Grounding Patch Panel Safely and Correctly

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Old 01-17-18, 03:44 PM
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Grounding Patch Panel Safely and Correctly

I recently bought some shielded CAT6a cable to wire my house with ethernet for my media server. I went with shielded, because it wasn’t that much more expensive than unshielded. I have finished wiring the house, and have all the cables wired to my patch panel located in my office closet. I now need to ground my patch panel.

I have read and watched many videos on the subject, but most are for giant data centers or made by those with questionable regulator standards. I would like to ground it following any regulation needed.

Environment:
- Idaho, USA
- For the grounding wire to get outside, it must go 8’ down into my crawlspace. Then make a right angle and head 5’ to get outside.
- Normal wood house.

Questions:
- Wire Questions
o What kind of grounding wire do I need?
o Does it need to be insulated?
§ If I only need bare wire, how do I protect the exterior wire from corrosion?
o What gauge wire?
o Can the wire go straight from the grounding rod (5’ from my house) to a bus bar in my office closet (Total distance 18’)? Or do I need intermediate connections?
o Can you provide a link to the items you think I might need?

- Grounding Rod Question:
o Am I required to have 2 grounding rods, or is this low voltage enough to only require 1?
o How do I need to attach the wire to the grounding rod? Will a Grounding Rod Clamp do, or do I need to solder the wire to it?

Thanks for your help
 
  #2  
Old 01-17-18, 04:39 PM
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For your purpose, you can just ground to ground of existing electrical outlet.
If you have a switch with shielded sockets and your switch has IEC C13/C14 cord (computer power cord) and you use shielded patch cable to the patch panel (patch panel should have shielded sockets as well), then you are already grounded.
 
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Old 01-17-18, 04:41 PM
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Do not ground the patch panel. There is absolutely no need for ground in your network setup.
 
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Old 01-17-18, 05:11 PM
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This is the switch I have:
Search Results - TP-Link

All I have to do is connect my shielded patch panel to the switch with shield cable, and it will route any voltage to the ground in the outlet?
 
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Old 01-17-18, 06:33 PM
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Routing Voltage to ground?? I see no reason for a ground.
Ethernet pairs are magnetically isolated with transformers at each end
Ground is not demanded by shielded cable.
 
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Old 01-17-18, 08:59 PM
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All I have to do is connect my shielded patch panel to the switch with shield cable, and it will route any voltage to the ground in the outlet?
The switch you have will provide ground to the shield. You must use at least one shielded cable with shielded connector to connect between the patch panel and the switch.
There is no voltage to route to ground. Shielding is there to provide protection from external noise. Shielding will work even if it was not grounded, but more effective when it is grounded.

There really is no point in using shielded cable in most occasions. Even data centers don't use shielded cables.
Did you also use shielded keystone jacks on the wall?
Even if the STP cable doesn't cost much more than a UTP, all the other accessories required adds significant cost without much gain in the link quality. Twist pairs them selves do excellent job of canceling noise out. Shielding is only needed if you have to run the line parallel to power line is long length or have significant noise source next to the the wire.
 
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Old 01-18-18, 08:01 AM
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At one of the industrial sites I work there are hundreds of standard UTP cables ty-wrapped directly to machinery with 500HP motors and associated power electronic controls. We don't use shielded cable there, and the network devices work just fine. I wouldn't worry about it.
 
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Old 01-18-18, 11:38 AM
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At one of the industrial sites I work there are hundreds of standard UTP cables ty-wrapped directly to machinery with 500HP motors and associated power electronic controls.
It will work, but may affect maximum throughput of the cable. I'm sure it will work fine on 100Mbps, Not so sure of 1Gbps. Probably will max out at few hundreds of Mbps due to noise.
 
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Old 01-18-18, 01:06 PM
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a couple points on Ethernet;

I'm doing a product design now and with the 1GHz Ethernet port, we had to use shielded wire. Not because of performance, but due to Part 15 FCC radiated emissions. Since that effect is bilateral, it would be conceivable that a high frequency close source could cause data packet loss. I'm not a network guy to know for sure.
On the shield and ground. Grounding and shielding are independant. In fact, if shielded wiring is used to shield a system, random grounding here and there of the shields can do no good and could do worse. It can set up shield currents due to voltage differences at these ground points, that can be coupled to the interior wires. Exactly what shields are trying not to do.

Analog Devices AN347 is a classic, old description on the shielding problem.
 
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Old 01-19-18, 12:03 PM
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I would ground the patch panel.

Technique #1 -- Get a long wire, #12 gauge suggested, and connect it, daisy chaining among all the pieces of equipment, fastening it to a screw penetrating to the equipment chassis or to the shell of one of the input or output jacks in back. Connect the far end of the wire to a known ground, which could be the screw holding the cover plate of a nearby up to date correctly wired receptacle.

Technique #2 - Run a separate ground wire from the equipment in question down to the panel exactly, roughly, or vaguely following the route of branch circuit wires.. Should this wire first reach a fat ground wire (grounding electrode cvonductor) running to a ground rod or a water pipe, it may end and be clamped on there.

Formally, ground wires of this kind are typically connected to an intersystem grounding bridge, which is simply a terminal strip attached to an aforementioned fat ground wire.

For this run I would suggest a wire sized equal to the ground wire of the heaviest loaded branch circuit passing within 5' of the patch panel, for example a 20 amp air conditioner circuit requires a 12 gauge circuit so the newly strung separately run ground wire would be #12 gauge.

One advantage of proper grounding of signal circuits and patch panels is that, in case of connecting to external equipment such as a cable TV company's line, the chance of damage to your equipment because of defective wiring in the external system is greatly lessened.
 
 

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