Many installers agree that structured wiring using the home run method is the best solution for networking homes and businesses. It involves using dedicated cable runs from a central panel to each distribution point. But, with so much cabling coming to an end at a central location there is potential for a huge mess of wires!
Efficient cable management is more than keeping things neat – shielded cables can be easily damaged by tight bends. Fiber is even more demanding as bending it past a specific minimum radius will compromise its efficiency.
The most likely place for cable management problems is at the network panel, as often this box will get stuffed with cables entering at sharp angles after being routed through torturous bends.
So, having a panel roomy enough for your present network with enough capacity to accommodate future expansion is essential.
Look for a flush-mount panel that provides a lid that provides a low-profile installation while offering ample installation and storage area. Having multiple side opening knock-outs provides flexibility for cable entry from the various angles necessary to connect to different rooms in a house.
Inside of the enclosure, a universal mounting plate, mounting tape and pushpins, will allow for easy mounting of hardware and fiber accessories in a wide variety of arrangements for flexible fiber management.
Voice and data modules provide centralized and simplified signal distribution and can be attached easily into a telecommunications enclosure. Look for those that offer quick and easy front punch down termination.
Various accessories are available to attach cables at the network panel including, clips, clamps and brackets. Once fastened, remember to label all cabling. This will save you time in the future from test routing by having to check all the cables individually.
Solutions for fiber management
After leaving the panel, all cables through walls and drop ceilings must be adequately supported and routed. They must not be kinked, crushed or rest against any sharp edges – especially problematic in drop ceilings. Installers often use specialized supports that allow adjustment of routing.
Proper termination at wall outlets rather than allowing cables to float freely along baseboards prevents tangles and damage. Multiple outlet wall plates are available as well as slim profile outlet boxes.
Cables from the wall plate to the connected device are also easily managed by attaching to baseboards with staples, clips or cable raceways, a lightweight, easy-to install and aesthetically pleasing cable management solution.
Once all this cabling reaches the home entertainment center the clutter starts up again! Make sure to label all cables, use cable ties to coil up excess wire and cable raceways to hide exposed cables.
A professional approach to cable management will not only keep everything tidy and efficient but protect the expensive and difficult to repair cabling from damage.