Network Cabling – A Matter of Structure
Untying the knots
Have you ever worked in an office with bad or loose wiring? If you have, maybe you remember the network going down frequently, or people losing their connection to the LAN, or employees switching cables from plug to plug to see if they could recover the link. Not to mention when a new guy was hired. You would see him sitting down and looking at the ceiling (yes, just as if he were looking through the ceiling and could see the messy cables crossing the office) until someone took care of his connection. Picture, if you will, the scenario as it gets worse. Suddenly, communication starts failing too often, and productivity falls. A lot of times, slow speed in networks is due to bad cabling, but few people tend to think of that as a bottleneck. They’ll think of that as the last cause of the problem –but with a poor cabling, a network will go down immediately.
Before structured cabling was used, it was very difficult to identify networking problems. Because this form of cabling is made up of a number of subsystems, when a problem appears, it can be traced to a particular subsystem and fixed. This is why achieving a good network cabling structure is so important: to avoid headaches. Choosing the wrong company can bring a lot of problems in the future such as loss of data, unattended failures, and so on.
How can I tell if a network cabling company is suitable for my business?
To find a good company, get in touch with quite a few before you make your decision. Compare them. Try to find a company that has experience in a wide range of businesses. The first thing they should do is measure and study your case and then tell you what your business requires from its network, since this will determine structural things like topology, connectors, cable types, etcetera. As you might guess, a big plant doesn’t have the same needs as a small office does.
To identify your particular requirements and to start a map of your site, the network cabling installers you hire should pay you a visit before they begin any design. They will ask you if you’re expecting that your business (and thus the number of connections) will grow soon or not.
All of these aspects define the quality of a network cabling system and, of course, should first be considered by you. If you haven’t thought of them yet, take your time and ask yourself: will you need to upgrade the network cabling in the future? Will the network grow in number of connections? A good network installation is always ready to adapt and change without causing too much chaos in the process. Think of an ideal network as something solid but flexible.
Before you hire an installer company, they should give you a description of the process they’ll follow, an estimate of the time they will take, all the hardware that will be involved, and the total cost. A warranty should be given to you that explains how they’ll act if there’s a failure in the system. If you accept the quotation, then the installers must do their job meeting the expected standard, and provide a full guarantee and documentation regarding the installation.
Among the hardware aspects of your network cabling system, they’ll have to choose which kind of cable to use and explain why. As you might already know, there are different kinds of cable, and each one is more suitable than the others for certain scenarios. Because cables carry information in its physical form, they draw so well the complexity of this amazing technological world. They must be made of resistant materials; they have to be strong and adaptable. Different types of cables are made of different elements which give them different features. For example, fiber optic cabling consists of a center glass core surrounded by protective materials. It transmits light rather than electronic signals, eliminating the problem of electrical interference. That’s why it’s perfect for certain environments that contain a large amount of electrical interference.
What about WLANs?
You might think that wireless networks are the answer to avoiding cable-related issues, but that’s not necessarily true. Wireless LANs are very expensive, slower, provide poor security, and are susceptible to electrical interference from lights and radios. Usually, they become useful when thought of as a complement to a good network cabling structure.
Beyond the hardware
The network cabling map that your installers provide has to be clear, simple, and presented graphically instead of being in somebody’s head. We’re talking about discipline. If solving a problem in your network depends on a particular person’s memory, you’re creating an unsuitable dependency, since only that person will be capable of solving certain issues related to your network, and if that person stops working with you, untying all the knots will bring you one big headache.
It’s not only about hardware, but about people too. A bunch of disorganized cables won’t do much by themselves. Even more, the perfect wiring doesn’t exist. Cables tend to become untidy with time, in a non-linear way. This means that, unless you keep them ordered regularly, whenever you “open the box” to see what’s behind the clean and smooth ceiling tiles, you’ll find a mess that may take a long time to solve. A good network cabling company should take care of these aspects before they plan their wiring.
Integrated Systems Installers is a premiere network cabling expert in Denver. We have over 13 years of experience in the field. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at any time, and we’ll help you in the process of understanding your network cabling needs. Check out our case studies to see examples of installations for diverse scenarios.