straighten them. Do this until all the pairs have been straighten. 

This may be hard on your hand so  make sure not to rush it, there is a reason why we need to straighten them out as you will see later. Before we go any further, make sure that you have the following tools with you. A scissor and a Crimping tool, the scissor is going to be used for cutting the cable once we have configured them properly and the crimping tool is the one we are going to used to lock the cable inside the plastic connector called the RJ-45. Now lets do the cabling for a regular connection of computer to hub/switch connection. just follow this color coding.

Look for the first color in our sequence which has the the color pattern of White-Orange. There are only four main color code for the cable they are Orange, Green, Blue and Brown. The other cable is the alter ego for the main, that why you will see that for Orange there the White-Orange, Blue has White-Blue, Green has White-Green and Brown has White Brown. Now back to the sequence make sure to locate the cable in our sequence and that is the White-Orange. For a better and quick know how just look at the picture below.

LAN Cabling Pattern

Once you have achieved the color pattern shown on the picture above hols the twisted pair tightly and massage them to really straighten all the cable out. Now once all the cable have been straighten out, use the scissors to cut the the length of the cable so that external sleeve is just right inside the lock of the RJ-45 plastic connector when you insert all the cable pair together. This is a very delicate process, when inserting the cable inside the  RJ45 connector make sure that all the end part of the twisted par reach all the way to the wall of the inside part of the connector. 

cat5 [P1160038]cat5 [P1160038] (Photo credit: the_green_squirrel)

This is important because hen we lock the cable in place we need to make sure the the metal plate inside each canal of the RJ45 pierces the thin cover of the twisted pair so that there will be contact made between the metal plate and the cable. Now use the crimping tool to lock the cable inside the RJ45, we need to press hard and firmly to lock the cable and to make sure that the metal plate inside is touching the copper cable of each wire. Now do the same cable pattern on the other end of the cable where we need to put another RJ45 connector.

To check if the cable is working insert the other at the back of the PC while insert the other end on one of the port of the HUB/Switch. Please observe if you can connect to the internet or browse other computer on the LAN, better yet ping your LAN server. If all of this is unsuccessful or partially successful then you need to redo the cabling until you get the right connection and configuration.
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