GS Contract
GSA Contract #GS-35F-0432M

FAQ - Structured Cabling Systems

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(We wish to thank Unicom for their contributions.)


  1. What is the difference between Category 3 and 5e cabling?
  2. What type of copper cable should be used when connecting Fast Ethernet networks?
  3. What does UTP and STP mean?
  4. What is a crossover cable?
  5. Can I use telephone patch cords to connect a LAN?
  6. Do I need a special tool when working with 110-Type patch panels and jacks?
  7. Do I need a hub if using coaxial cable on a LAN?
  8. What is Crosstalk?
  9. What is difference between a "Channel" and a "Link"?
  10. What effect does workmanship and equipment have upon cabling performance?
  11. Why should I test the cable immediately after pull-in?


What is the difference between Category 3 and 5e cabling?
Category 3 is specified up to 10 Mbps at 16 MHz and is typically used for voice and slower data applications. Category 5e is faster, specified up to 1000Mbps at 100 MHz. Typically used for high speed data transmission, Category 5e is also acceptable for voice applications. Category 5e can be used with 10Base-T, 100Base-T and Gigabit Ethernet networks.


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What type of copper cable should be used when connecting Fast Ethernet networks?
For 100Base-TX or 100Mbps networking, UNICOM recommends Category 5e cable.


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What does UTP and STP mean?
UTP stands for Unshielded Twisted Pairs and STP stands for Shielded Twisted Pair.


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What is a crossover cable?
A crossover cable is a 2-pair cable that crosses over pins 1,2/3,6. This cable is normally used to connect 2 computers directly or cascade 2 hubs without the use of an uplink port.


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Can I use telephone patch cords to connect a LAN?
Using telephone cords to connect a LAN is not recommended. Telephone cords are designed to work with low speed applications such as voice transmission.


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Do I need a special tool when working with 110-Type patch panels and jacks?
Yes, you need to use a 110-Type impact tool in order to properly terminate your connections.


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Do I need a hub if using coaxial cable on a LAN?
No, a hub is not needed when you are using coaxial cable. You can directly connect each computer by using coaxial cable but you must put terminators on each end of the cable.


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What is Crosstalk?
Crosstalk is the unwanted introduction of signals from one channel or pair to another.


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What is difference between a "Channel" and a "Link"?
These terms describe two Category certification tests. These tests differ in how much of a horizontal cabling run is included for testing. The basic difference is that a link includes only the permanent part of the cable run, while a channel includes patching and/or equipment cords as well.


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What effect does workmanship and equipment have upon cabling performance?
One reason why channel and link tests have evolved has to do with the quality of the workmanship and materials. Channel performance is greatly affected by cable characteristics, connecting hardware, patch cords and cross-connect wiring, as well as the total number of connections and the care with which they are installed and maintained. You can go a long way toward preserving performance by simply choosing good quality components and installing them with care and proper techniques.


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Why should I test the cable immediately after pull-in?
This simplifies subsequent troubleshooting. By testing the system at this point, should a problem arise after the equipment is installed, the cabling system can be ruled out as a probable cause.


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