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mfleming 10-30-2008 10:04 AM

Protect Cat6 cable near AC Power Cable?

I'm in the process of renovating my basement and I'm putting in Cat6 for my 10+ computer GIG network. I currently have Plenum solid cable and Standard cable, and I don't have any shielded cable. I have spots where the cat6 cable runs parallel with AC 120V Power cables as I don't have a choice in location due to house layout.

Can I run these cables in some kind of conduit or I have read wrapping it with tinfoil will work? I have about 20+ Data lines running about 20ft or so.

Also, I want to place my networking routers/switch near my house panel box. Is this a good idea? If not what is the min. distance away in feet?

Should I install some kind of metal box to house the switch/routers ect?

I fully utilize the gig network in my home/office so I need to have maximum speed/reliability as possible.



Ultrarunner2017 10-30-2008 10:18 AM

The best way to do it is to run fiber cable instead of copper. Fiber is not susceptible to interference with AC lines.

From what I learned when I was running a couple of Cat5e cables up the wall is that you need to be at least 6" from the AC cables, and it's best not to run parallel. This is especially true if your AC line is NM. If it's metallic, then you will probably not have as much of a problem.

I cannot advise you on running Cat6 cables in conduit, since I don't have any experience with this. But I do know something about transmission lines, and in order to keep impedance consistent, the cable itself needs to be shielded, rather than running unshielded cable in metallic conduit.
I would not advise wrapping aluminum foil. This again would probably not match the impedance of the cable, and it's kind of "unprofessional", and a bit messy.
I would also advise against installing the network router near the AC panel.
A better place to install would be near your telephone or cable tv line.


mfleming 10-30-2008 11:08 AM

Implementing fibre is out of my budget so that's a no go.

Our house is new and in Canada.

All lines are NM copper. My phone/cable/internet lines all come to the panel box currently from initial builder design. If I keep it 6" min away would it be fine for a few feet to run parallel on opposite side of TJI Joists?

How far away from the AC panel should I be for my phone/cable/net? Currently I have my network switches/routers right next to the panel box (2-6" away) and everything runs pretty well.

My other thought was to place it close to the floor about 12" from the floor below the panel box. (24" from underside of AC panel to routers/switch ect.)

Gigs 10-31-2008 02:31 AM

I disagree with KE2KB. Cat5e and Cat6 are UTP. This stands for unshielded twisted pair. It is not necessary or a good idea to shield it. The twisted pairs cancel out the common mode interference that shielding would prevent. This is why shielding is unnecessary. Do not wrap it in foil. The characteristic impedance is not affected by anything outside the cable. This isn't coax.

Cat6 has minimum bend requirements. Do not kink it or bend it in a short radius. You could use stiff plastic conduit to protect the turn radius from getting too tight, the same as is done with fiber. Research the other installation requirements of Cat6, it is not as forgiving as Cat5e and below, and you can easily ruin the benefit of paying more for Cat6 if you install it incorrectly.

I would not worry too much about the network running alongside household electrical, my main concern would be a large common mode surge should the house electrical system couple to a lightning strike. 60hz is not going to cause a problem on the network, it is way below where the network signals are, and like I said before, UTP has common mode (that is, picked up on both wires) interference rejection built into its design.

I would also not worry about your network center being too close to your electrical load center. There is very little on the electrical lines that is high frequency enough to interfere with the network in any way.

Ultrarunner2017 10-31-2008 08:57 AM

At the risk of contradicting myself, I have to agree with Gigs on this.
I gave it some thought after posting yesterday, and came to the same conclusions he has.
I wanted to update my post, but I wasn't able to get online for a while, and then went out.

I am sorry if I have mislead anyone.

mfleming 10-31-2008 09:04 AM

Ok that sounds good.

I have read up on Cat6 solid cabling about kings and everything and because its inside a wall/ceiling it is very easy to control the bends in the wires.

Thanks everyone for your help!


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