Cat6 cable pulling technique

Written by charles w. st.clair
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Cat6 cable pulling technique
Network cables connect computer to one another and to the Internet. (blue red cat5 network cables together image by willem169 from Fotolia.com)

Category 6 cable, also known as Cat6, is capable of achieving high speeds of data transmission, proving useful for networking when large files will be transferred often. Care must be exercised when pulling Cat6 cable to avoid damaging the cable. Whether pulling through walls or pipes, known as conduit, the nuts of bolts of how to pull the cable will vary. However, there are some basic things to remember that will aid in any Cat6 cable pull.

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Purpose

Cable pulling is often necessary to get cable through pipes or inaccessible areas. For example, a hole drilled through the floor allows a cable to disappear into a crawlspace and re-emerge in another room. Alternately, a hole may be drilled in the bottom of a wall, and another hole drilled in the top of the same wall in an adjacent room. The cable must be pulled from one opening to the other to complete the network.

Fish tape

A fish tape is a thin steel or nylon ribbon that is extremely useful for pulling cable through pipes or inaccessible spaces. Fish tapes come in varying lengths, and may be steel or nylon. They all feature a hook at one end, and are retractable into their carrying spool. Nylon is useful if live wires may be encountered during a cable pull, since steel conducts electricity. Fish tapes are inserted through one opening of either conduit or a wall, and because of their rigidity, can be pushed through to another opening. Once through, the end of a fish tape can be attached to the cable so that it might be pulled back through, completing what is known as a cable run. To attach the cable, some of the cable's sheath should be removed and the exposed wires are inserted through the hook at the end of the fish tape and folded over. Electrical tape can be wrapped around the link between the cable and the fish tape many times to ensure that the cable does not come undone from the fish tape during pulling.

Cable lube

If Cat6 cable is being pulled through conduit or around tight corners, cable lube is very useful in reducing friction. Pulling too hard can damage Cat6 cable, cutting down significantly on data transmission speeds.

Warning

Cat6 cable consists of several pairs of braided wires. The braids in the wires aid in data transmission and prevent interference. Creating kinks or knots in the cable can damage the braids, thereby degrading network performance. A good method for unrolling the cable is to hold the spool vertical and unroll it, moving away from the spot where the cable is to be pulled. This is as opposed to laying the spool down horizontally and pulling the wire upward, creating coils in the cable that can kink and bind.

Pulling Tension

Each brand and type of Cat6 cable has a maximum pulling tension, such as 11.3 Kilogram. If this pulling tension is exceeded, the cable will be damaged. To avoid causing this kind of damage, there are two important tips. First, always pull slowly and steadily, with gradually increasing force. Never jerk a cable. Second, if the cable does not seem to budge, go back to the other end and pull back some of the cable. Often, pulling the cable back a couple of inches and then re-pulling can free up the snagged cable.

Pulling through conduit

Cat6 cable cannot be pulled through conduit that contains other types of cable, especially high-voltage electrical cable. Radio interference occurs between network cable and electrical cable. However, often in commercial or industrial settings, a separate type of non-metallic conduit is used for network cable. If such cable exists, consider pulling your cable through these existing pipes if they help you get the cable where you need it.

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