5 Common network cabling problems

5 Common network cabling problems

As with many business technologies, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to small- and medium-sized businesses’ (SMBs) networking needs. However, there is one thing that holds true for all networking infrastructures: A highly efficient, well-functioning network relies on a well-structured cabling system.

If your SMB has been experiencing slow internet connections or total connectivity loss, bringing your business to a grinding halt, you may have improper cabling to thank. And since network issues are some of the biggest productivity killers in any organization, it’s a no-brainer that you should partner with a reliable managed services provider (MSP) to handle your structured cabling problems, which includes the following:

Your cabling does not meet standards

Your network’s cabling must meet the performance standards set by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Most manufacturers meet these requirements, but there are some that exceed minimum standards, providing consumers with cabling that can support their bandwidth needs for years.

Your network’s inefficiency may be caused by cables that don’t comply with the latest EIA/TIA standards. If your cables aren’t Category 6 and 6A (Cat 6 and 6A), which have been increasingly used in recent years, then that’s probably why your network is underperforming. Cat 6 cables can support bandwidths of up to 250 megahertz (Mhz), while Cat 6A can support up to 500 MHz.

Additionally, it may be that your cables are made of copper clad aluminum (CCA) rather than solid copper. While definitely cheaper, CCA cables are not compliant with EIA/TIA standards. They also oxidize and corrode easily, which causes failed terminations that lead to connectivity issues.

Your cabling is outdated

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that old cables, particularly your backbone cable, can cause network problems. The backbone cable connects your network to the internet, bringing in signals from your internet service provider to all users on your network. If it’s been five or more years since it was installed, it most likely doesn’t meet current bandwidth standards, causing bottlenecks and sluggishness. And if you have a lot of users, or if they access bandwidth-heavy apps or websites, these problems may be exacerbated and lead to complete downtime.

The cables and connectors are not compatible

Using different components from different manufacturers may cause compatibility issues that are sure to affect your network’s performance. This is especially true if they weren’t designed and manufactured to work with one another. You may also experience glitches in your network if you use cables and connectors with different performance levels. Even the highest-quality cables can’t deliver the performance level it promises if the plugs and jacks they’re connected with can’t support them.

The patch cords are of poor quality

Many SMBs operate on tight budgets and are always looking for ways to save a buck. But patch cords for your network aren’t something to skimp on. Just like copper clad aluminum cables, cheap patch cords can save you money, but they may not be manufactured according to EIA/TIA standards and cause performance problems down the road. Repairing or replacing them also costs a lot, so you may end up spending more money than if you’ve had high-quality patch cords installed in the first place.

The cables are not properly installed

Improper installation, whether it’s due to your IT guy’s lack of training or an honest mistake, can result in even more expensive, time-consuming network reliability issues in the long run. One common installation mistake to look out for is running data cables parallel to electrical wiring. The magnetic field generated in electric wiring can interrupt the signals in data cables, crippling network performance.

Proper cabling is key to a reliable, efficient network. Nye Technical Services (NTS) will provide you with the comprehensive cabling services and networking solutions you need to achieve just that. Since 2009, NTS has been trusted by SMBs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York to provide top-of-the-line cabling and networking services at affordable rates. Talk to our experts at NTS and see how we can work together.

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