Data Cable Installation & Tricks

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Data Cable Installation & Tricks
Data cable connects computers and other hardware in home computer networks. (network connection image by stresskiller from Fotolia.com)

Installing data cable and setting up a home network allows you to share an Internet connection, printers, external hard disk drives, and other devices with two or more computers. Data cable, more technically known as Ethernet cable, is one method used to set up a home network. Home networks are called local area networks (LAN) because they cover a small (local) area. Some of the problems and frustrations in setting up and managing your home LAN can be avoided and solved with a few simple tips and tricks when installing the data cable.

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Purchase a Bundled Home Network Kit

Purchase a kit to install your home network. These kits contain the hardware you need to set up your home network, including the network interface cards (NICs allow computers and devices to communicate with each other), the hub (the main connecting point) and set-up how to guide. You just have to purchase the length of the data cable that you need for your home.

Use the Correct Type of Data Cable

Choose the right type of Ethernet cable for your network. Types of data cable that can be used to install a home network include 10baseT and 10base2. With a maximum speed of 10 Megabites per second (10Mbps), 10baseT is the fastest, while 10base2 has a maximum speed of 100Mbps.

You can install a 10baseT data cable up to 328 feet (100 meters) long and expect it to perform well. The maximum length of 10Base2 is 600 feet. If you only need to install a shorter data cable, choose the 10baseT Ethernet type. If you have a large house to network, choose 10base2 Ethernet cable.

Measure the Distance You Want to Install Data Cable

Measure twice; purchase enough once. You need to know how long each cable should be for each part of your network before you purchase Ethernet cable. This avoids having to go back to the store for more, or wasting money by ending up with far more cable than you need. Add a bit on for a margin of error.

Data Cable Installation & Tricks
Measuring before you purchase your data cable will prevent you from having to go back to the store. (measure image by Stanisa Martinovic from Fotolia.com)

Draw a Diagram of Your Network

Draw a diagram of your network before you purchase and install Ethernet to set up your home LAN. This tip applies to both new networks and existing networks that you are adding to. Include the measurement of each length of data cable. Don't forget to write down the units---feet, inches, meters, centimetres---that you measured in. Label all the hardware in your network. Include labels for the types and categories of Ethernet cable that you need to install.  

Use the Right Category of Ethernet Cable

Determine which type of data cable you need for each part of your network. There are two types of Ethernet cables: solid and braided. Use solid data cable for long lengths of cable---for purposes such as running data cable between two rooms, across a large room or between floors in your house. Braided Ethernet cable is more flexible, and should be used for running between hardware that is close together, like your computer, printer, hub and NIC that is all on or around one desk.

Use a Cable Organizer Kit

Cable organiser kits help keep your data cables and other cables from becoming a tangled mess. Though the contents vary from kit to kit, they can include colour-coded hook and loop fasteners to secure cables together, flexible tubes that you run cable through, and other useful items. You can pick them up from computer stores, and even some department stores.

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