US RE43221 E1
A structured cabling system includes a plurality of data cables (6A-6F), one end of each cable being secured to a jack of a multiple jack assembly (1) and the other end of each cable being secured to an individual jack (9A-9F) located within a protective enclosure (11). The individual cables are mechanically secured to at least the protective enclosure (11) and/or a strain relief member (8) within the cable bundle is secured to the protective enclosure (11). The entire assembly may be pre-formed under factory conditions and delivered to an installation site. The multiple jack assembly (1) may then be secured, preferably by snap-fitting, to a rack assembly and the protective enclosure (10) may be used to draw the entire cable length to the required position. Once the cable is in position the protective enclosure (10) is discarded and the jack secured to their final use positions. In an alternative embodiment the protective enclosure forms a housing for jacks (9A-9F) in their final use position and may, for example, be snap-fitted to a floor box for this purpose.
1. A structured cabling system comprising:
a plurality of individual data cables, each data cable defining opposite first and second ends and including eight separate wires,
a multiple jack assembly containing a plurality of first jacks, a separate first jack being associated with a separate data cable, all eight wires at a first end of each data cable being electrically connected to the same associated first jack,
a plurality of second jacks, a separate second jack being associated with a separate data cable, all eight wires at a second end of each data cable being electrically connected to the same associated second jack, and
a protective enclosure surrounding said plurality of second jacks.
2. A structured cabling system according to
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9. A structured cabling system according to
10. A structured cabling system according to
11. A structured cabling system according to
12. A method of installing a structured cabling system at a use site which comprises the steps of
(a) providing a structure structured cabling system which includes a plurality of individual data cables, each data cable defining opposite first and second ends and including eight separate wires, a multiple jack assembly containing a plurality of first jacks, a separate first jack being associated with a separate data cable, all eight wires at a first end of each data cable being electrically connected to the same associated first jack, a plurality of second jacks, a separate second jack being associated with a separate data cable, all eight wires at a second end of each data cable being electrically connected to the same associated second jack, and a protective enclosure surrounding said plurality of second jacks,
(b) delivering said structured cabling system to the use site,
(c) conveying said multiple jack assembly to a first location at said use site for installation in a support housing, and
(d) conveying said protective enclosure with second jacks to a second location at said use site for installation of at least one of said second jacks at said second location.
13. A method according to
This application claims the benefit of International Application No. PCT/GB03/05387 filed on Dec. 11, 2003, which claims the benefit of GB Application 0228929.6 filed on Dec. 11, 2002. The disclosures of the above applications are incorporated herein by reference. This application is a reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 7,375,282, which issued on May 20, 2008, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a structured cabling system and to a structured cabling method for installing structured cabling into a building.
2. The Prior Art
Structured cabling systems for distribution of voice and data information around a building are well known. Typically, a Category 5 (“Cat 5”) or Category 5e (“Cat 5e”) system will comprise one or more rack mounted patch panels, each having a plurality of RJ45 jacks. Each jack of each patch panel will have connected thereto a length of data cable. Each length of data cable, at the end remote from the patch panel, will have connected thereto a jack which is typically mounted in a floor box or wall outlet.
Conventionally, installation of a structured cabling system as described above is carried out by first running lengths of cable, cut from reels of cable, between each position where a floor or wall outlet is required, and a comms room. The cables are temporarily labeled for identification purposes. Cable installation is typically carried out at an early stage of building fit-out and can be done by unskilled staff. At a late stage in the fit-out, a rack system is installed in the comms room. The cable ends in the comms room are cut to length and each cable is terminated to the correct jack on a patch panel, taking account of the cable labeling previously provided. The far end of each cable is then terminated to a jack in a floor or wall box and each cable and its connections is tested. Any faults are rectified and the patch panels are then fixed to the rack.
The existing method of installing structured cabling, as outlined above, has a number of well recognized disadvantageous. Notably, termination of the cable to the patch panel and remote jack is somewhat problematic under site conditions. Skilled personnel are required to make the necessary terminations reliably, and if the terminations do not meet the test standard, re-termination is required. The time required on site to install the structure cabling system is considerabIe, resulting in general inconvenience and cost. On-site testing is difficult and time-consuming. These problems are significant when the installation is to Cat 5 or Cat 5e standards. However, the problem becomes considerably worse if the installation is to Category 6 (“Cat 6”) standard or is a fibre optic installation because of the greater difficulties in obtaining the required quality of termination under site conditions for these systems.
We have now devised an arrangement which overcomes many of the difficulties and shortcomings outlined above. The preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a structured cabling system in which all the required termination and testing is carried out under factory conditions. Forming terminations to the required standard under factory conditions is substantially easier than attempting to carry out termination to the required standard under site conditions. Further, performance testing carried out under factory conditions is considerably quicker and more accurate than is possible using field equipment. If any rectification is required, this is easier to carry out under factory conditions than under field conditions. On site installation is considerably quicker and can be carried out by unskilled or semi skilled personnel.
In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention a structured cabling system comprises: a plurality of cables each terminated to a multiple jack assembly which includes an individual jack for each of the data cables; an individual jack terminated to each data cable at the end thereof remote from the jack module; and a protective enclosure surrounding the terminations the individual jacks to protect them from accidental damage during installation.
In one embodiment of the invention the protective enclosure and/or the multiple jack assembly is connected to the cables by a mechanical connection which pet; permits the cables to be pulled by pulling the protective enclosure or multiple jack assembly, as the case may be.
In one embodiment of the invention, the data cables are laid around a stain strain relief member to form a composite cable. With such an arrangement a complete assembly comprising the multiple jack assembly, the data cables, the individual jacks and the protective enclosure may be assembled under factory conditions and transported as a unit to a site. At the site, the multiple jack assembly may be secured to a rack and the protective enclosure used to draw the cable through the building to a position adjacent the required position of the individual jacks. The protective enclosure may then be removed and the individual data cables unlaid to provide for the necessary positioning of the individual jacks in their wall mounted or floor mounted outlets. In the alternative the individual jacks may be mounted to a single outlet structure, for example a single floor box. In one embodiment of the invention the protective enclosure is not removed at the end of the installation procedure, but rather remains in place to protect the terminations to the individual jacks. Under these circumstances, the individual jacks and the protective enclosure may together be secured as by snap fitting to a purpose designed wall or floor box to provide a plurality of adjacent individual jacks. The entire operation may be completed without affecting the termination of the data cables and without applying mechanical stain strain to the connections.
If a stain strain relief member is employed it may also be anchored to the body of the multiple jack assembly. If this is done, the cable may be drawn in the opposition direction—i.e. from the wall or floor outlet to the comms room by applying a drawing force to the multiple jack assembly.
Preferably, a housing is provided for receiving a plurality of multiple jack assemblies, the arrangement being such that when multiple jack assemblies are in position, the resultant combination of housing and multiple jack assemblies has an appearance similar to that of a conventional rack-mounted patch panel. Preferably, the multiple jack assemblies snap-fit into the housing and can easily be released from the housing, for examples by depressing a release latch. Preferably, the multiple jack assemblies comprise an enclosure which encloses the jacks and termination fittings and is secured to the composite cable to ensure strain relief.
In a particularly preferred arrangement the multiple jack assemblies are connected to the housing, by offering up multiple jack assemblies to the rear of the housing and clipping them in position. Accordingly, it is not necessary to feed the individual jacks, the protective enclosure or the data cable through the rack-mounted housing.
In one embodiment of the invention both ends of the cable assembly are terminated in a multiple jack assembly. The multiple jack assemblies may be identical to each other. With such an arrangement the multiple jack assemblies maybe snapped into position into carriers in respective rack assemblies so as to provide interconnected patch panels which may be within the same or different comms rooms or cabinets.
The invention will be better understood from the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof, given by way of example only, reference being had to the accompany drawings.
Referring firstly to
Referring now to
In use, the protective enclosure 11 would be closed by means of a cover which forms a snap-fit with the base 10. The enclosure protects the individual jacks 9A-9F and allows strain to be applied to the composite cable without applying strain to the terminations of the individual cables to the IDC connectors. Preferably, a pulling eye 12 is formed in the protective enclosure to allow a pulling rope to be attached to the protective enclosure. Alternatively, if appropriate strain relief is provided at the multiple jack assembly end, a pulling rope may be attached to the multiple jack assembly to enable the multiple jack assembly to be pulled towards its eventual location.
The exact point at which the individual data cables 6A-6F are formed into the composite cable 7 will depend on the nature of the data installation in question. However, over he the majority of the distance between the multiple jack assembly 1 and the protective enclosure 11 the cables will be in the form of a single composite cable to facilitate easy handling of the complete assembly. In some instances, the act of laying the individual cables will form a composite cable of the required structural integrity. However, in general it is envisaged that some means would be provided for holding the composite cable in its composite form. Such means may, for example include over-wrapping of the cable with a suitable film material. The means used for holding the cable into its composite form will be chosen having due regard to the need to be able to bend the composite cable without imposing undue strain on any one individual cable within the composite.
Termination of the individual data cables to the individual Jacks 9A-9F, i.e., the connection of the individual wires in the data cables to respective contacts of the jacks, and subsequent testing, is accomplished under factory conditions.
Once a complete cabling assembly comprising multiple jack assembly, data cables, individual jacks and protective enclosures has been formed and tested under factory conditions, it will be transported to site. To this end, a carrier is preferably provided. The carrier preferably includes a drum for receiving the data cables and means for accommodating and holding the multiple jack assembly and the protective enclosure. Several complete cable assemblies may be mounted on the same delivery device depending on their length. The carrier is transported to site by any suitable means, for example, road transport, and is taken to the general area where the structured cabling installation is required. In general, a rack arrangement will be provided in a comms room or cabinet. In the case of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the rack is provided with a plurality of individual housings 13 (
Having snap-fitted a multiple jack assembly 1 into tie correct position in the associated housing 13, the data cables are guided through the communication enclosure by conventional means or by use of special purpose clips 16 as illustrated in
It will be appreciated that the entire data installation process, as outlined above, can be effected on site without disturbing the terminations between the data cables and their associated jacks. Further, no on-site testing of the completed installation is necessary.
Although in general it will be desirable to start the cable laying exercise from the comms cabinet/comms room by installing the multiple jack assembly to its associated housing and then laying the cable to the required position, it is to be understood that under certain circumstances it may be desirable to start the cable laying exercise at the individual jack end of the assembly and lay the cable to the comms cabinet/comms room where the multiple jack assembly is secured in position.
In one embodiment of the invention the data cables are provided in pairs connected together on a common line in a generally “8” shaped cross-sectional arrangement. In order to provide the six cables of the illustrated embodiment of the invention, three such double “8” cables are laid around the strain relief member 8. The resultant bundle may be secured together by any appropriate means, for example, adhesive bonding or binding. In the case of a six cable arrangement as illustrated, the three different “8” shaped cable pairs may be of different colours. One data cable of each pair preferably includes an appropriate indicator, for example a continuous or near continuous line of printed text. By this means each individual jack 9 can readily be associated with a particular one of the jacks of the multiple jack assembly by visual inspection.
In an alternative embodiment of the invention six individual cables are laid about a central strain relief member. The individual cables can be of any suitable type. Preferably, the cables are provided with end-to-end identification means, for example in the form of a continuous printed legend on each cable or in the form of coloured or raised identification strips or bumps. This will assist in identifying which jack of the multiple jack assembly is connected to which of the individual jacks at the remote end of the cable assembly. However, use of identifying characteristics on the cables is not essential if all termination is carried out under factory conditions. Preferably, each of the jacks has associated therewith indicia which may be used to identify which of the jacks at the multiple jack assembly is connected to which of the jacks at the remote end of the structured cable assembly. The indicia may be in the form of a labeling system. Preferably, the label or labels of the multiple jack assembly are visible from the rear of the assembly so that they can be viewed from the rear of the comms cabinet.
In some applications, for example those using Cat 6 cable, it may be desirable to position the individual cables within the bundle to reduce alien cross-talk. For example, it may be desirable to lay the cables in an A-B, A-B, A-B sequence around the strain relief member.
Referring now to
In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the ends of the cables remote from the multiple jack assembly are not terminated to jacks. Accordingly, the structured cabling system as supplied comprises a plurality of cables aeh each terminated to a multiple jack assembly, the cables being bundled with a strain element to enable the bundle cable to be drawn into the required position. With such an arrangement, individual termination is necessary on site, but such termination is restricted to the ends of the data cable remote from the comms cabinet or room.
In yet a further alternative embodiment both ends of the cable are terminated in multiple jack assemblies each substantially identical to the other. Both multiple jack assemblies are preferably of the form illustrated in
It is envisaged that, in many instances, each cable assembly will be manufactured to a specific length determined by the particular installation. Such specific lengths may be identified by site survey or from scaled plans of the proposed installation site. It is envisaged, however, that cable assemblies may be manufactured in a range of predetermined standard lengths. It is expected that manufacture of assemblies to predetermined standard lengths will be somewhat more economic than individual manufacture to specific lengths and in the circumstances where standard length cables may be utilized for a particular installation this may provide a more economic solution to the installation problem than the use of individually manufactured cables.
Referring now to
Whilst the invention has been described with particular reference to copper cabled arrangements it will be appreciated that the principles of the present invention may be applied to optical fibre arrangements if an optical fibre system is required.