3 Steps to Assessing Your Cabling Needs or Requirements
Prior to hiring a possible network data cabling installer, you will need to accumulate some vital facts about your physical space for your cable wiring needs.
- Age of your building will you require plenum or non plenum (discussed below) also are there drop ceilings or had cap ceilings
- Is this an upgrade to your current network wiring or a new project
- A floor plan showing exact locations for each workstation and office should be shared with the cabling installer
- What are the total number of cable”runs” or “drops” you require
- Do you need voice (phone) or data (internet) connectivity (or both)
Once you have these answers to the above questions, you may then proceed to it’s time to start interviewing a few network cabling and wiring contractors.
Scheduling a network cabling installer site survey or pre-field
After you focus on a few potential providers, you should schedule site surveys with the providers. This is a chance to review the following items:
- Location of the drops or cable drops
- The actual path the cables will be run — in a drop ceiling, are there cubicles or along the outside of the walls requiring panduit
- Determine where the network cabling will be cross connected and terminated — a server room, a telco closet etc.
- Examine existing wiring to determine problems such as pinched, unlabeled, or workstation jacks improperly terminated.
The network cabling installer can evaluate your existing cabling and wiring, run some quick tests, and map out all your needs for an upgraded or new installation. They’ll also plan the installation around your schedule to reduce downtime and will provide you with a price estimate for the project.
Your wiring project must adhere to industry standards set by a few governing bodies such as:
- ANSI (American National Standards Institute) – Ensures compatibility between data devices
- EIA (Electronic Industries Association) – Sets standards for electrical equipment and functionality
- TIA (Telecommunications Industries Association) – Sets minimum requirements for business-grade telecommunications cabling
Of course, if this is new construction or a major upgrade to your facility local building codes will apply. Your installer should have a thorough understanding with all the appropriate regulations.
Plenum space vs. non-plenum space
If your cables are installed above a drop ceiling that is also used for an air-conditioning system, you’ll have to use plenum-rated cable. This means the cable does not emote toxic fumes in the event of a fire. Plenum cabling costs more than non-plenum wiring, but it’s necessary to maintain code compliance. Usually your building management offices can confirm if plenum cable is required.
Any other location for your cables is a non-plenum space. In these cases, network cabling installers can use less-expensive plastic-coated PVC cables.
Reviewing the above items before the site survey and during the site survey will ensure no costly surprises at installation time.