Twisted Pair Best Practices - Cheat Sheet

Tens of thousands of audio/video over twisted pair extenders are installed every day, but only a fraction are installed according to TIA/EIA standards or what most manufacturers consider as “best practices.” The below guide outlines common considerations to ensure your installation functions properly for years to come.

Importance Best Practice

Critical Terminate all cables to the T568B crimp pattern standard and ensure the crimp patterns on both ends of the cable match.

Critical If using a shielded cable (and we strongly recommend you use a shielded cable to eliminate signal interference and ensure signal integrity) you must also use a shielded connector on both ends of the cable, ensuring the cable drain wire and shield are properly attached to the connector.

Critical Don’t bundle unlike cables together. This is particularly important for twisted pair cables carrying AV signals—they should not be bundled with any other cable carrying voltage, including speaker cable or control cable. If you must bundle, make sure to use shielded twisted pair cable with shielded connectors.

Important Ensure the electronics in your system are grounded—this includes the twisted pair extenders and the devices connected to the twisted pair extenders. Grounding helps ensure stray voltage travels to the earth instead of into your signal path.

Important Reduce the amount of inline junctions and patches. Cable splits, splices and connections greatly weaken the signal transmission, ultimately leading to signal drop outs and performance issues.

Important Use solid core cable over stranded core cable. Solid core cable ensures the transmission of high frequency signals (like HDMI) and is less susceptible to interference. This is especially true with HDBaseT transmission, since the signal uses a propriety pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) process.

Important Opt to pull cable from a reel or spool over cable from a box. Seeing the cable during installation will help prevent kinks, which will prevent breaks, which will prevent signal chaos.

Important Keep cable runs as short as possible and, if there is excess cable that can’t be cut out, don’t coil it together. This can cause signal cross talk and a host of performance problems.

Important Use Velcro™ wraps to secure cable bundles together because they minimize stress on the cable’s protective jacket, keep the twists of the internal wires intact, and are reusable in case a cable needs to be added or replaced in the installation.

Important Don’t use cable ties (especially narrow ones) to bundle twisted pair cables together because they can damage the jacket, distort the twisted pairs inside the cable, and must be replaced if a cable needs to be added or replaced.

Important Use cable trays or cable hooks to suspend cables and bundles from the ceiling. This will ensure the cable is not resting on ceiling tile grids or lighting, which could cause cable breaks, signal performance issues, or even a fire.

Important Label both ends of your cable. This will save a bunch of time during final installation and (if necessary) troubleshooting.

A pdf version is available here: Twisted Pair Best Practices - Cheat Sheet

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