This post is intended to help the office managers have a better understanding of what to expect and ask when looking to hire a cabling company as well as helping the cabling professional to set clear expectations when doing the job.
I based the post on my experience doing numerous cabling jobs for different businesses in New York and New Jersey, though i may not touch on every single aspect that needs to be addressed I definitely touch what can be considered as the baseline for a successful cabling job implementation.
I’m focusing here on Ethernet twisted pair cabling as it is what I deal with for LANs in office environments.
For the business owner:
- Sketch out the plan: A simple office plan layout would be of great help before contracting the cabling company. This is especially true when moving into a new office environment where managers may overlook important things such as placing desks close to power sources.
- Get all decision makers and department managers involved ( if applicable): Getting everyone in agreement of their desks positions avoids delaying the project and incurring in new charges.
- Know what you need: Many times the business owner request to have cable runs without really considering what they need. When counting the cable runs you need just don’t focus on the computer but think about the other devices that require network connections that are part of the users’ environment.
- Plan for expansion: Chances are you already know if you’ll be adding new employees in the near future, if you’ll be adding a new network device, etc. This is the time to do it, cable runs can become intrusive jobs in an office environment disrupting business operations, have you cabling professional take care of it while they are doing the other runs.
- Know what you are paying for: Having a clear understanding of what you are paying will avoid unpleasant situation at the end of the project. Depending on the contract, the cabling professional might be responsible for the runs, including the jacks, wall plates, actual cables and the termination at the patch panel. Once everything is ran and tested the job can be considered done. Well for network operations they still need a switch, patch cables, and many other network configurations that may not be part of the cabling job contract.
- You get what you pay for: Ethernet cables are like the arteries in your body, they carry the essence of what makes your network alive. Every company have their own pricing model, some charge by drop, others by the hour, etc. Talk to cable professional if you want to find a way to bring the cost but it without compromising on quality. They might be able to help you based on the amount of work or future work. In my case I give my customers a special rate when running cable drops because i already have other business relationships with them, be it managed IT support, security solutions, consulting services, etc.
For Cabling Professionals:
Many of the points professionals need to keep in mind are the same as the business’ owners.
- Do a walk through (if applicable): Have customer show you where they want the cable drops. Make recommendations as needed.
- Create diagram: Outline location and amount of each network connection. After document is reviewed have the project owner sign it off.
- Specify the technology use: will you use Cat 5e, Cat 6, shielded or unshielded twisted pair, EIA 568A or EIA 568B, etc.
- Ensure the customer understands what they are paying and any fee associated for extra parts and work: Do you provide the patch panel as part of the job or charge extra for it? How do you address the changes in locations or adding new cable runs. Have those clearly stated in the contract.
- Use cable management: use ladder rack, rack base cable management or the like will make maintenance much easier for the administrator.
- Stay off the grid: don’t run cables on top of the drop ceiling. Not only makes it a cleaner job but it also may avoid issues as running cables by power lines and other electromagnetic fields that might cause issues.
- Don’t cut corner: Let’s show the highest level of professionalism at every job, even when the customer doesn’t see what’s happening behind the scene. If you need to run a new cable do it, don’t splice it if it got damaged during the run.
- Use different jack colors for Voice and Data: Though not necessary it’ll make administration much easier when all the yellow jack are for voice and the blue for data.
- Use different color patch cord for different devices: This is more of a network administrator task but should also be implemented by the installer if required to patch in devices. It’s a network administrator best practice to use certain patch cord color for printers, computers, access points, medical devices, etc.
- Always carry a vacuum cleaner or sweeper with you: Cabling jobs tend to be messy so it doesn’t hurt to have a vacuum cleaner available in case you need it.
- Test and Label every connection: I can’t stress this more. Identifying each connection at the patch panel and wall jacks is imperative for network administration and management. This will save the network administrator tons of headaches and perhaps the cable installer from coming back just to trace a cable.
I hoped the article have been helpful to you, the last advice i can give that applies to the installer and business owner is to keep the communication channel open, always bring up concerns or doubts as soon as they come up.
Feel free to contact us if you are in need of Cabling jobs in NYC or New Jersey. JDTech is an IT Service Provider company located in North Bergen, NJ offering fortune 500 technical solutions and implementations to small and mid-sized businesses. We achieve our goals by aligning technical solutions with businesses’ needs, goals, and implementing scalable solutions. Contact us with any technical needs at 888-580-4450 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.jdtechsolutions.net for more information.