Avoiding a tangled mess of cables and conductors makes life easier. When it comes designing cabling systems for IT and phone systems, getting the cabling right the first time allows for the easier upgrades, more secured information systems and lower costs for changes and upgrades. Structural cabling avoids costly messes and tangles that can cripple an office's communication and data network.
"Structural cable engineering is a specialized field that provides a flexible wired network that can adapt to new networking technology," says Alain Bergeron, cabling engineer at ICS Engineering. "With a clean cable design, you can avoid costly cabling even when new servers, computers and IP-PBXs get plugged into the network."
Your System Analysis
Every project starts with 2 non-technical questions.
#1 - What do We Need? - There are two main types of cabling systems: business information systems and industrial control systems. They have different usage requirements and different security requirements.
For commercial offices and non-automated industrial plants, the focus is a structural cable network for business information systems. The cabling network is fixed yet flexible to allow for growth and changing personnel. Changes are simple to do at patch panels. Additions can seamlessly be added with minimal effort.
#2 - Where am We Going? - Technology needs to fit with our business operations, not the other way around. You need to ask yourself:
- What IT infrastructure do we currently use?
- What growth you expect to see in your business?
- What you think your operations will be like in 5, 10 and 15 years.
Laying the right cabling foundation today will save more in the future by not having to re-do the vast cabling system that's usually hidden in the ceiling and behind walls.
Structured Cabling Engineering
This field is similar to roadway engineering - once the pathways are firm and set, people can come and go on these arteries even though individual houses, stores and entire neighbourhoods can change over time.
How can structured cabling save me money?
You don't have to over-build today to accommodate the communication and data requirements of the future.
Having an structural cabling approach means that cross-connects, patch panels and high-capacity fiber-optic lines can be installed in the correct network places to handle changes to individual desktops, departments and even entire floors.
With cable systems designed to EIA/TIA-568(C), you save more money as times goes on.
Components of Structural Cabling
Structural cabling starts at the service entrance point where the telephone, wireless and cable demarcation point enter the building. It then goes to the IT/communication room and then to the individual users at their desks, cubicles and offices.
Copper - CAT3 (old but still around), CAT5, CAT5E, CAT6A, CAT6E.
Coaxial - is still installed in commercial units for TV & CCTV distribution but rarely used for datacom.
Fiber Optic - Single-mode and multi-mode is used as the backbones and form the large-bandwidth framework for entire floors and businesses.
IT Room - Racks, cabinets and enclosures store the equipment and cabling cross-connects. Labeling is critical for good organization.
Who Requires Structural Cabling?
Small businesses - No. As communication consultants, we see 'owner-installed' cabling and the important thing is that it works. Just avoid tripping hazards or getting 'clothes-lined'.
Medium Business - Yes. Once your organization gets to about 20 people, an organized cabling approach will avoid growing pains. Even though your people and business environment will change, the fixed cabling will be flexible to accommodate any variations. If your business starts spanning more than one floor, call us!
Large Business - Definitely. Not only is a structured cabling network flexible but it also prevents large organizational problems where one department's delay can cause huge holdups in other departments. When delays can be costly to your business, it's time to consider redundancy and fibre loops for resiliency. Avoiding downtime saves time, money and frustration for your clients.
About ICS Engineering - Cableworks
ICS Engineering has its roots in telecommunications and datacom. From the glory days at BNR & MPR Teltech (yeah, we're getting old), we have been at the forefront of TDM, DWM, TCP/IP, ATM, CDMA, UMTS and LTE. Who remembers Fiberworld? SONET is still going strong beneath our feet!
Technology and network architecture will continue to change and the one common thing that can halt future technologies is unorganized cable design. We'll help you get it right the first time to save your business time and money.