Saturday, May 5, 2012

Using a Single Horizontal Cable Run for Two 10Base-T Connections

Let's face it, you will sometimes fail to run enough cable to a certain room. You will need an extra workstation in an area, and you won't have enough connections. Knowing that you have a perfectly good four-pair UTP cable in the wall, and that only two of those pairs are in use, makes your mood even worse. Modular Y-adapters can come to your rescue.
Several companies make Y-adapters that function as splitters. They take the four pairs of wire that are wired to the jack and split them off into two separate connections. The Siemon Company makes a variety of modular Y-adapters (see Figure 1) for splitting 10Base-T, Token Ring, and voice applications. This splitter will split the four-pair cable so that it will support two separate applications, provided that each application requires only two of the pairs. You must specify the type of splitter you need (voice, 10Base-T, Token Ring, etc.). Don't forget, for each horizontal cable run you will be splitting, you will need two of these adapters: one for the patch-panel side and one for the wall plate.

Figure 1: A modular Y-adapter for splitting a single four-pair cable into a cable that will support two separate applications
Many cabling professionals are reluctant to use Y-adapters because the high-speed applications such as 10Base-T Ethernet and Token Ring may interfere with one another if they are operating inside the same sheath. Certainly you should not use Y-adapters for applications such as 100Base-TX. Furthermore, Y-adapters eliminate any chance of migrating to a faster LAN system that may utilize all four pairs.

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