The Different Designs of Wall Plates…

one type of wall plate

As wall plates are one of the most visible components of a structured network cabling system, the various manufacturers have produced a huge variety of different designs, styles and colors to help these essential components be an aesthetically pleasing addition to your work-spaces.

Wall plates are flat metal plates that are made from plastic or metal and are generally placed on the walls throughout a building, though they can also be mounted on the ceilings or floors.

They have one or more connector outlets with-in them that are called jacks and the purpose of a wall plate is to connect an individual workstation to the network cabling system.

Types of Wall Plates

There are hundreds of different types of wall-plates to choose from all each with their own pros and cons. One of the main things that you do need to consider is if you want fixed-design or modular wall plates. A Fixed-design plate has multiple jacks that are already moulded into the wall plate so that you can’t change them. Whereas modular wall plates have individual components that can be changed to the types of connectors that you need.

When it comes to choosing the wall plates that are best for your situation, you do have to take into account that they are a component of the whole structured network cabling system, so need to be designed to be able to work with all the other components.

Location of Wall Plates

When deciding where to have your wall-plates located you obviously want them near to your workstations, but they also have to be close enough so that the wiring conforms to the ANSI/-TIA/EIA-568-B Standard. Also make sure that the wall-plates are nowhere near ant heating sources as these could cause damage to the connectors.

Vertical Position

In residential properties you can have wall plates in practically any vertical position as long as it conforms to the National Electrical Code in regards to height of the wall-plates. The standards laid out for commercial properties by the NEC are a little more stringent though.

Horizontal Position

Horizontal wall plates need to be positioned in close proximity to the equipment with-in the work area that will be utilising them and standards require that cables should be no more than 5 meters. Also horizontal wall plates cannot be placed in any stud cavity if it already has an electrical wall box.

network cabling cut out installation

Make sure to give yourself enough room or slack of cables when installing the network jacks.

Ways to Mount Wall-Plates

When you have decided on the position of your wall plates you need to also decide which type of wall mounting system that you are going to use and the three main ones are cut-in plates, outlet boxes and surface-mount outlet boxes.

Outlet boxes

Outlet boxes are just a basic box made out of plastic or metal that is attached to a stud and allows the wall plate to be screwed onto it. These are the commonest type of wall-mounting system used with-in commercial buildings and generally use one of the types of conduit to hold the cabling.

Cut-in plates

If you are need to add a new wall plate but do not have direct access to the studs, due to the drywalls being in place, you would need to cut a hole in the wall and use a type of cut-in mounting plate. There are two different types of cut-in plates and they are remodel boxes and cover-plate mounting brackets.

Remodel Boxes are made of plastic or metal and are similar to outlet boxes just a bit smaller and can be easily inserted into dry walls. They come with a template to cut the right sized hole in the wall and are held secure by either using friction tabs or screwing them to the wall.

With cover-plate mounting brackets you can mount a wall plate without having to use an outlet box and only have to cut small holes. Cover-plate mounting brackets also known as cheater brackets are made from steel or aluminium and have flexible tabs that you just push into the small pre-cut holes.

The tabs then fold over in the hole and securely hold the bracket to the drywall. There are also some types of brackets that let you put screws through the front and each of the tabs to make them more secure. Plus there are mounting brackets available that have a kind of ratchet device which grips the bracket securely in place.

Surface-mount outlet boxes

This type of mounting system is generally used on solid walls where it is either not possible or very difficult to run the cables inside. Surface-mount boxes are mounted on the wall with either screws or adhesive and are used with raceways that hold the cable. They are not the best solution though as they generally look cheap and ugly, but sometimes they are the only option to use.

installation data voice professional cabling

Our Project Manager Paul Wallace had to get his hands dirty finally!

Final thoughts

So when it comes to having your data network cabling system installed you have a variety of different makes, designs and types of wall plates that you can choose from and they can even perfectly compliment your office decor.

As with any other component of the system you do need to know and take into account the different building standards when having them installed, so it is always a good idea to have a professional installer do the job.

Why not give us at Bridge Cable a call today on (877) 832-1206