To sheild or not to sheild? (CAT Cable)

Looking Out

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How many of you selected shielded wire for your installations?

I have a pretty typical installation I think but I will need to run many of my cables near some 120V power lines to get to different levels of the home.

Does anybody install shielded connectors or is just the shielding on the wire enough?
 

Mike A.

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Very unlikely you need shielded just for that. Unless maybe you're right against power for an extended run. Which you shouldn't be anyway. Near or crossing at various points won't cause a problem.
 

TonyR

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I have a pretty typical installation I think but I will need to run many of my cables near some 120V power lines to get to different levels of the home.
I suggest that if you must cross a AC line do so at a right angle and avoid running parallel to one closer than 3 feet.

I do use shielded cable and shielded RJ-45 connectors when installing Ubiquiti radios outdoors; it's in compliance with the terms of their warranty.
 

mat200

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How many of you selected shielded wire for your installations?

I have a pretty typical installation I think but I will need to run many of my cables near some 120V power lines to get to different levels of the home.

Does anybody install shielded connectors or is just the shielding on the wire enough?
Hi @Looking Out

120v power lines and Cat5e/6 .. how close are you getting?
 

Looking Out

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@mat200 I am using a chimney chase from an attic through 1 floor so probaly 10 feet of height within 8-12 inches running paralell. This would be for ~4-5 runs.
 

mat200

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@mat200 I am using a chimney chase from an attic through 1 floor so probaly 10 feet of height within 8-12 inches running paralell. This would be for ~4-5 runs.
HI @Looking Out

Perhaps running them in a 3/4" EMT conduit would give you plenty of protection from the 120v lines ..

That's probably what I would do .. if < 12" .. normally I try to get 12" or more between parallel runs and that has worked for me for normal cat5e/6 .. ( worked for me is key here .. as ymmv )
 

tangent

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@mat200 I am using a chimney chase from an attic through 1 floor so probaly 10 feet of height within 8-12 inches running paralell. This would be for ~4-5 runs.
You should be fine running UTP without doing anything special. Just keep then as far from the AC lines as you can without doing anything heroic.
 

rfj

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I am not a networking person but from all my research before remodeling our home the majority of people said to stay with unshielded for security cameras (long story so I just keep it at this). So all of our security cameras are using unshielded cables. All the cables for the Ethernet ports in the house use shielded cable. The former are green cables and the later yellow cables so I can easily distinguish them. The shielded ones were bonded which is kind of a pain in the butt (the pairs are hard to separate). As someone before said, if you cross AC lines try to go at 90 degrees.
 

mat200

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You should be fine running UTP without doing anything special. Just keep then as far from the AC lines as you can without doing anything heroic.
Hi @tangent

Can't always do that .. sometimes you have to run the cat5e/cat6 next to a section of romex .. ( of course, if I built the home myself it would be a different story .. )

example:
Had to run a section next to romex 15/20amp for about 4 feet once ..
 

tangent

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Hi @tangent

Can't always do that .. sometimes you have to run the cat5e/cat6 next to a section of romex .. ( of course, if I built the home myself it would be a different story .. )

example:
Had to run a section next to romex 15/20amp for about 4 feet once ..
Obviously. The key is simply to keep data lines as far as you can from AC power within reason. Preferably always at least 1" away. 2" away is 4 times better than 1", 3" away is 9 times better...
Not all AC power lines are created equal, some like circuits with dimmers can be extremely noisy.

A lot of cameras could operate fine linking at 10mbps. You'd be amazed at some of the terrible conditions than can still support a 10mbps link so long as the cable is actually twisted pair. It's not as if most cameras need 1gbps+.
 
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Teken

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Let's throw out some basics and some consideration as it relates to using shielded cable. Shielded cable is deployed where there is high interference whether it be form RFI / EMI. It is also used where induced EMF voltage (lightning) is present like Lightning Alley.

To properly use and deploy shielded ethernet cable EVERYTHING must be shielded and properly bonded to a single point Earth ground. The Ethernet cable is shielded, the RJ45 jack, the RJ45 coupler on the patch panel, the switch, the server cabinet / rack.

Everything must be tied together to a single point earth grounding system . . . :thumb:

You install just the cable with nothing else all you have is very expensive cable with zero protection against lightning. :facepalm: You go through the entire process of using shielded components yet nothing is tied to a single point earth grounding bar that's bonded to the electrical service panel - You are literally wasting your time & money. :rolleyes:

On the other extreme you see cow boys that install grounding rods with no care or understanding that the same must be tied back to the home / business single point Earth ground.

All you get is ground loops and a huge potential of blowing things up . . .

As others noted spacing of the cable is one cheap and free way (should be common sense) and applied no matter if its shielded or not to reduce the amount of RFI / EMI. Even when all of the above is done properly this does not negate the fact and need for a tiered SPD system in place.

Surge Protective Devices (TVSS) provide 24.7.365 protection against Dirty Power. No amount of grounding will provide any protection against a voltage swing: Voltage Rise, Voltage Sag, Creeping Voltage, or Frequency Drift.

All four SPD Types from 1 ~4 should be used where it make sense . . .

Type 1: Service Entrance (Meter)
Type 2: Service Panel (Breaker)
Type 3: Point of Use (Outlets)
Type 4: Inline prior to device

All four SPD / TVSS Types provide a tiered level of protection to either absorb, shunt, the voltage rise. Keep in mind in the Type 3 Point of Use devices this encompasses such hardware like surge bars, AVR, UPS, and Isolated PSU's. A standard Type 3 SPD (Power Bar) will NOT provide any protection against a creeping slow voltage rise!

Only a AVR / UPS will provide such protection for a swing in line voltage . . .

Even than, the level of protection depends upon how much money you have invested in the same. As cheaper hardware as is Type 3 SPD's have extremely high let through.

One of the most important things anyone can every do is Plan and purchase hardware that is multi voltage / multi frequency. Any device that supports 50/60 Hz 100 ~ 277 VAC will provide you decades of service. As they are designed to operate well within the normal power levels seen in North America. If there's a brown out (Voltage Sag) it won't matter because that device will not smoke because it was designed to operate in a low voltage state.

When a creeping voltage (exceeds 130 VAC) is present it too will be fine because that 100 ~ 277 VAC device will easily operate in that range because it was designed from the onset to do so!

Lastly, if you live in an extremely dry arid climate don't assume you have proper Earth grounding.
 
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in other words... don't bother with shielded cabling for interior work.
we slap in shielded network cable when we are near 3phase 480v machinery and when lightning protection for underground/overhead lines are run.
 

Teken

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in other words... don't bother with shielded cabling for interior work.
we slap in shielded network cable when we are near 3phase 480v machinery and when lightning protection for underground/overhead lines are run.
To be clear, the use of shielded ethernet cable is generally used where the environment has proven to be very Dirty with RFI / EMI. The use of shielded cable is used in 10GB network as this negates typical transmission speed / data errors. Given the adoption and huge drop in price of fiber optics. RFI / EMI is vastly reduced or something to worry about over extremely long distances using such cable medium.

The problem with fiber optics is the lack of POE support and the need for a media converter . . .

Regardless of all the above if people want to spend more on cable to Future Proof their homes - go for it! :thumb:

This time 5~10 years ago people would have just burst out laughing at the so called Common Man. Using Enterprise hardware in their homes never mind running fiber. Nobody is laughing now, as its more common given the huge drop in price on accessories (cable / media converter) and POE hardware.

I don't care what people use as a reference from Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, whatever . . . It's dirt cheap to buy fiber media from switches, cable, transceivers, to tools!
 
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To be clear, the use of shielded ethernet cable is generally used where the environment has proven to be very Dirty with RFI / EMI. The use of shielded cable is used in 10GB network as this negates typical transmission speed / data errors. Given the adoption and huge drop in price of fiber optics. RFI / EMI is vastly reduced or something to worry about over extremely long distances using such cable medium.

The problem with fiber optics is the lack of POE support and the need for a media converter . . .

Regardless of all the above if people want to spend more on cable to Future Proof their homes - go for it! :thumb:

This time 5~10 years ago people would have just burst out laughing at the so called Common Man. Using Enterprise hardware in their homes never mind running fiber. Nobody is laughing now, as its more common given the huge drop in price on accessories (cable / media converter) and POE hardware.

I don't care what people use as a reference from Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, whatever . . . It's dirt cheap to buy fiber media from switches, cable, transceivers, to tools!
True. When someone wants a shielded cable copper run to somewhere, we tell them that fiber would be the better solution. But sometimes the application requires copper (point to point dish, or outdoor POE camera on 40' roof structure). That is when we do the shielded copper.
 

mat200

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Obviously. The key is simply to keep data lines as far as you can from AC power within reason. Preferably always at least 1" away. 2" away is 4 times better than 1", 3" away is 9 times better...
Not all AC power lines are created equal, some like circuits with dimmers can be extremely noisy.

A lot of cameras could operate fine linking at 10mbps. You'd be amazed at some of the terrible conditions than can still support a 10mbps link so long as the cable is actually twisted pair. It's not as if most cameras need 1gbps+.
I have found light ballasts and motors to be very problematic - so far 12" is my personal preferred measure for UTP cat5e/6 from electrical lines ..

I have seen references recommending 8-16" as the recommended distance of UTP Cat5e/6 away from a home power line

Example:

  • When running unshielded communications cable parallel to typical residential voltage power cables (120V or 240V for example), the NEC (National Electric Code) specifies it must be separated by at least 200mm or 8 inches.


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rfj

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It's too late for us now to run fiber but doesn't that add a lot of cost? Fiber cable might not be expensive. However, your regular (residential) router has an Ethernet output feeding into Ethernet patch panels and Ethernet switch. So you would need a direct fiber from your modem and then some kind of fiber switch and fiber patch panel. Also you probably still want the outlet on the wall to be Ethernet. So you have to somehow put a fiber to Ethernet converter behind the wall outlet. That converter probably needs a 5V or 12V power supply. So then you need to run a 110V cable to where the Ethernet port is and add a 110VAC to 5VDC converter. I must be missing something but that sounds expensive. As I said, I am not a networking guy and there might be easy solutions for this.

As for shielded Ethernet cables, maybe we will never need it but I figured if you have the wall downs you want to "future-proof" it. So for our "regular" Ethernet ports we used shielded cable (had to redo the patch-panel because the networking guy didn't ground it) while for the cams we used unshielded cable. All of them were Belden cables which are not cheap but cutting walls later on will be a lot more expensive. Maybe I should have put those fiber cables in just in case... Water under the bridge...
 
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There are switches with fiber ports or, alternately a media converter. Just make sure they all use the same style connectors. Yes, fiber is more expensive but it also has far more capacity and provides electrical isolation which can be critical. Don't discount differences in ground potential between buildings even on the same electrical system. It only takes a little bit to cook things at the worst possible moment. There's a saying from @looney2ns "Pay once, cry once."
 
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