A company I work for recently paid "a professional" to wire an office with Cat6 cable including terminating the RJ45 jacks in a patch panel.

When I looked at the patch panel I saw that the wires had not been terminated in the patch panel in accordance with the instructions (way to much exposed cable, and not routed out the side of the panel using the cable brackets), or what I perceive to be best practices. My primary concern is the length of exposed cable.

Here is a picture of the patch panel/wiring -

enter image description here

I am aware of the existence of the TIA/EIA 568a/b wiring codes, but have been unable to find any statement in them about exposed wiring. I've also heard conflicting information about the requirement to limit the exposed wiring. So my questions -

  1. Is there anything from the picture which speaks to whether the job was done to professional standards or not - particularly does the wiring in the image below accord with best practices and is it TIA/EIA 568 compliant.

  2. If not, what is the likely consequence of the cables not having been crimped according to the instructions ?

  • 2
    The outer sheathing is not crucial to performance (it could be for RJ45 plugs). It's the (un)twisting of the wire pair (which is not visible) that would be of concern.
    – sawdust
    Mar 15, 2017 at 3:57
  • It looks awful ergonomically for sure but if you got ETL verified certificate of conformance from installer(which actually he should gave you if he/she is really "professional") then it should work fine. I just imagine what place of installer's body thought about situation when other rack space would be used...
    – Alex
    Mar 15, 2017 at 4:40
  • @Alex - no conformance certificate. ( I've not heard of these needing to be issued in Australia , but I know very little about their laws, save they are surprisingly different to NZ ones). Is the exposed cable length just a visual thing (assuming pairs remain twisted), or can it affect performance?
    – davidgo
    Mar 15, 2017 at 19:12
  • 1
    @davidgo - We split, because in medieval age that predates us, RJ-11-like plugs had middle pair (pins 4-5 on 8P8C plug) used for analog phones, and outer pair (pins 3-6, that we split) as a second pair for system and digital phones. As the plugs are pin-key compatible, this remains with us and provides a certain level of versatility. Mar 15, 2017 at 23:47
  • 1
    Regarding your original question, the primary concern should not be a line rate, it should be reliability. Outer cable shell is there not only to contain fire, but also to relieve strain from the pairs and keep minimum radius within sane limits. What you have right now is even if these wires are attached to the outer ear on the panel with a cable tie (are they?) an entire weight of the bundle is straining and bending one pair that happened to be shortest. Even without further mounting in this rack it will slowly pull this pair off the panel Mar 16, 2017 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


@PeterZhabin comment was right on the money.

At least one of the pairs started failing some weeks after the installation, so I conclude that this job was not done to standard and the consequences started becoming aparent.

  • 1
    What does the certification report the installer gave you on the failing cable say?
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 7, 2018 at 22:24
  • What certification? The installers we're, IMHO incompetents, there was no certification. (In fairness, this was not a massive job, and I only expected it to be done competently - I've never saught certification, just competent workmanship). Unfortunately typical sparky "yes I can do data cabling" crap which is common down under.
    – davidgo
    Dec 7, 2018 at 22:28
  • 1
    An installation is not complete and accepted until every cable passes the Category-6 test suite. Until the installation is category certified, it is not suitable for use. Even experienced installers have trouble with Category-6 and Category-6a installations, and something as simple as having the blue wire on top of the blue-white wire at the punchdown can cause the cable to fail the test suite. It may actually work for a while, but not passing the test suite means it is not rated for the category. See this answer for the basic tests.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 7, 2018 at 22:36
  • I don't disagree, but we live in different worlds! My world is, for better and worse and typical in NZ/Australia) one of small businesses, "number 8 fencing wire" mentality and "she'll be right". My problem is the work looked poorly done to me, but I can't say to a non-technical boss "I don't think they did an acceptable job" - but I can say "the work is not acceptable because it does not meet the standards in X, Y and Z). Also, this post originated on SuperUser, not ServerFault - I'm looking for a "reasonable man", not ISO compliance level of OK.
    – davidgo
    Dec 7, 2018 at 23:02
  • I think under English Common Law that is applicable to you, you are entitled to get what you bargained and paid for, and you bargained for Category-6 installation, and that means the installer shows you the work meets the category certification.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 7, 2018 at 23:10

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