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Windows 7: Network cabling access for new office

16 Jul 2011   #1
James Colbert

 
 
Network cabling access for new office

I'm creating office space for my current business and a transition into a tech service business, which will include taking in computers. I anticipate that I will often realize the need to connect to a network and the internet. I also aniticpate that I will have a few work stations, perhaps more as time goes on.

I have questions for different aspects of this 'venture', but at the moment my questions are regarding roughing in for cabling, jacks, work stations, etc. Nothing complicated, but efficient and versatile.

Given that I'm just starting research on this, I'm not quite sure what would work well under these circumstances or even what the norm is. I've attached a diagram of what might be viable, but am looking for ideas. Thanks for any insights.

-network-cabling.jpg




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16 Jul 2011   #2
Maguscreed

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

If this is a classic office building laying new lan behind the walls is very easy because of the removable panels in the cieling. If not you might find yourself in for a bit more work.
I suggest a switch in place of a router as you would normally use at home. It allows more connections with better bandwidth management. An AP can be plugged directly into the switch for wireless as well.

Do you know who the service provider is going to be?
Because that can be a big thing to consider here too. Many t1 services will come out and do a certain amount of setup for you.
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16 Jul 2011   #3
James Colbert

 
 

Hi Maguscreed. Thanks for your response. THis is actually a gutted space with wood studs, so running cabling, etc. is not a problem. My IP is a large cable provider, to which I am now connected using a modem, wired router, wireless AP and a switch for local NW traffic. I prefer to keep the router in front for the firewall.

My question is not really about topology, but more about the logistics of getting the network access to different areas of the space. In example, is there some type of 'load center' that will accommodate 6-8 cat 5 jacks, or is a multi jack wall plate the best option? What about the diagram? Inefficient?

My requirements aren't initially demanding, but I'm looking for the most efficient way to accomplish access to different areas of the space that will also be versatile to the layout for possible changes in furniture or work station arrangement. It's possible that what I'm asking is to abstract for a comprehensive reply. I'm really just looking for ideas.

Thanks,
James
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16 Jul 2011   #4
Maguscreed

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

The wall mount seems an incredible waste of cabling to me. I don't know what switch you are using but you should be able to get away with a single wall mount point into a very basic router. It can actually be a very cheap model since you already have what I'm assuming is a decent one controlling the firewall at the point of entry. Basically lan cable is pricey these days. I would be looking for ways to avoid using a lot of it if I didn't need too. Basic wired routers are so tiny now you can just hide them on the floor behind a desk.
I'm not entirely sure I'm completely understanding the diagram as you have it there. I don't understand what placement you are planning on using.
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16 Jul 2011   #5
kegobeer

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I would install, at the minimum, a four port cat5e block on each wall. That would give you flexibility when positioning your work benches. I would also install a pass through patch panel (a bit more expensive than a standard 110 punch down version, but so much easier to use - just crimp on the ends and you are done) and terminate all of your cabling there. Install the switch in the same area (I'd get a small free standing server cabinet or a small wall mounted server cabinet), and then you can just run one single cat5e wire to your router. The patch panel will allow you to make direct computer connections without running a single long cable across your floor, allow the ability to make any number of your lan jacks into phone jacks when used with a Leviton 1 to 6 phone splitter (I do this at home, and it's come in handy quite a few times), and probably more options than I can remember right now.

In my opinion, it's best to put as many jacks in the room right now to allow for future expansion later.
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17 Jul 2011   #6
James Colbert

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Maguscreed View Post
The wall mount seems an incredible waste of cabling to me. I don't know what switch you are using but you should be able to get away with a single wall mount point into a very basic router. It can actually be a very cheap model since you already have what I'm assuming is a decent one controlling the firewall at the point of entry. Basically lan cable is pricey these days. I would be looking for ways to avoid using a lot of it if I didn't need too. Basic wired routers are so tiny now you can just hide them on the floor behind a desk.
I'm not entirely sure I'm completely understanding the diagram as you have it there. I don't understand what placement you are planning on using.
Apologies for not being clearer...too many details to handle, I guess. But what I'm really after is a way to minimize cabling running around the perimiter of the space and maximize efficiency, i.e., have an access within convenient reach without having to string cat5 across and behind furniture to gain access.

The problem is that my inexperience leaves me ignorant of what to use and how to employ it, thus the ambiguous posting.

Thanks!
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17 Jul 2011   #7
James Colbert

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kegobeer View Post
I would install, at the minimum, a four port cat5e block on each wall. That would give you flexibility when positioning your work benches. I would also install a pass through patch panel (a bit more expensive than a standard 110 punch down version, but so much easier to use - just crimp on the ends and you are done) and terminate all of your cabling there. Install the switch in the same area (I'd get a small free standing server cabinet or a small wall mounted server cabinet), and then you can just run one single cat5e wire to your router. The patch panel will allow you to make direct computer connections without running a single long cable across your floor, allow the ability to make any number of your lan jacks into phone jacks when used with a Leviton 1 to 6 phone splitter (I do this at home, and it's come in handy quite a few times), and probably more options than I can remember right now.

In my opinion, it's best to put as many jacks in the room right now to allow for future expansion later.
Hi Kegobeer. Your suggestions seem to be exactly what I'm after, and indeed, with the walls open, now is the time! Can you suggest sites where these items would be available, and if you know of one, a site(s) that provides information and perhaps examples of their use (tutorials, etc.)? Thanks for your clarity.

James
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17 Jul 2011   #8
kegobeer

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

You can buy cat5e bulk cable, crimpers, single gang boxes, four port keystone face plates, and cat5e connectors (crimp on and punch down for the keystone panels) from Home Depot, Lowes, or online (just google for cat5e bulk). Google for server racks to find something that meets your needs, but be prepared for a bit of sticker shock, because server cabinets are definitely not cheap. StayOnline makes affordable pass through patch panels, found here: StayOnline.com: Feed-Thru Patch Panels

If you need a guide on how to crimp cables, etc, I'd just google for cat5e wiring. You should find something that will help. I've never bought a guide, I've always just done some research for what I need. I've been doing this kind of stuff for about 10 years now, so most of my knowledge is hands-on/OJT/trial and error.
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17 Jul 2011   #9
James Colbert

 
 

Thanks, KoB. That does help. The fact that I'm not exactly sure what my needs are muddies the waters somewhat, but your responses have given me initial direction. The crimping won't be an issue, but by googling some of the terms and ideas you'vew mentioned, I've run across some good sites. For now, I'm concerning myself with the rough-in requirements before sheetrocking. I guess basically, that will involve the gang boxes, faceplates and cabling (I have a 250' roll of CAT5e, connectore and crimping tool already).

I don't guess patch panels or server racks will be an issue at the moment, and likely something I'll grow into.

That said, any subsequent opinions, comments, links or suggestions from all are welcome.

I've kept a small scale network (several machines, router, 8 port switch, AP) to accomodate my business and home machines (business is operated out of house), but I anticipate that my needs for this new space will expand beyond my current level of expertise.

Thanks,
James
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17 Jul 2011   #10
profdlp

Main - Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-Bit; 2nd - Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

If you're renting, this is not a big deal, but if you are in a more or less permanent location you might consider running conduit between the wall boxes. This would allow you to easily fish additional cables from point to point, or replace it entirely when the "next great thing" in technology becomes available. I know lots of people who wired their home with 300-Ohm TV cable who were kicking themselves once 75-Ohm coax became the standard.
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