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Networking tools suggestions and cables?

post #1 of 3
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So I'm going to be running some new Ethernet cables through the house and was wondering what are some affordable tools?
I have crimpers, but I am also looking into getting cable testing tool and a punch down tool.
Anyone know any that are good and affordable?
Also, I will be putting in cat6a cable, and was wondering if a patch panel is needed or if crimping one end and connecting directly to a switch is good enough?
If a patch panel is needed, or recommended, does a cat6 patch panel work with the cact6a cable? Also which make/brand is good(will only need 8 ports max)?
I cant seem to find cat6a patch panels.
One last thing, can anyone recommend where to get about 200-250ft of cat6a cable?
Currently looking at this one http://www.amazon.com/Micro-Connectors-100-Meter-Augmented-10GbE/dp/B000KI8Q2Q
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post #2 of 3
You don't HAVE to use a patch panel, although it usually makes the most sense if you're aggregating all of your wiring into one location. You'll still need the punchdown tool for making wall plates/keystone jacks.

If you're doing everything Cat6a then make sure you use the same rating for panels and jacks, which are significantly more expensive. You may be able to run 10 Gbps over standard Cat6 anyway depending on how long your runs are going to be.

Decent cable testing tools are pretty expensive ( a few hundred bucks for anything worthwhile ). Some of the cheap chinese ones can do wire map but that's about it. If you have a switch with a TDR component to it you can even test the cabling from there once hosts are connected.
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post #3 of 3
At a minimum, you're going to need RJ-45 crimpers, RJ-45 connectors, UTP cable (of course), wire cutters/strippers, punch-down tool, a knife, fish tape (or something comparable) and wall jacks (of course). Nice things to have: actual cable tester and a fox & hound (tone generator and probe) for when you inevitably lose track of knowing which cable goes where.

I'd recommend using a patch panel to keep things tidy. There are passthough/feedthrough patch panels if you don't want to deal with the hassle of punching all those leads down. You can get by without one, but I'm a network nerd. Of course, I'd recommend such a thing.

As for connectors and jacks, you should not need anything rated "Cat6" for home use unless you are planning on doing some long runs and actually running at full 10Gbps speeds.

EDIT

Pro-Tips:
  • Whenever possible run your cables perpendicular to power cables. If you have to run power and data cables in parallel, try to maintain 3 to 6 inches of separation.
  • Do not exceed the 1'' minimum bend radius for the cable. Otherwise you will kink it and risk damaging the cable and suffering degraded performance (or no performance).

Edited by felladium - 10/28/15 at 3:14pm
 
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