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Low Voltage Wiring
 


 

It has been recognized by Farious Net Solutions that there are a few physical-layer network designs that we encounter over and over during wiring installations. We have outlined them below along with descriptions so that you can determine which best fits your wiring needs.

Design #1 - Single switch (or hub) and concentrator topology

Hub or switch
Short patch cables
Patch panel
Cabling
Wall plates with insert jacks
Longer patch cables
Computers or other client devices

The single switch and concentrator topology is used in smaller office (usually with 24 jack locations or less) where every jack location can be reached with a wire running directly from the home (concentrator) location. Efficiency of this network is very high if a switch is used for Item #1. The network consists of the following items:

  1. A hub or switch with at least as many ports as you have jacks on the walls. Note that if you have 24 locations where you are bringing your network, and two jacks at each location you need at least a 48 port switch. Usually, at least two ports are left open which are then utilized for a server and an Internet router located near the switch. These usually are not connected via the patch panel (Item #3) but wired with a longer patch cable (Item #6) directly into the switch, as they reside physically close to the hub or switch.
  2. Short patch cables (usually 3 feet long) connect the hub or switch (Item #1) to the patch panel (Item #3). These cables are usually constructed of stranded wire and are make rearranging the topology of the network or removing a trouble connection easy.
  3. A patch panel is installed which takes the raw wire (Item #4) going out to the jacks and turns it into an RJ-45 or similar connector. RJ-45 connectors are the standard for Ethernet connections and are on both ends of the patch cables (Item #2).
  4. Cat 5e (or, when ratified, Cat6) cable is run out to the jacks with one wire devoted to each jack. In the diagram above, each black line would represent four distinct wires because each wall plate (Item #5) has four jacks in it.
  5. Wall plates with insert jacks are terminated on the other end of the cabling (Item #4). The inserts are RJ-45 and provide a convenient way to connect equipment to your network.
  6. Longer patch cables (typically on the order of 5 to 35 feet) are used to connect your computers or other client devices (Item #7) to the wall plates with insert jacks (Item #5).
  7. Computer or other client devices reside at the edges of your network and communicate with each other over your network.

 

Design #2 - Main switch with sub-switch topology

The main switch with sub-switch topology is used in smaller offices (usually with 24 jack locations or less) which has a difficult-to-reach location that needs a number of client devices or computers. Examples of this include a business with a main office space on the first floor of a building and a single room in a concrete-walled basement that also has computers in it. The advantage of this topology is that only one wire (Item #4) needs to be run between the main patch panel and the sub-patch panel (Item #9). The network consists of the following items:

  1. A hub or switch with at least as many ports as you have jacks on the walls. Note that if you have 24 locations where you are bringing your network, and two jacks at each location you need at least a 48 port switch. In this network topology, at least one port needs to be left open in order to connect to the sub-patch panel (Item #9).
  2. Short patch cables (usually 3 feet long) connect the hub or switch (Item #1) to the patch panel (Item #3). These cables are usually constructed of stranded wire and are make rearranging the topology of the network or removing a trouble connection easy.
  3. A patch panel is installed which takes the raw wire (Items #4 and #5) going out to the jacks and sub-patch panel and turns it into an RJ-45 or similar connector. RJ-45 connectors are the standard for Ethernet connections and are on both ends of the patch cables (Item #2).
  4. Cat 5e (or, when ratified, Cat6) cable is run out to the jacks with one wire devoted to each jack. If the sub-network below the sub-patch panel (Item #9) is going to be used intensively, uplink jacks may be used which run at 1Gbps in the case of a 10/100Gbps switch or 10Gbps (fiber) in the case of a 1Gbps switch.
  5. Cat 5e (or, when ratified, Cat6) cable is run out to the jacks with one wire devoted to each jack. In the diagram above, each black line would represent four distinct wires because each wall plate (Item #6) has four jacks in it.
  6. Wall plates with insert jacks are terminated on the other end of the cabling (Item #5). The inserts are RJ-45 and provide a convenient way to connect equipment to your network.
  7. Longer patch cables (typically on the order of 5 to 35 feet) are used to connect your computers or other client devices (Item #7) to the wall plates with insert jacks (Item #5).
  8. Computer or other client devices reside at the edges of your network and communicate with each other over your network.
  9. A small patch panel is installed in your network and its port 1 is connected to the main patch panel (Item #3) in your network.
  10. A small switch or hub (usually 8 or 16 ports) is connected to the small patch panel (Item #9) via short patch cables (3 feet long).
  11. Cat 5e (or, when ratified, Cat6) cable is run out to the jacks with one wire devoted to each jack. In the diagram above, each black line would represent four distinct wires because each wall plate (Item #6) has four jacks in it. This wire is identical in to that marked Item #5.