30 July 2008

Home networking basic tools - Part 3

Okay, now you got your cable and crimping tools ready, you also know the tools you need to run the cables inside your walls, then all that you need to have for your home networking tools is cable tie.

What?!? why would I need cable ties. Yes you don't actually need cable ties to do home networking, but you do need them to make your cabling neat.

Making your cables neat

If you're running a whole lot of bundles of cables in your home, cable ties definitely things of your choice to neat your cabling work.

What people usually use are these following types of cable ties:

The one on the left is the velcro cable type, and the next one made of plastic or something (well, kinda plastic-like material)

You can use any one of those two, the difference I may say is the velcro is definitely more expensive than the plastic cable ties.

And also, the velcro cable ties are usually preferred for managing sensitive cables such as fiber optics cables. It's because the velcro type ties are not giving too much pressure on the cables, which is very important for cables like fiber optics.

The picture on the right shows you the velcro cable tie used to manage a bundle of fiber optics patch cords/cables.

Yup, they're all orange, good for the eyes, I mean if you're long enough working on network installation, at some points you'd be very very sick just seeing a LOADS of grey UTP cables. Ah yes, UTP cables do come in various colors nowadays.

Sometimes if you use plastic cable ties, you know when you got too excited, you might tied the cables too tight which maybe cause some cables cut in the middle.

This happened to me once, I was sure I crimped the cables right and it took me quite a while just to figure out that my tie was causing the problem.

Thanks to the Fluke Meter I had, I could know that some cables are cut at the point I tied using cable tie.

I hope this is informative for you, and I'd like to thank you for viewing.

Read more!

29 July 2008

Home networking basic tools - part 2

Running your cables inside walls, that's what I wanted to title this post but since I want to make these posts related, oh so be it.

So you have your basic networking tools for crimping ready, now you're thinking you don't want the cables to be crossing around everywhere in your living room.

You can hide your cables by running the cables on the ceiling then go into the walls and eventually pop-out on the walls.

You can use the following toolkits:

From left to right:

Modular Jack

Instead of RJ45, you should terminate the UTP with modular jacks if you want to run your cables in walls. These jacks can then act just like your phone connection on the wall.

They come in various of colors, and cost probably about US$ 3 or less.

Wall Faceplate

 From the modular jack, you can put them in these faceplates. The faceplate holds still the modular jack on the wall. Then you can screw the faceplate to the wall.

Punch Tool

Different from the RJ45, you use different tool to terminate UTP cable to the modular jack. You can use punch tool (US$ 45 or less) to punch each cable in the UTP to the jack. The jack has the color code printed and usually different between vendors so no need to worry getting the wrong cable terminated to wrong place.

In practice actually you can use just about anything to punch down the cables to the jack - your fingers, scissors, etc but do be careful not  to scratch the cables - then cut the excessive cables to prevent crosstalk.

Lucky, some vendors produce jacks that don't need to be punched, they cost more though.

There you have it if you have more time and energy, you can run your cables inside the walls.

The main problem is it should be hard if you if you don't have extra holes in your walls and usually they run pipes/conduits to get the cables from the ceiling to the walls.

You can always use these cable raceways:

These raceways can be planted on the walls, nice and neat but cost quite much per meter.

Read more!

28 July 2008

Home networking basic tools - part 1

I want to show you how easy it is to set up your own home networking, you don't need an expert to do this work.

First let me show you all the basic tools needed to do this.

Cables and crimping tools

 From left to right, you can see in the picture:

UTP Cable

UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) is the widely used cable for networking,  you can use other cables though but UTP and the networking cards are easier to get and configure.

UTP is basically 4 pairs of cables (8 cables) with different colors to identify them, twisted together to prevent the crosstalk or interference when transmitting signals.

The picture is the type of cable if you buy in bulk, it contains 305m or 1000feet of cable, you can also buy them per meter.

Currently there are Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6 cables. What differentiate them are the bandwidth that they can deliver.

Typical cat5 cable can deliver about 100mbps.

The Cat5e is an enhanced version of the cat5 cable, they can deliver up to 1000mbps, but most I've seen can't reach 1000mbps speed, the cables cost less than US$85.

Cat6 cable able to deliver 1000mbps and up, these are new cables and cost more than US$100 per box (305m).

The networking people (EIA/TIA) are now designing for the Cat6a and Cat7 cables but they won't release it in the near future.

I would recommend using the Cat5e but if you can afford it, use the Cat6 cable.


This is the connector that you put on the ends of the cable, there are 8 pins each connected to each cable in the UTP.

There is a standard that you must apply for terminating the UTP cable to RJ45. I'll post later for how to work this out.

You can buy a pack of them, 50 pieces with about $15 or less.

Crimping Tool

With this tool you can crimp - this is the term for terminating - the UTP cable to RJ45 connector. Usually they provide the stripping tool along or built-in the crimping tool. Stripping tool allow you to strip the cable's jacket. They cost about US$30 or less, but you can find the cheaper one only for US$10.

I want to include NIC or Network Interface Card in this list but nowadays the pcs or laptops usually have built-in NIC or even wireless card. The NIC is where you connect the UTP cable (which has been crimped with RJ45) from the computer to switch/router.

Hope this is useful for you, thank you.

Read more!

25 July 2008

Structured Cabling System

Back in the old days of networking newbie, I didn't even care about networking. What's so interesting about it. Just a bunch of cables connected from the computers to switches or routers/modems voila you get internet.

Few years later, come to my notice that networking is far far more interesting than I had imagined. By the way this story is going somewhere if you wonder.

Networking (in physical) is more than I said before, there are lots of in between the things I mentioned. Switches and routers should be enough for home or SOHO usage, but when it comes to enterprise, lots of new networking "creatures" would pop-out.

All these creatures combined and managed well can be called Structured Cabling System (SCS).

What SCS basically means is the systematic ways or you can say standards for network cabling and telecommunication rooms. These standards issued by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), and other standards organization.

Typically you can see telecommunication rooms in a building divided into three main parts:

1. MDF (Main Distribution Frame) or can also be called MC (Main Cross-connect)

MDF is where all of the backbone cables gather, there should be usually 1 MDF in a building, you can see the picture one of the rack used in an MDF.

This is where the big kick ass routers and core switches located. There are also 110 blocks/66 blocks use for UTP cables connectivity for data or voice (phone). Yes, you can also use UTP cables for phones. In fact, you can use them to connect about anything, computers, telephones, speaker attenuators (controllers), alarms, etc. What UTP cable we usually use, 4 pairs? guess what they also produce 25 paris or more (up to 500 pairs), which means in one cable you can have 25 or more pairs of cables!!! heavy, I'm telling you.

In MDF, if you use fiber optics for backbone, you should have Fiber Distribution Frame.

From MDF, you connect to a Demarcation Point, used for connectivity to the outside world, this is where the line ends between your responsibility as a network engineer with the service provider.

2. IDF (Intermediate Distribution Frame) or IC (Intermediate Cross-connect)

Usually you would have one or more IDF in each floor in a building. Here the connection from the MDF terminated, or should I say where the backbone cables end. Then from IDF you would connect to the end users.

The IDF is more or less similar to the MDF, but with a smaller scale, only about a couple of meters square room.

This is where the smaller switches located, then you connect the patch cables from the switch to patch panels or 110/66 blocks. Patch panels and 110/66 blocks are equipments where you terminate the cables. Then from the patch panels you connect cables directly to the work area of end users.

3. Work Area

Now this is where the cables end, this is whre the place where end users located. The end users shouldn't care about how complicate the cables that connect their computers to the network.

The cables from the IDF are spread to the modular jack wall plates, you can use UTP cables or even fiber optics.

This is just a scratch on the surface of networking world, it may seems complicated but believe me, if you are in to it, it should not be that hard.

Read more!

Introducing Networking Newbie

Hi there,

This is my first time to write to a blog. Haven't had enough time to write in the previous time due to all the works I had. But now, I am a business owner (well, currently a small business that is) which should give me enough time to share in this blog.

Well, enough said about myself, next step I will regularly write some experiences, articles or how-to on computer networking and internet.

Why Networking newbie you ask? I know the feeling some of you out there willing to learn new things but OMG, we don't even understand a single word experts are saying. So, I want to make this blog as easy as it can get.

So, thats basically telling that I am a newbie too? well, not exactly, i might be not a super expert but I do know a bit things.

I recently got my CCNA, oooh, what a nice card the guys from Cisco sent me, they even allowed me to use the CCNA logo.

Oh, I'm also in to something called SEO, you all probably have heard something about this before. A great thing I'm telling you.

One last thing I want to tell you, I previously hated networking, marketing and in some cases even blogging, honestly I never had a good mark on any of them. Now look at me blogging about all these darn things, I even make a living from them. What I want to say is that things haunted us in the past might coming back to us again, and one way or another we have to accept those things.

Hope you enjoy reading this blog and if you ever feel down on something, don't give up, if you do, you might not be succeed in anything.

Read more!