I am currently setting up the network in my new apartment and due to reading a couple of misleading articles, I ended up buying cat6a shielded cable (U/FTP) instead of unshielded because I thought it was going to be the "better" solution.

I now know the shielded cable is unnecessary for my environment but other than the fact I've spent extra money, I figured it wouldn't be a problem and just accept blaming myself for this mistake.

I have started the installation process but I have now hit some areas regarding grounding that I am not sure about so I'm hoping someone is able to advise me so that I can correctly install it.

Current Progress

So far I have:

  • Pulled the cables through the ceiling (they probably come in close contact with some electrical cables in the ceiling void but I don't think that's enough to warrant the shielding). This took a long time and a lot of effort so re-doing this with unshielded cable would very much be a last resort.
  • Attached the shielded keystone jacks to the ends of the cables that are going to be put into the faceplates
  • Terminated the other ends of the cables in the shielded patch panel

My Questions

The following are the areas I am not sure about.

Grounding the Keystone Jacks

I have terminated the cables in the keystone jacks based on the instructions included with them and some YouTube videos, etc.

Is my understanding correct that what makes this end of the cable "grounded" is the drain wire being in contact with the metal jack (as per the instructions)?

Or is there more that needs to be done on this end to ground it?

Grounding the Cables in the Patch Panel

I have terminated the cables in the patch panel by following the instructions included with it.

However, the patch panel contains an earth cable on the back that clearly should be attached to something.

What should I be connecting this to? Should it attach to the server cabinet but if so, how do I ground the server cabinet?

Grounding via the Switch?

Instead of using the earth cable on the patch panel, I saw somewhere that mentioned about using at least one shielded cable between the patch panel and my switch (UniFi managed 16-port PoE+ gigabit switch) and that will ground everything because the switch itself is grounded via its power cable - is this a possible solution for grounding this end?

Both Ends of the Cable Grounded or Just One?

On a bit of a side note, there seems a lot of conflicting ideas about whether both ends of each cable should be grounded.

It seems that grounding both ends is considered the "correct" solution, however, there are concerns that there could be issues of a ground loop so at times, only grounding one end is recommended.

My network is all contained within one apartment that is all wired to a single consumer unit so I don't think creating a ground loop is a concern - is this correct?

Safety if Not Fully Grounded?

I imagine there are safety risks if I don't get everything fully grounded but how much of a risk is there?

Risks to Equipment if Not Fully Grounded?

If I am unable to get everything grounded, will there be a risk to any equipment that is connected to the network?

Performance Issues if Not Grounded?

If I am unable to get everything grounded, will the performance of the cable/network be impacted at all or will it be the same as just using unshielded cat6a cables?

Some other information that might be useful.

Other Hardware

Other than the hardware I have already mentioned/linked to, the following are going to be added into my network (I have already bought them, I just haven't set them up):

  • LMS 9u server cabinet
  • UniFi Dream Machine Pro gateway
  • UniFi FlexHD access point

Other Notes

The following are other considerations that might have an impact on the approach I need to take as far as grounding is concerned.

  • I am based in the UK
  • My apartment is in a high-rise building

Similar Questions

The following are similar questions but I didn't feel their answers fully addressed my questions:

Hopefully someone has some advice that will allow me to complete the installation.

  • The rack end (patch panel) should be grounded. Grounding at the user end is usually accomplished by the equipment. You can use the building ground if you can't find anything else to ground it to. – Tim_Stewart Jun 18 '20 at 17:56
  • Ok well I believe the cables are grounded at the patch panel but I’m not sure how to ground the panel itself (I’m not sure how to connect to the building ground so I’ll have to look into that). – Jess Rascal Jun 18 '20 at 19:39
  • At the user end, are you saying I shouldn’t ground the keystones and instead rely on grounding through the power cable of whatever is attached to the RJ45 port? Does that mean I’d have to make sure everything is attached to the ports with shielded cables? Also what about PoE equipment seen as they won’t have power cables? – Jess Rascal Jun 18 '20 at 19:43
  • If you terminated the drain wire to the rack, and the rack itself is not grounded, then the cables are not grounded. (Referring to actual earth ground) you can strip a three prong cable to expose the ground cable. Wire nut the hot (black in the us) and neutral (white in the us), and put it in a electrical junction box with the wire nuts taped with electrical tape. You can extend this earth connection from the junction box to where you terminate ground/drain to the rack – Tim_Stewart Jun 18 '20 at 19:50
  • "TIA and ISO standards provide one additional step for the grounding of screened and shielded cabling systems. Specifically, clause 4.6 of ANSI/TIA-568-B.1 and clause 11.3 of ISO/IEC 11801:2002 state that the cable shield shall be bonded to the TGB in the telecommunications room, and that grounding at the work area may be accomplished through the equipment power connection." – Tim_Stewart Jun 18 '20 at 19:53

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