It’s easy to take a new or upgraded network installation for granted. Just like anything you purchase, you expect an investment in something “new” to work perfectly. In the case of a new or upgraded network, you expect performance to be spot on: no downtime or delays, no bottlenecks and no lost productivity.

But there are a few factors that can lead to poor performance in new networks: bad products (connectors, cables, etc.) and improper system installation.

Over the years, improvements to quality-assurance processes have helped many cabling manufacturers reduce the potential for errors. As a result, incorrect installation is often the culprit of performance problems after a new network infrastructure is in place.

After a new network installation – or a major upgrade – it’s important to test cable system performance as a last check to make sure everything is installed properly and that nothing will slow down or stop your network.

Cable Testing: Certification

Certified cable testing indicates a “pass” or “fail” when network cable performance is compared to industry standards. This type of testing assures you that the new installed cabling links will provide the transmission speeds you expect.

A certified cable test can pick up on potential issues such as:

  • Cable runs that are too long
  • Too much cable tension
  • Cable kinks or damage
  • Malfunctioning cable
  • Proper connector installation
  • Improper termination
  • Crossed wires

A cable tester certified by your cabling supplier must be used to test copper and fiber cabling systems. Test results and reports from these devices are used to pinpoint the source of failures (crosstalk, return loss, etc.) for faster troubleshooting. Certified cable testers should meet Level III requirements set forth by ANSI/TIA-1152-A and IEC 61935-1/Ed.4.

Why Certification Matters

We recommend that only certified installers use certified cable testers to gauge performance.

Not only does this help protect your warranty, but certified installers fully understand the standards and technology behind high-performance cabling systems. They also know how to correctly use testers to verify system performance, ensuring that the test isn’t set up incorrectly, isn’t conducted to the wrong limits or doesn’t bring about misleading results. If the cabling system doesn’t pass a certified cable test, a certified installer can figure out why – and then correct the issue.

Certified installers may also adhere to stricter requirements regarding what’s considered a “pass” for cable performance. For example, some installers accept a “star pass” as a “pass.” (A “star pass” indicates that the measured parameter value is closer to the corresponding test limit than the guaranteed accuracy of the tester.) We believe that cabling needs to cleanly pass a certified cable test with a decent amount of headroom so it will continue to perform throughout the life of the installation.

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Belden’s Certified Installers

Belden has a global network of trained and certified cable partners – all members of the Belden PartnerAlliance – who are skilled in the design, installation and maintenance of Belden cable products and systems.

Because of their knowledge and business operations, they can offer best-in-class warranties that cover labor and products for networking, AV, security, industrial cable and whole-building systems. They are also trained to provide much more than installation services: site audit services, project design and project management, for example.

Belden PartnerAlliance installers and certified system vendors (CSVs) participate in intensive one- and two-day training courses that cover design, termination and installation best practices; testing; and more. A minimum of two technicians and/or project managers from every location must attend the course, pass a final exam and maintain training requirements (refreshing training every two years).

PartnerAlliance installers and CSVs offer peace of mind since they are carefully selected and backed by our best-in-class warranty protection, with a 25-year warranty and Lifetime Application Assurance. To find a PartnerAlliance installer in your area, click here.

To learn more about certified cable testing, or to investigate a new or upgraded enterprise network installation, contact us today!</p