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Network Punch Down Panel

Network Punch Down Panel

(OP)
Hey everyone,

I am looking at installing a network punch down panel in my attic to alleviate some issues with the wiring and location of my home server farm. Are there any concerns I should address before making any decisions about the punch down? Is there a noticeable lost of performance for distances of 100' with a single punch down interruption?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

I would have a few concerns about a patch panel in the attic. First is this location easy to get to, for changes? Secondly attics tend to build up heat, if there is going to be ANY electronics up there you will want to have some form of temperature / humidity control.
There should be no issues with a 100ft run.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

(OP)
Well after thinking about it I realized I was just going about it the wrong way. I am going to use a 12 port punch down similar to what you see on a rack from feeds from offices that you plug into a switch. I was originally thinking old PBX style but this way I will just punch down and terminate. No electronics needed.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

I tend to avoid putting any terminations in places that are no fun to work in. Most attics fit that definition.

I usually put a patch panel where the equipment will be located and home run everything from there. Sounds like you are headed that way.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

I would opt for the basement.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

(OP)
Well I had considered all the above. When we remodeled the house before moving in, we installed conduit between the basement and the top floor so we could have an easy time threading lines up there.

The current configuration is as such:
-Feed comes into basement
-Main line goes up to attic then down to a service box on 2nd floor
-Router plugged in at the service box, the feeds go back up to attic and terminates at wall plates

What I am going to configure is below:
-Feed comes into basement
-Feed then goes to my Cisco ASA
-From ASA to Switch and Server
-Feeds from switch go up through conduit to terminate in attic
-Any new wall plates or WAPs I just have to run from desired location on 2nd floor to attic termination and that is it

All of my equipment will be located in the basement which easily maintains at 60 or so degrees in the hottest summers without AC. Since the jacks are all live at the switch I just have to connect any new ports to attic and I am done. And the attic isnt that hard to get too. My family is all contractors so when we renovate we tend to think ahead.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

Dude...........primo setup!!

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

Why even have that termination point in the attic versus having home run cables just "pass through" the attic then down the conduit to the switch?

-CL

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

(OP)
Electrical Conduit has a tendency to cause friction heat, basically melting/cutting the shielding off the cables. Additionally if you ever run wires, you will learn very fast that conduit already occupied by other cables can mean its nearly impossible to snake more then one bunch.

The trick is to create a single batched run for as many as your going to ever use. That way you have the maximum lines available but only punch down to what you need instead of having a giant coil of unused and costly cabling just hanging there in the off chance I want to add another data plate.

By punching down say 12 lines to attic from the basement, I have a readily life feed to/from switch. All I have to do is punch down from the new wall plate to the attic. If I did a straight feed, I would have to have a spool at every outlet while having someone assist each feed to prevent binding and/or snags that could compromise the line as I fed the lines down to the basement. This is done to prevent shortage of feed length and/or over provisioning when precutting its length and ending up with 30' extra than needed.

Essentially you can only run the lines once. After that existing feeds make it a futile, costly, time-sink effort to do something that is relatively trivial when planned to be done in a single go.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

Basically you just made a consolidation point in your attic. Nice. I never thought about that option before for home use.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

I do multiple pulls through conduit all the time. If you are "melting/cutting the cable" you are doing something wrong. Likely pulling to fast, too small a conduit, too much force, too many bends, installed cables too taut. Conduit fill guide is HERE. Don't make the mistake of installing undersized conduit!

Most basement to attic conduits I have come across are quite straight, many run in the same void as the soil stack.

While this method works for you I'd hesitate to do the same thing since home runs are easier, take less time and are electrically cleaner.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

Just to add to wires good point, the less points of failure the better!

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

(OP)
Yeah the conduit has to have a bend in it due to regulations. The problem is easily mitigated with some goop you coat the wire in and turns the coating into astroglide haha. But in Massachusetts depending on the conduits orientation and surrounding structure and pipes/etc, you have to have a bend because of something to do with the fire code or such. Its why balloon framing is frowned upon here.

Killerskillz:
That was why I asked my original question trying to figure out what to do. Then it occurred to me what a moron I was for not thinking about it when I play in racks all the time. There is no reason why, when I have the components of an enterprise type deployment, to not use enterprise solutions when they are applicable within reason. :)

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

Conduits should never have more that 360 degrees of bends between pull boxes. It is fairly normal for multistory conduits to be required to have bends. Sometimes 2x45=90 degrees or 2x90=180. Still a fairly straight shot and in the case of a residence not very long.

While lubricant is a good idea on short runs like this it is usually not needed. Leaving a pull string in all conduits will ease pulling in future cable since it tends to not foul on existing cables as much fishing in a pull string later. When securing new cables to the pull string be sure to stagger the ends so you have a nice taper. Lubing the tape can help a lot since the tape tends to induce quite a bit of friction. Doing these and having a person on each end to giggle the existing and new cables can usually get you up to 80% conduit fill. When specifying conduit sizes you should plan for future needs. A good rule of thumb for class 2 is 40% fill on a new conduit.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

(OP)
Well punch down went great, although the process ended up with me looking like a poster boy for the Blue Oyster. It was roughly 110+ F in the attic, I was dripping sweat and my hands and arms were covered in Vaseline used to smooth the pull through some flexible conduit that was giving some issues.

In the end, job went smoothly, took a little long but once I have enterprise switch configured and my rack server installed, my network renovations should be complete. Pictures when all is said and done.

RE: Network Punch Down Panel

We've all been there, Uben. Who doesn't like to get down and dirty from time to time? Great feeling of satisfaction when done and cleaned up.

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