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Integrated Home Systems - Chapter 5 - Structured Cabling

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It used to be a lot easier. At one time 230V cabling would be laid in a newly-built home, to which a few sockets, power points and switches were connected. At most, there was also a telephone socket in the wall and a coax cable connection for the television. A small distribution board was sufficient to protect a few socket and lighting circuits. The installation was ready.

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Integrated Home Systems - Chapter 5 - Structured Cabling

  1. 1. INTEGRATED CHAPTER 5: ECI Publication No. Cu0234 Available from www.leonardo-energy.org NTEGRATED HOME SYSTEMS 5: STRUCTURED CABLING IN THE HOME energy.org YSTEMS COURSE THE HOME Guy Kasier November 2015
  2. 2. Publication No. Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page i Document Issue Control Sheet Document Title: Chapter 5: Structured cabling in the home Publication No.: Cu0234 Issue: 02 Release: Public Author(s): Guy Kasier Reviewer(s): Carol Godfrey Document History Issue Date Purpose 1 July 2008 Initial public release 2 November 2015 Revision 3 Disclaimer While this publication has been prepared with care, European Copper Institute and other contributors provide no warranty with regards to the content and shall not be liable for any direct, incidental or consequential damages that may result from the use of the information or the data contained. Copyright© European Copper Institute. Reproduction is authorised providing the material is unabridged and the source is acknowledged.
  3. 3. Publication No. Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page ii CONTENTS 1. Introduction................................................................................................................................................ 1 2. The basics ................................................................................................................................................... 2 2.1. BUS topology ...................................................................................................................................................2 2.2. Star topology ...................................................................................................................................................2 3. The traditional installation method ............................................................................................................ 4 4. Smart installation methods......................................................................................................................... 5 4.1. With patch box ................................................................................................................................................5 4.2. Without patch box...........................................................................................................................................7 5. Installation tips........................................................................................................................................... 8 6. A wired or wireless network? ..................................................................................................................... 9 6.1. The wired network...........................................................................................................................................9 6.2. The wireless network.....................................................................................................................................10
  4. 4. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 1 1. INTRODUCTION It used to be a lot easier. At one time 230V cabling would be laid in a newly-built home, to which a few sockets, power points and switches were connected. At most, there was also a telephone socket in the wall and a coax cable connection for the television. A small distribution board was sufficient to protect a few socket and lighting circuits. The installation was ready. That is no longer the case today. With the arrival of Integrated Home Systems (IHS) and many other technological marvels of this day and age, the number of networks in the home has increased sharply. Generally, one telephone connection is no longer enough; we want a connection in almost every room. This is also the case for the television and radio. In addition to the flat-screen TV in the living room, we also want a television in the bedroom and kitchen. We also have a desktop computer, a network printer and a network hard drive that require separate cabling. These devices are supplemented by a portable computer, a tablet and several smartphones. These may all use a wireless network. There is a video entry phone at the front door which we want to use in various places throughout the home. When we are watching television, the picture of the person at the door appears as a PIP (picture in picture) on the screen, and why not on the computer, the tablet and the smartphone when we are using these devices or have them to hand. Furthermore, we would also like to hear our entire MP3 collection on the audio system in the living room and the audio equipment in the children’s rooms. In the bathroom and kitchen, we want to listen to the news on the radio. We may also want to use IP cameras for various reasons. The expansion of the various networks in the home is enormous. It is therefore obvious that we are looking for solutions for dealing with such network cabling in the home in a well thought out way. In this chapter, we will discuss a few practical examples and smart solutions. We will see that the flexibility (the adaptability) of the installation will play an important role.
  5. 5. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 2 2. THE BASICS Depending on the systems that have to be cabled, we generally use different cabling methods. 2.1. BUS TOPOLOGY The first is to connect from component to component. This method is used, for example, when the operating points of an IHS system are connected to a BUS system via a decentralised interface. Figure 1: Connection of operating points to the same bus cable. (Illustration source: E&D Systems) The advantage of this form of cabling is that only a few connections have to be made. The disadvantage is that there will be a greater loss of function when the cable is damaged. Figure 2: An IHS button is connected to the bus cable here. We see two red and two black cables. The bus comes to the connector and then goes on to the next component. (Illustration source: E&D Systems) 2.2. STAR TOPOLOGY A second cabling method, which is used more often, is star cabling or “home run”. Every component is connected to a central point by its own cable. There are many examples of this, such as the telephones that are connected to the local telephone exchange with their own cabling, or the speakers of a multi-room system
  6. 6. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 3 that are connected to the central amplifiers with their own cabling as well. The most well-known example is probably ethernet cabling, where each device is connected to a hub or router by its own cable. Figure 3: IHS system buttons that are connected to a central point using a star topology. (Illustration source: E&D Systems) Figure 4: Example of an audio system and a telephone system in which every component is connected to a central point by its own cabling. (Illustration source: Russound) The advantage of star cabling is that there is only a limited loss of function when a cable is defective. The disadvantage is that many connections have to be made at the central point.
  7. 7. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 4 3. THE TRADITIONAL INSTALLATION METHOD For every room in the home, a decision has to be made regarding the number of connections to put in and where to locate them. How many phone connections are needed in the living room? Will there be a fax machine there? Where should the connection for the television and radio be? Must there also be a connection for the computer network in the living room? Where will the home theatre speakers be? We can continue like this for every room. The traditional installation method consists of linking every connection to a central point with its own cable. On the one hand, this entails a lot of cabling work and restricts the flexibility of the installation. This is certainly the case when the cables that come to the central point are connected directly to the active components such as the local telephone exchange, the TV amplifier or the router. For example, if it is not anticipated that a year after the installation, a telephone connection will be needed in addition to the television connection in the guest room, then there will be a problem. The connection cannot be made. A further disadvantage of this traditional cabling method is that a lot of recessed boxes are needed to place all outlets alongside one another. Certain manufacturers have responded to this by providing a module that fits into one single box in which all types of connections can be made. Figure 5: This module also contains a telephone and LAN connection in addition to a television, radio and satellite antenna connection. (Illustration source: Reichle & De-Massari) It probably goes without saying that it is useful to use a very deep recessed box in such a case. A number of cables go into it and a certain minimum-bending radius has to be respected for every cable. Another manufacturer has found a solution by using just two modules and two cables. A coax cable is connected directly to the TV outlet. A fourfold twisted-pair (TP) cable to another module makes it possible to make a connection for the computer, telephone and the IHS system BUS.
  8. 8. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 5 Figure 6: This multimedia solution uses two cables. (Illustration source: Bticino) 4. SMART INSTALLATION METHODS If everything continues to be connected directly at the central point to the active units, then there will soon be a problem regarding the flexibility of the installation. It is better to use a patch cabinet, in which every individual cable comes to an outlet in the cabinet. The correct connection can then be made using patch cables. A decision can be made whether to use an outlet in the home for a computer connection or for a telephone or fax machine. Certain manufacturers go much further here and only use one cable for telephony, audio, video, television and computer connections throughout the home. We will look at a few examples. 4.1. WITH PATCH BOX Manufacturers often use their own cable. In this specific case, it is a screened TP cable with four pairs of conductors. One pair of conductors in the cable is screened separately. This pair can be used for the distribution of video and television signals. Figure 7: The Abitana cable, in which the brown-white pair is screened separately. (Illustration source: Abitana) All RJ45 outlets throughout the home are connected in a star topology to a separate multimedia distribution board by this cable.
  9. 9. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 6 Figure 8: The multimedia distribution board. (Illustration source: Abitana) All incoming cables are connected to an RJ45 outlet in this distribution board. These outlets are mounted on the DIN rail. Depending on the residents’ needs, one or more active components can also be incorporated into the multimedia distribution board, e.g., video distributors, a hub or router, an audio distributor, a telephone distributor, etc. An outlet in a certain room can be connected to any active component by using patch cables. In practice, this means that, for example, an unused outlet in the children’s room can be connected to the local telephone exchange because a fixed telephone is needed there as well. If it is decided to take the telephone out of the room and replace it with a data connection for the computer or a TV connection, then it can be carried out in no time at all in the patch cabinet. Figure 9: Left: a TV distributor that is secured to the DIN rail in the patch cabinet. It has 4 RJ45 outputs. Right: the coupling from an RJ45 outlet in a room to a coax connection for the television. (Illustration source: Abitana) In order to further increase flexibility, splitters are also supplied. These ensure that an RJ45 outlet can be used not just for one unit, but also for a number of units. For example, two telephones can be connected to one RJ45, or a telephone and a computer, etc.
  10. 10. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 7 Figure 10: Distribution of antenna or CaTV signals throughout the home. (Illustration source: Abitana) 4.2. WITHOUT PATCH BOX Some manufacturers also supply solutions without using a patch box. These solutions are normally only intended for use in housing. Such systems no longer use separate components for installation on the DIN rail, but supply a module that already has several inputs and outputs. Telephone lines, antennas and a router can be connected as sources. A limited number of outputs is provided (e.g. eight). These are connected to the RJ45 outlets in the house via an ethernet cable. If the user wants to connect several devices in a particular place, he/she can use a multimedia splitter. This is plugged into the RJ45 outlet. The splitter then has three outputs, one for telephone, one for the computer network and one for television. Figure 11: Distribution of telephone, computer and TV to eight RJ45 outlets in the home. (Illustration source: Schneider Electric)
  11. 11. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 8 Figure 12: Up to three units can be connected to one RJ45 outlet using the multimedia splitter. (Illustration source: Schneider Electric) 5. INSTALLATION TIPS When installing structured cabling, a few basic principles must be followed: Provide sufficient universal connection points (outlets) in each room. Use universal cable types, suitable for multiple applications and independent of the brand of end device. For each cable type, use one type of connection (connector), regardless of the application. Install the cables according to a fixed pattern (no spaghetti cabling), starting from a common distribution board (patch panel). Do not use daisy chain connections (looping). This makes them interdependent. Use a star topology. Respect the specified maximum lengths and install the cables in accordance with the regulations. Label each cable at both ends and draw a diagram of the installation. Measure the quality of all connections and keep these data (test report) for later. Every manufacturer provides sufficient information on how the outlets have to be connected to the cables. For example, the length to which the outermost cable insulation must be cut back is important, as is the length of the screening with STP or FTP cables. These instructions have to be strictly adhered to in order to ensure optimum data communications. Figure 13: Example of the way in which a manufacturer indicates how the connection has to be made to an outlet. (Illustration source: Niko)
  12. 12. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 9 In addition, a number of general installation rules apply. Data cables must not be bent too tightly, otherwise the twisting of the conductor pairs in the cable will be spoiled. Generally, a minimum radius is stipulated of eight times the outside diameter of the cable. Furthermore, there must be no mechanical tension on the data cables (also with regard to the twisting). Therefore, it is better to roll out the cables from a reel that can turn freely. Figure 14: Some important installation tips. (Illustration source: Niko) Care must be taken not to compress the outer sheath when securing the data cables in place. Finally, in order to avoid interference, it is important not to place data cables too close to 230V cables. 6. A WIRED OR WIRELESS NETWORK? For a home, this question is easily answered. Both are needed. Wireless devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops use the WiFi network. Other devices such as desktop PCs, network printers, network hard disks, multimedia streamers, smart TVs and set top boxes for digital TV generally perform better using a wired connection. Both types of network have their benefits and disadvantages. With WiFi, however, the list of disadvantages is longer than for wired networks. Wired and wireless networks are also used alongside each other in companies. 6.1. THE WIRED NETWORK Benefits: Provides very reliable communication at all times Has no problems with interference from other devices or the environment The speed is high Protection against attacks from outside is high The cost of a wired network is relatively low. Disadvantages: Devices must be connected to fixed points. There is less flexibility for the user (tied to certain locations). Devices with only a wireless connection cannot use them
  13. 13. Publication No Cu0234 Issue Date: November 2015 Page 10 6.2. THE WIRELESS NETWORK Benefits: The user can move freely about the home or office with his or her wireless devices. If no wired connection is available in a certain place, WiFi can offer a way out. Disadvantages: Devices with only a wired connection cannot use them. WiFi is less reliable, depending on the circumstances. The range is difficult to determine in advance. This depends on, among other things, the materials used in the building. Wooden walls block the least amount of radiation. However, concrete walls, aluminium windows and radiators can reduce the signal by up to 90%, which will quickly shorten the range and cause communication to fall short. If the range is too short, a repeater has to be used. WiFi is still many times slower than a wired network. The speed can be reduced dramatically by simultaneous use. The specified speed is never the speed of the data traffic. So-called ‘overhead’ traffic is needed to allow wireless devices to communicate with the router. This overhead traffic can take up a significant part of the total bandwidth. A disruptive influence from other devices (microwave ovens, DECT telephones, baby monitors, other WiFi networks on the same channel, etc.) operating in the same frequency band is possible. Protection against attacks or use from outside is less. Some people believe radiation has a negative effect on health. No scientific evidence has yet been provided for this. However, it has already been shown that radiation from a WiFi network can have a negative impact on the leaves of certain trees. The cost of a WiFi network can be more than for a wired network. Figure 15: The materials used for walls, ceilings and floors can seriously reduce the range of wireless networks: 1 Stone walls 20% to 40% loss. 2 Wooden and plasterboard walls 5% to 20% loss. 3 Reinforced concrete 40% to 90% loss. 4 Metal and steel 90% to 100%. (Illustration source: Niko)

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