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Attaching CAT 5 Network Cable to Studs and Joists
Last updated: 3/6/04

Q.  What is a good way to attach network cables to wooden studs and joists?

A.  Do not staple them with an ordinary stapler or a stapler designed for wire with a smaller diameter; e.g., the Arrow T-25 stapler, which is widely used for CAT3 and silver satin telephone wire and was used to produce the results in the picture to the right. Besides the possibility of puncturing the outer jacket and breaking or shorting the wires inside, stapling with ordinary staplers will most likely deform the cable and destroy the circular, cross-sectional geometry of the cable essential to its transmission and noise immunity characteristics.  Which means the cable probably will not work at Ethernet frequencies or will work marginally.

If you are only running a few lines, you can use cable clips. They are available at Radio Shack and in hardware stores, etc. Clips for RG-58/RG-59 coaxial cable should work well. Cable diameters (the TIA/EIA 568-B.2 Standard states that the cable diameter shall be less than 0.25 in/6.35 mm) and clips may vary, so try a sample first to make sure the clip does not squash or distort the cross sectional geometry of the cable. Clips for RG-6/RG-8/RG-11 are larger, will accommodate up to three cables, and can be hammered in place first and the cable strung through them afterward. Other sizes can be found on the Internet.

Be careful with the hammer; the plastic used for some clips breaks fairly easy and you certainly don't want to strike and destroy a cable you have spent money for and time running.

There are specialized staplers for CAT 5, 5e, and 6 cable.  I have the Acme 25AC (Product Review) and Arrow T-59 staplers and both work fine. TheT-59 is scheduled for a review in the Digest.

8/29/04 A search of the Internet turned-up two more staplers that may work OK for installing CAT 5, 5e, and 6 cable:

Telecrafter RB Clip Gun Systems (uses a clip with two brads instead of staples)

Desa PowerFast Mulit-Purpose Cable Tacker

If you don not have a stapler designed for attaching cables, you can use one that isn't to staple zip-ties (cable ties) to the studs, etc. and then secure the cable with the zip tie.

Furthermore, there is a wide range of cable hangers, trays, and other cable installation products available from companies specializing in networking products.

Whenever you pull a cable through a space that is closed or will be closed, run a pull string with it. I use kite string. Don't staple the string.

Be sure to follow the other network cable wiring rules at http://duxcw.com/digest/Howto/network/cable/cable9.htm. In particular, do not run network cable on the same stud as electrical cable.Please see our Contact page if you have any comments or corrections that would make this article better. Please use our Forums if you need help with a computer or network problem.

Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.