Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Edmonton, AB, Can
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Another major source of crosstalk is the termination. The Cat 5 spec has a requirement for maximum untwisted wire length at the termination, but probably half of the installations I've seen exceeded it.
I highly recommend terminating your Cat-5 with snap connectors like those from Panduit or Northern Telecom. To use those connectors, you simply cut the insulation on the wire back, spread the wires out to match the color code on the connector, push the wires into the connector, and snap on a plate which cuts the wires to length and makes the electrical connection. It guarantees Cat-5 specs without any special skills. Panduit installed something like 70,000 in Cisco's head offices without a single failure. You don't need any special tools for this - no crimpers, strippers, etc. You can do the whole thing with an exacto knife and a set of pliers.
Another source of crosstalk is tight wire bends. The Cat-5 standard also specifies the minimum radius for a bend. So when you're pulling the wire, make sure you don't make tight 90 degree bends all over the place.
I prefer running Cat-5 in conduit to get a nice even pull and guarantee the right radius for all bends, but if you don't want to do that here's a trick I figured out on my own: Go to Home Depot and buy a few curved plumbing pieces, either for gray electrical conduit or black plumbing. They are cheap, like a buck each or so. Then, Wherever you want to bend the cable, just attach one of the pieces with some metal strapping, and pull the wire through it. That will give you a nice low-friction bend so you can pull wire without having someone else to feed it around the corner, and it guarantees a radius that is greater than Cat-5 requires. Then just leave them in the wall when you close it up.