Guide to Separation of Network Cabling from EMI Sources
Network Performance AspectsJust how much is the network cabling affected by proximity of office and home power cabling and other EMI sources in terms of network performance? What is the minimum separation needed to assure proper network functioning without degradation due to EMI?
There are no simple answers to these questions. Additionally, many different opinions and marketing
hype surround these issues.
Screened cabling is often promoted as the best (or the only - depends on the manufacturer) approach to ensure network performance. While a viable solution in a controlled special environment, screened cabling system should be viewed as a complete system that includes, among other things, non-trivial amount of attention to design and quality of installation of the building's telecommunications grounding system. It has been the authors' experience that regular commercial buildings (where majority of potential screened cabling system users find themselves in) lack properly installed telecommunications grounding system or the grounding system has been poorly designed or installed. Using screened cabling systems in such buildings usually does not justify the considerable price premium.
Modern unshielded twisted pair cables used in conjunction with modern balanced signal transmission protocols, such as Ethernet, provide adequate amount of protection from EMI sources that can be found in regular commercial buildings. Therefore unshielded twisted pair or fiber optics options should be carefully considered and exhausted before screened cabling system is specified for the installation.
Below you will find some recommendations and guidelines from several reputable sources. They will
provide the average network and premises cabling user with guidance in this complex issue.
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