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Cable Installation Guide

Planning the Cable Runs

The best way to begin planning cable runs is with a blueprint. Try to find one with as much detail as possible. If you can get hold of a computerized version, so much the better - it will provide for easier updating. If all else fails, ask for the fire evacuation plan map that every school has to file with the state government. (See the NetDay How-To Guide for more on making a wiring plan.)

As you map out the runs - from the central point to two jacks in each schoolroom - you must consult with the person who manages facilities at your school to be sure you're not damaging the buildings or putting yourself, other volunteers, school employees or students at risk.

You must route Category 5 cable no closer than 5 feet to any high-voltage (power) wiring or fluorescent lighting. High-voltage fields and the energy from fluorescent tubes interfere with data transmission. Also, cable runs must not be longer than 328 feet (100 meters), including any service coil or patch cords. Longer stretches of cable won't transmit data as quickly.

Professionals normally cut cable after it's run.

Glossary of Terms