Identifying need & validating Shielding & Shielded components for a Gigabit GbE or 10G Ethernet networks in a factory/ workshop environment? How?

Currently we have a CAT6 + Gigabit Switch network where quite a bit of the cabling passes above a factory/ workshop below it.

Environmental: We have a a small factory/ workshop environment with a bunch of electromechanical machines (list of this will be posted soon as I am not an electro-mechanical expert so will get it from the right person).

Network Issues: From the write up quoted below, it may not make any sense to add shielded connectors (RJ 45) etc, if the entire chain of cabling/ devices are not all shielded.

How could I (or someone else or someone here) determine the following for the above 2 factors of influence in current & future planning?

  • Given the picture below (for Shielded cable) & shielded connector (RJ 45 male) pics on the web I can try to determine if our cabling is shielded or unshielded
  • How would I determine of any of the Jacks (female) they are placed into are shielded or not? (Some places we have female keystones and others direct connect of the cable drop with device/ PC Motherboard)

  • Ascertain that the EMI is sufficient to warrant re-cabling with sheilded cable (if not all, but some main lines that pass over/ through the workshop area)?

  • How would we ground / drain these pieces (so that everything is kosher as outlined below) without issue?

I googled for this and this was the most clear outline I found:

What is the difference between a shielded and unshielded modular coupler?

A Shielded Coupler is encased in a metal structure allowing it to ground to a metal wall plate or panel; an Unshielded Coupler is not.

A shielded coupler would be required when using a shielded cable terminated with a shielded plug.

The shielded plug would tie the shield to the coupler, thus grounding it as well as passing it on to the shielded cable assembly plugged into the other side of the coupler. Because of this, a shielded coupler is only required if you are using shielded cable assemblies.

If the cable assemblies you are using do not have shielded plugs then you do not need a shielded coupler.

Why Use Shielded Cat 6 Cable vs. Unshielded Cat 6 cable?

With high bandwidth applications on the rise and network systems venturing into new areas such as factory environments, the need for shielded Cat 6 cable has also increased. In these new areas of installation, the environment in which the network cable is run has a large amount of EMI (Electro-Magnetic Interference). Although Cat 6 cables have improved cable twist to handle gigabit Ethernet and reject noise, this by itself is not enough for environments that have high EMI. Using a shielded Cat 6 cable will help in these high EMI installations.

These high performance cables ensure the data within the cable will be protected from EMI, resulting in higher speeds and better data transmission.

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Grounding Necessities for Shielded Cat 6 cables

Shielding helps protect the data from any sort of electromagnetic interference from an outside source. This could alter or weaken the signal traveling through the copper in the cable. The shields of the two connectors in our shielded Cat 6 cables are electrically tied together via the drain wire. However, they will only become grounded if the jack they are placed in has its shielding tied to ground. For that reason, if you are setting up a network with Category 6 shielded cables, you should use Cat 6 shielded couplers and jacks.

  • To determine if it's shielded it's easy: it's written on it. From meter to meter, it is written on the cable either UTP or FTP, F/UTP STP. If it's STP/FTP. F/UTP, it's shielded, if it's UTP, it's standard unshielded cable. Also note that shielded cables if properly installed use metal RJ 45 male connector, so the shielding may actually be grounded.

Check this for complete classification.

  • All female jacks from any NIC suppose to be grounded.

  • To ascertain if you would need re-cabling, you will have to do some complex measurements that require special equipment.

  • The grounding for the STP is self-sufficient, if proper male metal connectors are used.

To make some good estimations you should only take into consideration if near the cables that pass over your factory/ workshop are near power lines, transformers or other power sources. If your network cables do not pass by electrical transformers and are more than a few inches away from power cables, the transmission on the lines should not be affected.

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