Operation & Maintenance Guide for Copper Data Cabling Systems

The data cabling system requires no maintenance but the following guidelines and checks will help to ensure reliable operation of the network infrastructure.

 

Patch cords and workstation cords

  • The patch cords and workstation cords are the most vulnerable part of the cabling system. They are prone to damage from misuse and care must be taken not to place any strain on a cord. A damaged cord can cause total network failure or a drop in performance and must be replaced.
  • Only standards-compliant cords should be used. If a Cat5e cord is used in a Cat6 system, only Cat5e performance will be achieved. Cat6 patch cords can be used in a Cat5e cabling system but Cat6 performance will not be achieved.
  • The operator of the cabling system will need to connect patch cords from the Floor Distributor side of the RJ45 patch panel to the services, e.g. network switching hardware.
  • Patch cords should be routed through the cable organiser loops and be kept clear of the other patch panels.
  • It is a good idea to use different colour patch cords depending on the service they are patched to.
  • The total length of a patch cord plus workstation cord should be no more than 10 metres. This can be increased in some circumstances but only after seeking advice from a cabling system designer.
  • Cords should be long enough to route tidily. They should not be taut.
  • Patch cords should not be so long that the excess cable clogs up the cabinet.
  • The bend radii of the cords must be at least 25mm.
  • Ensure that no cord is bent sharply as it comes out of the back of the RJ45 plug. Take particular care when closing the cabinet door.
  • In normal circumstances cords should not be extended.
  • Workstation cords should be installed so they do not cause a trip hazard and are not prone to damage.

 

Panels and outlets

  • Sockets on panels and outlets are labelled with corresponding identifications.
  • Connectors must be kept free of foreign bodies.
  • Take particular care not to trap, crush or kink cords as they exit floor boxes or other enclosures.
  • Ensure that lids on floor boxes are closed so they are not a trip hazard.
  • The exterior surfaces of panels and outlets may be carefully cleaned with a damp cloth but the connector contacts must be avoided.
  • Never insert an RJ11 connector into an RJ45 socket. It can cause permanent damage.

 

Cabinets and racks

  • Regularly carry out a visual check on any fans to ensure they are still working.
  • Doors should be able to close without putting pressure on the patch leads.

 

End of Life

  • To help protect the environment, at end of life the cable and containment should be recycled. In particular, the copper in the cables is valuable for recycling.