Network Cabling Services

Worksmart understands the importance of high quality network data and AV cabling to support high speed communications and business applications. That is why we have our own professional network cabling services team.

Worksmart provides a complete range of network data and AV cabling services including CAT5e, CAT6, CAT6a and Fibre solutions to support your data requirement now and in the future. All our data cabling solutions are installed by experience and approved maintainers and are fully tested upon completion and conform to British Standards EN50173.

Network Cabling

Professional services

Worksmart Operations and Maintenance (O&M) documentation can be provided on data cabling installations detailing manufacturers warranties and certification, floor plans and cabinet layout, so that any future maintenance or problem solving can be carried out easily.

Jargon free advice

As with all of services, we offer honest, jargon free advice backed up by high quality products, together with outstanding customer service and support. Whether you are expanding, moving London offices or upgrading your communications, our cabling team can provide a complete and professional network data cabling service.

Net-a-Porta case study

Net a Porta Case Study

Foxtons case study

Foxtons Case Study

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Click on tabs below for cabling tips and advice

What Cabling Types Are Available (Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7 etc)?

There are only 3 ratified standards for Categories or Classes of Cabling systems worth discussing at this stage. Gigabit is an application not a cabling standard.

Cat 5e, Cat 6 and Cat 6A (Category 7 although there is a draft standard and a number of companies have a cable that meets the specification including Excel, only two companies have versions of a connector that will allow the system to meet the draft requirements for the channel requirements and NO ONE has developed a field tester so a waste of time at this stage).

The Difference in Bandwidth Between Each Copper Cable Types

Cat 5e

Cat 5e is typically an unshielded relatively low cost solution that will allow speeds of up to One Gigabit per second. And the performance testing is based characterisation at frequencies up to 100MHz. as the following table will demonstrate.

Cabling Performance Table

Cat 6 Cabling

Cat 6 can be unshielded or shielded, however the latter is quite uncommon, particularly in the UK market. Again it will support transmission speeds of up to One Gigabit per second. However the performance testing is carried at frequencies up to 250MHz.

Cat 6 Performance

*Typical Result Nominal velocity of propagation (NVP 69%)

This came about due to the very nature of the industry and the fact that manufacturers were in such a rush to stay ahead of the game that they came up with products capable of this before the standards bodies had really sat down to see what the next jump in Ethernet speeds was going to be, unfortunately they got caught out.

However the single major benefit of Cat 6 over 5e is the insurance factor – the headroom available, especially over longer distances, where Cat 5e may be near to its limits. It also has better properties when employing PoE (Power over Ethernet)

Cat 6A Cabling

Cat6A is currently the pinnacle in Copper based solutions. Almost all of which is shielded, very rare has anyone trusted an unshielded solution at these speeds. It will support 10Gigabit per second. This has been achieved by two factors the copper conductors are slightly larger and the individual shielding of the conductors allows for higher frequencies to be transmitted without the noise affecting the signal on the other conductors. The frequency covered is now up to 500MHz.

Cat 6A Performance

Nominal velocity of propagation (NVP 76%)

Note 1: All tests include 401 points swept frequency measurements.
Note 2: All electrical characteristics are given at 20 ̊C

The other aspect of a Cat6A shielded solution is the fact that it will operate with the forthcoming PoE2 standard which will call for the ability to handle 48V DC, this is being looked at by a wide range of equipment vendors, for the control and power of IP CCTV cameras, to the next generation of Wireless Access Points.

Average Test Time Per Cable Type

With a standard DTX 1800 you can effectively test each link in approx. 2-4 minutes, for both Cat5e and Cat6 it is only very slightly longer for CAT6A when a couple of further measurements are carried out, It is only marginally dependent on the length of the link.

The major factor with all testing is the set up and the fact that it takes two people.

Brief summary of installation measures / standard (ie bend ratio’s, loose lay of cables etc)?

The best advice that can be given hear is to have a look at the standard BS/EN50174 which covers all the aspects relating to installation practices. It was driven mainly with the inception of Cat6A however it is equally important for both 5e and 6. As it covers the separation of power and data within containment, the use of containment and cable identification etc.

Issues concerning laying cables loose on Cable matting in floor voids, the dressing of cable into tidy bundles are typically part of good working practice and some consultants and manufacturers will stipulate the use of Velcro tie wraps rather than plastic ones in the horizontal;

Others will specify bundles of no more than 24 cables etc. a lot of these are subjective and tender specification driven.

However the main factors relate to the bend radii of the cables both during and after installation the simple rule of thumb to apply, 8 times Outside Diameter during installation and 4 times Outside Diameter , in it’s final position.

Cost Differences as an Overall Percentage Between Cable Types?

It is hard to compare costs in a very basic way, as the time taken to terminate a Cat5e outlet and a Cat6A with a shielded cable is very different, in layman’s terms; it can be almost twice or even three times as long for the latter, if the installation engineer is not familiar with the product.

The best way to compare the three systems is on the following scale. If you consider Cat6A to be 100, then Cat6 is 65-70 and Cat5e will be less than 60.

Advantages, Disadvantages / Benefits of each cable type?

It is a very difficult question to answer and should be balanced by a preceding question, that being, what are the requirements of the overall system? Eg

  • Bandwidth requirements
  • Electrical requirements for PoE
  • How long it will have to remain in-situ etc.

Cat5e

Pros = Cost, Flexibility, Ease of Installation

Cons = Lower Performance, PoE1

Cat6

Pros = Cost, Flexibility, Ease of Installation, Middle performance,

Cons = Cost, PoE1

Cat6A

Pros = High End Performance, PoE2, Future proof

Cons = Cost, Flexibility, Ease of Installation

Summary

It is not a straightforward process to come up with a definitive answer and often comes down to the business requirements, balanced against cost.

Is it Cat 6A, Cat6A or Cat6a?

Question

Is it ‘only’ a pedantic detail that requires the people that are interested to wear an Anorak…?

Answer

Well no, there is a difference and here is our explanation.

The ‘A’ refers to Augmented. There are different terms used for the Channel, Permanent Link and Component depending on whether it relates to the International (ISO/IEC), American (TIA/EIA), European (CENELEC – EN Standards).

There is also a difference in performance.

So, for example in CENELC compliant installation you would have a Class EA Permanent Link and in a TIA/EIA compliant installation you would have a Category 6A Permanent Link.

The ISO/IEC requirements are superior to the TIA/EIA –
If a component meets ISO/IEC or CENELEC, then it automatically meets the minimum requirements for TIA/EIA
Therefore if our components meet the ISO/IEC requirements it should be expressed as Cat 6A.

NB – In Worksmart emails and proposals 6A may be written as 6A but you can assume that Worksmart cabling will comply with ISO/IEC requirements.

Network Cabling Survey Tips

When planning a network cabling installation, there are a number of factors that need to be considered whilst carrying out a pre-installation survey, which will determine costs. Some of the questions to ask include:

Is there is adequate access for running cabling?

This can include:

  • Raised accessible flooring
  • False accessible ceilings
  • Inter-floor risers / cable ways

Without access to floor or ceiling voids, you would require the installation of trunking / cable trays to accommodate the cabling. The positions of inter-floor risers, in relation to the data cabinet location is an important factor too, as you could exceed the maximum 90m cable length to reach work areas on different floors.

Where possible, it is recommended that communications rooms are located close to inter-floor risers to avoid having to deploy optical fibres. It is best practice to keep the cable lengths as short as possible to achieve the best performance.

The longer the cable length the higher the attenuation and therefore the greater the reduction of signal strength during transmission. Attenuation is the opposite of amplification and is normal when a signal is sent from one point to another. If the signal is attenuated too much, it becomes unintelligible.

Is there existing trunking or detachable skirting boards for containment of cabling?

If not this can add time and material costs for fitting new trunking.

What size of containment is available?

Only a given amount of cables will be able to be routed through skirting / dado trunking, again data cabinet planning is required to achieve even distribution of cables.

What are the client’s transmission requirements?

Ensure that the end client identifies exactly what their data transmission requirements will be. For instance, heavy media traffic may require the higher specification of cable such as Category 6 or even the latest Category 6a, whereas with normal file, email traffic etc. Category 5e will meet these requirements will bandwidth to spare.

What telephony or video system will be connected via the structured cabling?

The latest VoIP systems allow for the reduction of network points required per workstation as it is possible to connect the PC’s through the back of the desk-phone unit by means of VLAN’s being set up on the clients IT networking switches.

When can you access the building/site?

Site access; can all the required works be carried out during normal office hours, are there restrictions on noisy works etc.

Is there sufficient space for required bend radiuses?

Performance of data transmission is affected greatly by not allowing space for required bend radius’s for each given cable type. See guideline table below.

Cable Types

What Cabling Types Are Available (Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7 etc)?

There are only 3 ratified standards for Categories or Classes of Cabling systems worth discussing at this stage. Gigabit is an application not a cabling standard.

Cat 5e, Cat 6 and Cat 6A (Category 7 although there is a draft standard and a number of companies have a cable that meets the specification including Excel, only two companies have versions of a connector that will allow the system to meet the draft requirements for the channel requirements and NO ONE has developed a field tester so a waste of time at this stage).

The Difference in Bandwidth Between Each Copper Cable Types

Cat 5e

Cat 5e is typically an unshielded relatively low cost solution that will allow speeds of up to One Gigabit per second. And the performance testing is based characterisation at frequencies up to 100MHz. as the following table will demonstrate.

Cabling Performance Table

Cat 6 Cabling

Cat 6 Cabling

Cat 6 can be unshielded or shielded, however the latter is quite uncommon, particularly in the UK market. Again it will support transmission speeds of up to One Gigabit per second. However the performance testing is carried at frequencies up to 250MHz.

Cat 6 Performance

*Typical Result Nominal velocity of propagation (NVP 69%)

This came about due to the very nature of the industry and the fact that manufacturers were in such a rush to stay ahead of the game that they came up with products capable of this before the standards bodies had really sat down to see what the next jump in Ethernet speeds was going to be, unfortunately they got caught out.

However the single major benefit of Cat 6 over 5e is the insurance factor – the headroom available, especially over longer distances, where Cat 5e may be near to its limits. It also has better properties when employing PoE (Power over Ethernet)

Cat 6A Cabling

Cat 6A Cabling

Cat6A is currently the pinnacle in Copper based solutions. Almost all of which is shielded, very rare has anyone trusted an unshielded solution at these speeds. It will support 10Gigabit per second. This has been achieved by two factors the copper conductors are slightly larger and the individual shielding of the conductors allows for higher frequencies to be transmitted without the noise affecting the signal on the other conductors. The frequency covered is now up to 500MHz.

Cat 6A Performance

Nominal velocity of propagation (NVP 76%)

Note 1: All tests include 401 points swept frequency measurements.
Note 2: All electrical characteristics are given at 20 ̊C

The other aspect of a Cat6A shielded solution is the fact that it will operate with the forthcoming PoE2 standard which will call for the ability to handle 48V DC, this is being looked at by a wide range of equipment vendors, for the control and power of IP CCTV cameras, to the next generation of Wireless Access Points.

Cable Test Times

Average Test Time Per Cable Type

With a standard DTX 1800 you can effectively test each link in approx. 2-4 minutes, for both Cat5e and Cat6 it is only very slightly longer for CAT6A when a couple of further measurements are carried out, It is only marginally dependent on the length of the link.

The major factor with all testing is the set up and the fact that it takes two people.

Brief summary of installation measures / standard (ie bend ratio’s, loose lay of cables etc)?

The best advice that can be given hear is to have a look at the standard BS/EN50174 which covers all the aspects relating to installation practices. It was driven mainly with the inception of Cat6A however it is equally important for both 5e and 6. As it covers the separation of power and data within containment, the use of containment and cable identification etc.

Issues concerning laying cables loose on Cable matting in floor voids, the dressing of cable into tidy bundles are typically part of good working practice and some consultants and manufacturers will stipulate the use of Velcro tie wraps rather than plastic ones in the horizontal;

Others will specify bundles of no more than 24 cables etc. a lot of these are subjective and tender specification driven.

However the main factors relate to the bend radii of the cables both during and after installation the simple rule of thumb to apply, 8 times Outside Diameter during installation and 4 times Outside Diameter , in it’s final position.

Cost Differences as an Overall Percentage Between Cable Types?

It is hard to compare costs in a very basic way, as the time taken to terminate a Cat5e outlet and a Cat6A with a shielded cable is very different, in layman’s terms; it can be almost twice or even three times as long for the latter, if the installation engineer is not familiar with the product.

The best way to compare the three systems is on the following scale. If you consider Cat6A to be 100, then Cat6 is 65-70 and Cat5e will be less than 60.

Advantages, Disadvantages / Benefits of each cable type?

It is a very difficult question to answer and should be balanced by a preceding question, that being, what are the requirements of the overall system? Eg

  • Bandwidth requirements
  • Electrical requirements for PoE
  • How long it will have to remain in-situ etc.

Cat5e

Pros = Cost, Flexibility, Ease of Installation

Cons = Lower Performance, PoE1

Cat6

Pros = Cost, Flexibility, Ease of Installation, Middle performance,

Cons = Cost, PoE1

Cat6A

Pros = High End Performance, PoE2, Future proof

Cons = Cost, Flexibility, Ease of Installation

Summary

It is not a straightforward process to come up with a definitive answer and often comes down to the business requirements, balanced against cost.

6a or 6A

Is it Cat 6A, Cat6A or Cat6a?

Question

Is it ‘only’ a pedantic detail that requires the people that are interested to wear an Anorak…?

Answer

Well no, there is a difference and here is our explanation.

The ‘A’ refers to Augmented. There are different terms used for the Channel, Permanent Link and Component depending on whether it relates to the International (ISO/IEC), American (TIA/EIA), European (CENELEC – EN Standards).

There is also a difference in performance.

So, for example in CENELC compliant installation you would have a Class EA Permanent Link and in a TIA/EIA compliant installation you would have a Category 6A Permanent Link.

The ISO/IEC requirements are superior to the TIA/EIA –
If a component meets ISO/IEC or CENELEC, then it automatically meets the minimum requirements for TIA/EIA
Therefore if our components meet the ISO/IEC requirements it should be expressed as Cat 6A.

NB – In Worksmart emails and proposals 6A may be written as 6A but you can assume that Worksmart cabling will comply with ISO/IEC requirements.

Cabling Survey Tips

Network Cabling Survey Tips

When planning a network cabling installation, there are a number of factors that need to be considered whilst carrying out a pre-installation survey, which will determine costs. Some of the questions to ask include:

Is there is adequate access for running cabling?

This can include:

  • Raised accessible flooring
  • False accessible ceilings
  • Inter-floor risers / cable ways

Without access to floor or ceiling voids, you would require the installation of trunking / cable trays to accommodate the cabling. The positions of inter-floor risers, in relation to the data cabinet location is an important factor too, as you could exceed the maximum 90m cable length to reach work areas on different floors.

Where possible, it is recommended that communications rooms are located close to inter-floor risers to avoid having to deploy optical fibres. It is best practice to keep the cable lengths as short as possible to achieve the best performance.

The longer the cable length the higher the attenuation and therefore the greater the reduction of signal strength during transmission. Attenuation is the opposite of amplification and is normal when a signal is sent from one point to another. If the signal is attenuated too much, it becomes unintelligible.

Is there existing trunking or detachable skirting boards for containment of cabling?

If not this can add time and material costs for fitting new trunking.

What size of containment is available?

Only a given amount of cables will be able to be routed through skirting / dado trunking, again data cabinet planning is required to achieve even distribution of cables.

What are the client’s transmission requirements?

Ensure that the end client identifies exactly what their data transmission requirements will be. For instance, heavy media traffic may require the higher specification of cable such as Category 6 or even the latest Category 6a, whereas with normal file, email traffic etc. Category 5e will meet these requirements will bandwidth to spare.

What telephony or video system will be connected via the structured cabling?

The latest VoIP systems allow for the reduction of network points required per workstation as it is possible to connect the PC’s through the back of the desk-phone unit by means of VLAN’s being set up on the clients IT networking switches.

When can you access the building/site?

Site access; can all the required works be carried out during normal office hours, are there restrictions on noisy works etc.

Is there sufficient space for required bend radiuses?

Performance of data transmission is affected greatly by not allowing space for required bend radius’s for each given cable type. See guideline table below.

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 840 9140 or email us to find out more about our Network Cabling Service