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Approach to cable runs

Approach to cable runs

Approach to cable runs

While I've done cabling for years, I've rarely done new commercial spaces and have to admit I don't know how to do it "properly" so the phone closet end is neat and orderly with voice drops in a neat bundle and data the same, all tied up clean and terminated to patch panels so they look perfect.  If you have to keep Station 1's voice and data drops marked, Station 2's etc, do you recommend just pulling all the drops, separating the voice from data above the ceiling, and toning out each one to ID them?  Or do you try to keep track of each station's drops as you pull them?

RE: Approach to cable runs

I would always keep track of them as i pull. I would use a marker to number each cable but you could use a label maker for cables. there are a bunch of ways to do it.  

Kevin Wing
ACSS Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Communications
ACS- Implement IP Office
ACA- Implement IP Office
Carousel Industries

RE: Approach to cable runs

We ALWAYS label the cables as we install - with permanent marker right on the cable.  We keep a copy of floorplan and mark it up with cable numbers as we go.   

RE: Approach to cable runs

I always label with a sharpie when pulling, then follow up after the pull and label with printed labels, just for show.  

RE: Approach to cable runs

Besides labeling and marking, you want to get copy of the blueprint and find out the NEC code in your area (should be in the contractor's spec book for the project) to find out how far apart your J hangers for the runs need to be, usually about 5-6 feet apart.  


RE: Approach to cable runs

Since the bulk of my cable runs are from 4-6 boxes, I just ren them, terminate the station end, then tone them and tag them as I terminate the frame end.  Since they have to be verified and/or tested, it seems a waste to me to tag as I pull them.  Besides, the end you mark usually gets smeared or cut off anyway and the labels are only good once.


RE: Approach to cable runs

Use a different color, or type for data and phone, and separate them as you go. I label with a sharpie permanent marker. If you want to have data and voice match each other, and go around the building in order it is going to take time and not be much fun. I don't know of any easy way to do it.
As you pull the cables keep them in smaller groups. Then for final termination dress each data cable one at a time from the ceiling down. Voice can be done six at a time if using Bix. If there are two of you with radios and the face plates are already terminated, toning each outlet doesn't take that long. One guy moves the toner and one marks the cables, but it leaves one guy with nothing to do while the other terminates the IT room.

RE: Approach to cable runs

defintly tag as you go and follow a sensible numbering scheme on your blueprint.It will take longer and the main benefit will be to the customer in the long run. when you pull the cables first and terminated then tag and label they land in random patterns. and it makes it hard to trouble shoot problems. and I prefer to keep voice jack one color and data another(both jack and wire) and have the same number tag( example office 1 will have  white voice and blue data jack 1) but that is not always possible if you have alot of extra printers or wall phones.
I work for a large corp. and you would be suprised at the calls we get from people " cleaning crew was here last night and my pc and phone dont work" save a service call by asking  is the pc in the blue data jack. etc etc.
or new employee going into cube 300 need jack activated but it is not labeled  if the cube infront  is jack 299 and the jack behind it is 301 then chances are good its 300.  random drops creat confusion and will require toming in that instance.
as a end user I can tell you I will always call back the guys who took the time to do the job right and make my job easier on me before the contractor who just did it the quickest way for him.


there may not be any stupid questions
but their is a bunch of inquizative idiots
(myself included at times)

RE: Approach to cable runs

Keep track as you go, definitely. I like to use different color cables/jacks for voice/data, but that is not always feasible if you might be switching back and forth in the future.

I like pre-printed wire labels, stick em on and go, and though using a sharpie as some mentioned is perhaps quicker, the wire labels stand out more and make it easier to figure out later on if you need to go back and fix/change something later.

Always consider the future when cabling, if you don't, then in the future you will wish you had.

Chris Cantwell

RE: Approach to cable runs

Essex-Superior cable now comes with a pre-marked cable!  

RE: Approach to cable runs

These people are the low bidders who are "learning". Asking how to label and if you should seams pretty weak! Go ahead and not label,then tone, and see how much time you spend in the end.
I have just re-toned/tested/labeled/provided as builts,for an entire school districts cabling plant that was a "mess" from the lowest bidder.(25,000 cables)..A major expense for this district, with something that should have been completed the first time!
Sorry about this rant, but some of the questions that come up are amazing.

RE: Approach to cable runs

You mean you came in after the job was done ? I'd be happy
happy as a clam to tone out that mess i'd terminate a 50,000
jacks and then I'd get a bunch of giant racks patch panels were you can move the jacks around around and mark them accordingly then I would be laughing all the way to the bank!Please continue to not mark cables thats how I make my money !!

RE: Approach to cable runs

I have worked with some guys who like to tone out cables later. Some other guys like to use different cable for voice and data ex. blus for data and white for phone.

I pre-fer to tone later than useing numbers

RE: Approach to cable runs

Using one colored cable for voice and a different one for data is quite common. I use blue for data and telco-gray for voice.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: Approach to cable runs

Definitely mark the cables as you install them, if you use a sharpie, make sure your "7" doesn't look like a "1" or a "9" as it will just slow things down in the end... You'll save labor money doing it right the first time.


RE: Approach to cable runs

I'll add my two cents. We have labeled and then pulled. And we have pulled and then toned.
Both have their merits.
Two suggestions though:
              1.) If you label before you pull, label the box you're pulling from the same as the cable you're pulling and label the cable 3 times. once 6" from the end, once 1' from the end and once 3' from the end.
              2.) After the cable is pulled make sure you label the wall plate and the closet termination. Here at the hospital we use abbreviated identifiers, ie 2SH 121, which stands for jack #121 in the 2nd floor soiled holding closet. Data is always blue cable here and voice is always white, jacks same.
Data labels always start with C (for computer), ie C2E is the data cable on 2nd floor in the E data cabinet. Computer geeks are a little challenged as to labeling, so you either need to ask them where the E computer cabinet on the second floor is, or have a working knowledge of the buildings.
The computer cables are never labeled until they are certified. I never certify the voice cables.

RE: Approach to cable runs


ALL wiring jobs start with a set of floor plan drawings. All jacks are located on the drawings and labeled, it doesn't matter how you label (number) just be sure all labels are unique.

When you pull cables you only need to mark the wiring closet end since the jack end is identified by it's location on the floor plan drawing. I usually just label the bundle of cables going to each jack using sharpie on white electrical tape. When terminating the closet I cut one cable at a time out of the taped bundle, dress it into place and punch it down.

Using different color cable jackets helps with keeping services separated. If you have multiple cables of the same service type in the same jack location it's easy enough to sort them on the jack end during testing/certification.

Not labeling while pulling wires is ONLY acceptable on very small jobs. Toning all the cables is an amazing WASTE of time and along with hodgepodge patch panels identifies you as an disorganized amateur.

RE: Approach to cable runs

This is all 20 year old infrastructure. When I started here 3 years ago floor plans had never been used for telephone work.
 Way to late to start that here. I really like labeling both ends. Seems a little more positive. Labeling floor plans begs confusion. You can look at a termination and readily see if it has a label. Look at a drawing and wonder what you missed, or which jack that is refering to. Many times we have 2 or 3 jacks at the same location. I'd like to see your drawings after 10 years.
But I must say, most of my jobs are pulling 1 to 8 cables with many more 1's than 8's.
So my circumstance may be a little different than yours WIRES.
Maybe both ways are good.

RE: Approach to cable runs

Of course when the job is complete both ends (patch/punch and jack) are labeled. It does not matter how you go about the install (label while pulling or tone and label) each jack and patch HAVE to be labeled in a permanent way before you are done.

My point was that you don't need to mark (label) the wall jack (station) ends of cables while you pull. Their location is marked (labeled) on a drawing. On the other hand the wiring closet end needs to be marked (labeled) since there are LOTS of cables there and it is not apparent where they go!

Even on old jobs I tend to do a floor plan. It isn't that hard and it sure saves time in the end.

RE: Approach to cable runs

I think I see what you're saying. Prior to placing cables we also use a floor plan to determine what will go where. It isn't a permanent record per se, because we don't update it when things change. Is that how you do it WIRES?

RE: Approach to cable runs

My main point is, You don't have to do a lot of marking when pulling cables IF you have a floorplan drawing that is marked with the jack locations. Mark the jack locations however you like, A,B,C... 1,2,3... 101A15,101B12... then mark the cables in the wiring closet with the SAME ID as the jack location on the drawing. This scheme does NOT have to be the final labeling, just something fast and accurate for THAT closet. However if the final labeling scheme is not complex why not just use that? I do.

If I use markings on a drawing that are different from the final labeling I will discard those drawings when the job is done. However it's REALLY nice to have floorplan drawings available in the wiring closet. I try to make sure a set is available and kept current.


RE: Approach to cable runs

Im w/Mugs on this one, I've done it both ways  pre-pull labeling and post pull labeling both work. Ultimately everything will be ID'd and in a proper sequence even if post-pull labeling even though we always tag our station end I always give the client several copies of a detailed floorplan/wire map of locations because no matter how awesome your jacks are labeled those wall labels will never be seen again once the credenzas, file cabinets and cubes get installed. Also I attach a wire map in the closet with the rack.

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