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First, I am embarrassed that I am asking this... but I have no networking experience at all hehe

... I have got some networking stuff from Monoprice including a spool of cat6 STP (solid 23awg) and I am starting to wire up my basement. After pulling some cable, I stripped my first pull and noticed a random copper wire in the bundle and became concerned as I only have normal cat6 keystone jacks and a normal cat6 patch panel... when I say normal, I mean I don't see how I can use that random copper wire on either the jacks or the patch panel.

I guess my question is, can I use this setup? If I do, what are the negatives in doing so? Is the shielding useless if I don't properly utilize this random copper cable on each end properly?

Thanks, and sorry if this is a mega-newb question :)

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  • Well, one howto I read suggested using the extra wire to open the cable jacket so it didn't accidentally nick the wire anyplace you weren't trimming off. So it's not wholly useless. Also Faraday cages have some benefit even if they are not grounded. So the foil inside that that copper wire helps along could be helping even if you don't ground that wire. I'm just not sure if it adds much in digital applications over the twists themselves as much as it would analog applications, like telephones – infixed Mar 16 '16 at 1:45
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If you paid for the Category-6 cable, you wasted the difference in price between it and the Category-5E cable. I seriously doubt you have the skill, experience, proper tools, and tester to install the cable and test it to pass the Category-6 test suite. Experienced installers have trouble with Category-6 installations. Did you follow the standards regarding maximum pull tension and minimum bend radius? Exceeding either of those will damage the cable, and solid-core cable is fairly fragile, and STP even more so. A break in the shield will render it useless since it must be continuous from end-to-end.

The wire is a drain wire to aid in grounding. The shielding must be connected to a proper ground. You must use equipment which can properly connect STP for grounding, otherwise you wasted money on shielding. Most business-grade equipment can do this since the equipment requires grounding, but most consumer-grade-equipment does not properly ground STP.

You should also be familiar with ANSI/TIA/EIA-570-B Residential Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard. For instance:

6.2 100-Ohm UTP cabling

6.2.1 Bend radius

In spaces with UTP terminations, cable bend radii shall not be less than four times the cable diameter for outlet cable.

6.2.2 Pulling tension

The maximum pulling tension for a 4-pair 24-AWG UTP cable should not exceed 110 N (25 lbf).

6.2.3 Connecting hardware

Cables should be terminated with connecting hardware of the same category or higher. Installed transmission performance of components that meet requirements of different performance categories shall be classified by the least performing component in the link (e.g., cables, connectors, and patch cords that are not rated for the same transmission capability). This performance category should be marked on the connecting hardware or noted in the administration records.

Only remove as much cable jacket as required to terminate connecting hardware in order to maintain cable the geometry. When terminating connecting hardware, preserve pair-twist as close as possible SP-3-3490-RV2 (To become ANSI/TIA/EIA-570-B) to the point of mechanical termination 1 n. For category 5e and category 6 cables, the amount of pair untwisting as a result of termination to connecting hardware shall be no greater than 13 mm (0.5 in). For category 3 cables, the untwisting shall be no greater than 75 mm (3 in). . A minimum of 200 mm (8 in) of excess cable should be stored at each outlet.

6.2.4 Cross-connect jumpers and patch cords

Cross-connect jumpers and cables used for patch cords should be of the same category or higher as the outlet cables to which they connect. Due to the variety of cable types, connecting hardware types, tooling and testing required, field termination of patch cords is not recommended.

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  • So for the sake of argument, let's pretend I do actually follow the pull rate tension and bend radius and etc... and other than "wasting my money", is there a down side to using STP with "consumer" grade equipment such as my cat6 keystone jacks and patch panel? BTW I do have a proper tester, punch down tools etc... You are 100% that I have no experience hehe – nokturnal Mar 16 '16 at 2:45
  • You have an $8000 Fluke or other tester that does the full Category-6 suite? My doubts are based on your lack of knowledge of what a drain wire is since any installer with the experience to properly install Category-6 cabling will know that. The real downside is the unnecessary expense and fooling yourself into thinking you have a Category-6 installation. This could present problems in the future should you ever get 10 Gb equipment, which will eventually become standard in most things as 1 Gb replaced 100 Mb. If the shielding is broken or not properly grounded, it is useless. – Ron Maupin Mar 16 '16 at 2:51
  • As any experienced installer knows, a cabling system only gets the rating of the lowest rated component. Read 6.2 which I quoted above. – Ron Maupin Mar 16 '16 at 2:51
  • Yes, we agree to the fact I am a moron for getting STP. I get it, let's move on. I also understand that this might not ideally perform at spec based cat-6 installation standards and might not scale to 10Gb in the future. The bottom-line is, I have cat6 STP solid now. I am simply wondering if I can use it still or is there a glaring technical flaw from it being not grounded correctly that is going to impact performance. If the only flaw is a hit to my ego and a slightly bigger dent to my bank account for getting STP, I can accept that. – nokturnal Mar 16 '16 at 14:00
  • I believe I answered your question. You will basically have a Category-5E UTP cabling (assuming that is the minimum rating of your components, and it gets installed and can pass the test suite for that rating, which is far more complex than a simple wire-map). The shielding will not work at all unless it is properly grounded. Your system will have a rating for whichever test suite it can pass. I can't say for sure you can properly terminate the cabling, or whether or not it was damaged in installation. For instance, stapling will untwist it enough to cause failure. – Ron Maupin Mar 16 '16 at 14:09

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