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Last Updated December 16, 2003

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Cabling Resources

Understanding cabling and the physical layer of your network is a topic that is usually brushed over in most computer classes, and is usually taught as a separate discipline than server administration. But Professionals working in smaller organizations may have to perform some design and performance analysis of their cabling systems, and over 70% of all network problems are the result of poor cabling, or cabling problems. Here's a place to get started.
Where to Start: FAQ's and Online Tutorials
Cabletron Cabling Systems Guide
Everything you ever wanted to know about cabling! A comprehensive guide to network cabling in PDF format. Size 1.4 Mb Source: Cabletron
News and technical information regarding the cabling marketplace.

Data Communications Cabling FAQs
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document for the comp.dcom.cabling newsgroup. Topics covered include the types of cables (fiber, coax, copper, unshielded twisted pair-UTP, shielded twisted pair), installation techniques, standards as well as fire and building safety codes. Prepared and maintained by Peter Macaulay. Source: Ohio State University

Frequently Asked Questions Document on Cabling
From the comp.dcom.cabling newsgroup

TechFest Network Cabling Glossary
A very extensive glossary of common networking terminology.

What is Network Cabling?
Chapter 4 from the "Educator's Guide to School Networks", covers the basic types of cables used in modern networks. Source: Florida Center for Instructional Technology

Additional Resources
De-mystifying Category 5, 5e, 6, and 7 Performance Specifications
Even though the IEEE 802.3ab Gigabit Ethernet specification has released there is still a great degree of uncertainty as to the capability of today's telecommunications cabling systems to support tomorrow's high bit-rate applications. Fortunately, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have made great strides in the specification and clarification of the minimum cabling performance criteria necessary to support these next generation applications. Source: Siemon

Ethernet Switching
This white paper describes how switching can improve your network performance and by segmenting critical components you can increase the resiliency and reliability of your network. Also available as a 488kb PDF Source: Anixter

Fiber To The Desk: The Ultimate Structured Cabling System
In this paper, examples of fiber-based structured cabling systems are presented. We review the standards, discuss next generation cabling systems and show how fiber can be used effectively to reduce costs and improve network connectivity. Source: Anixter

High-Density Backbone
This white paper discusses high-density backbone infrastructure for application and service providers (ASPs) including the typical architecture of an ASP, common examples and design and installation considerations. Source: Anixter

How to Effectively Manage Your Structured Cabling Infrastructure
This paper looks at the practical issues that should be addressed when evaluating how to implement a cable management strategy. Source: Anixter

Telecommunications Technical Fundamentals
Seminar technical handout that provides a brief overview of telecommunications and provides an introduction to the ISO networking model. Watch out for the annoying MIDI file that starts playing after you load the page! Source: The Moulton Company.

The Effect of Optimum Structural Stability on the Electrical Performance of MediaTwist UTP Cable
A look at performance losses that can be experienced when the structural integrity of the cable is compromised during installation. Whitepaper by Belden Wire and Cable.

UTP vs. STP: A Comparison of Cables, Systems, and Performance Carrying High-Data-Rate Signals
A look at the performance of each of these cable types within its respective end-to-end system. Source: Anixter

Web66 Network Construction Set
This kit describes Ethernet network components along with instructions for setting up school LANs and WANs with Internet capabilities. Source: Web 66

Wiring Tutorial for 10BaseT Unshielded Twisted Pair
One of the most common and most puzzling problems a network engineer/technician may face is what is the PROPER way to make up a 10BaseT cable. Usually, to confound the learning process, someone introduces the need for a reversed or cross-over cable at the same time. What these are and how to make them is the subject of this on-line tutorial.

Cabling References and Pinouts
IBM Cabling Technical Summary
An overview of some of the original IBM Cat 3-5 specs from 1984. Source:

Wire Gauges
Table of wire gauges and their corresponding diameters. Source:


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