Establish Your Own Cabling & Infrastructure Standards

You probably have a standard phone type for everyone’s desk, a standard PC all employees, even a standard type of data equipment in your communication room. If you are preparing to start a new structured cabling project, there is a simple but very important item to check off before beginning: defining your company’s cabling standards.

There is a lot that goes into the preparation including: Selecting the right contractor and checking their references, selecting the correct cabling standard; Category 5e, Category 6, Category 6A, or fiber optics, determining how many total cables are needed in your building, suite, or at each location/outlet. What type and how many feed cables are necessary from the demarcation point of the Carrier Services company to your communication room.  The cost/budget and timing/lead-time are very important factors as well.

Here are some tips to create well thought out cabling/infrastructure standards for your company:

  1. Create a labeling scheme that makes it easy to identify a cable out on the floor.

(When ECS designs a system we usually use this sequence: Building/Floor/Com Room/Rack Location/Patch Panel/Port)

  1. Standardizing on a jack color for different types of devices can give you, your IT staff and employees a quick reference on where they can or should plug a device into the wall.  Example would be having white for voice, blue for analog devices and orange for data.  This is less important when creating a “universal” system that allows for every jack to go to the same patch panels and be used for “all of the above”.  But, if you need or want that separation, different colored jacks (and patch cables in the communications room) are a great way to achieve it.
  1. Using faceplates with more ports than necessary can save the cost of replacing that faceplate later.  If every station is a standardized at two cables, the cost of using a four-port faceplate instead of a two-port is negligible.
  1. Standardize on one brand, color and type of cable and jacks so you have an interchangeable system.  A lot of manufacturers use what is known as “keystone” jacks and faceplates.  These are mostly interchangeable, but not always.  ECS recommends using these.  Keep a record of what you have installed for future reference.

Other items you may want to consider for future proofing:

  1. add extra cables now to areas that may have growth to save expense in the future.  If you have an area in your space that you can fore see adding new employees in the future, why not put in some extra cable now, instead of paying for it later when there is furniture/people in the way and it costs more to install.  Not to mention the interruption in your business for the time it takes to install in new cables.
  1. Make sure to have an accurate floor plan or “as-built” of your space with the voice and data outlets clearly marked.  This makes finding the correct cables, jacks, & patch panel ports easy.
  1. Document adding any Moves, Adds, or Changes (MAC) you may perform after the install for an accurate record of your cabling/infrastructure.

(Article by Charles Bressler – ECS Account Manager)


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