Question Small Office Networking Setup

slippyjim

Distinguished
Feb 28, 2012
158
1
18,685
0
Hi,

So I have got a job to do a small office setup with new ethernet cable, switch and wall ports this is not something I normally do so I have a few questions......

It is only a small office at the moment it only has 5 PC's but he has plans to expand to up to 11 PC's and maybe a large printer so I am looking at a 16 port wall mounted unmanaged switch. The network is mainly to get internet to all the PC's and maybe an automated backup system in the future. I have discounted the rack mounted ones as there isn't really room for a rack and a patch panel. So I have seen the TP Link TL-SG116 and TL-SG116E as far as I can see the only difference is the E can do VLAN's which I do not need, so I thought the cheaper SG116 will be ok but on the TP Link website in the specs the TL-SG116E shows the different cables it supports as 5, 5e, & 6 but for the TL-SG116 this info is missing, am I correct in assuming this is the same?

For the cable running from the switch to the ports should I go for Cat 6 or 6a? They only have 100Mbps internet and that is unlikely to change any time soon, is the 6a worth the extra money as a future proof?

Is there any difference between cat 6 keystones, I have seen a pack of 25 on amazon for $33 yet elsewhere they are $12 each.

The cables are going to go above the ceiling tiles should they go through conduit or can they just lie on top of the ceiling tiles?

Thanks
 
You have to be careful in commercial building there might be code requirements. What cable is called that goes in the ceiling area you are talking about is plenum cable. It has a plastic that does not spread fire and does not release toxic gases if it is burned. Generally ethernet cable itself will not cause a fire it is because the cable is run through the fire breaks in commercial building that they don't want it to spread the fire.

You need nothing better than cat5e. Normal cat6 doesn't really buy you anything but sometimes is cheaper. Cat6a is used for 10gbit and generally is not needed but the cost difference is getting much less......more the cost of all cable has gone up because the price of copper metal is so high. The extra costs to manufacture cat6a cable is being over shadowed by the price of the metal and pretty much cat5e and cat6a use the same amount of metal.

Key to cables is not buying fake. You need to be sure you get pure copper wire. Lot of bulk CCA cable being sold which does not meet the standards for ethernet. You also sometime see thin or flat cable but those mostly are patch cables and not bulk cable. You need wire size 22-24. And again you likely need plenum rated cables

You can plug them directly into a switch but a patch panel makes for a much cleaner install.
 
The main expense in your project will come from cable reels and labor. Don't be cheap on switch - managet 16-port switches these days are not that more expensive than unmanaged ones. As for patch panel - having it will make your life in the future easier. Do it right the first time.
 

slippyjim

Distinguished
Feb 28, 2012
158
1
18,685
0
Thanks for your answers.
I have checked the cable I was looking at and some have PVC jacket and some have LSOH so I now know I need to get the LSOH one, it is 23AWG. The PVC ones were in the range you said 22-24AWG.

Originally I didn't understand the purpose of the patch panel then after reading I realised why they are used but in the location where the switch has to go there really isnt room for a rack so I'm not sure what I can do
 
Last edited:

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hi,

So I have got a job to do a small office setup with new ethernet cable, switch and wall ports this is not something I normally do so I have a few questions......

It is only a small office at the moment it only has 5 PC's but he has plans to expand to up to 11 PC's and maybe a large printer so I am looking at a 16 port wall mounted unmanaged switch. The network is mainly to get internet to all the PC's and maybe an automated backup system in the future. I have discounted the rack mounted ones as there isn't really room for a rack and a patch panel. So I have seen the TP Link TL-SG116 and TL-SG116E as far as I can see the only difference is the E can do VLAN's which I do not need, so I thought the cheaper SG116 will be ok but on the TP Link website in the specs the TL-SG116E shows the different cables it supports as 5, 5e, & 6 but for the TL-SG116 this info is missing, am I correct in assuming this is the same?

For the cable running from the switch to the ports should I go for Cat 6 or 6a? They only have 100Mbps internet and that is unlikely to change any time soon, is the 6a worth the extra money as a future proof?

Is there any difference between cat 6 keystones, I have seen a pack of 25 on amazon for $33 yet elsewhere they are $12 each.

The cables are going to go above the ceiling tiles should they go through conduit or can they just lie on top of the ceiling tiles?

Thanks
Cables above a false ceiling should be supported. Typical installation is anchors in the concrete ceiling with "J" hooks every 4 to 6 feet. You don't want too much droop between supports. See this article -- https://community.fs.com/blog/understanding-j-hooks-in-cable-support-systems.html
This article says NEC has requirements for data cabling -- https://www.ecmweb.com/content/article/20886344/keeping-up-with-category-5-cabling-requirements-in-a-horizontal-run So double check your NEC reference
You should rent proper cable certification equipment. Minimum would be a Fluke LinkIQ or similar.
https://www.flukenetworks.com/knowledge-base/cableiq/verification-qualification-and-certification-cableiq
 
I forget exactly what they call them but you can get a "patch panel" that mounts directly to a wall. They have the punch down connections on the front. So in effect you have a strip of ports with punch down connectors below each one. These are sold for structure wire cabenets but I have seen them that mount directly to a wall....just can't find a example this morning for some reason. They more or less look like this but this one goes into a wall cabinet. This is purely a example for what they look like I have no idea about this exact part.
https://www.amazon.com/Legrand-Q-AC1058-Network-Interface/dp/B078FLT5S3?ref_=ast_sto_dp

If you are being paid by someone to do this be very sure you do not need a license to install cables. Partially it is because someone who have a license would know about things like plenum cable and other similar restrictions. But is also is kinda a money making scam for some cities to collect fees. Some place you must have a electrician licenase to run low voltage cabling. It gets messy when you are doing work for someone else and even more so when it is in a commercial space rather than a say a home. If you are lucky you are in a area where the government agencies don't care and it is only a technical problem.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS