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.