Data Cabling – Good Cabling Matters

Good cabling matters

Imagine your data cabling as the road network that serves your business.  If your server room or data cabinet resembles one of the more infamous spaghetti junction road networks, your data could easily be hampered from travelling at full speed around your network. Much the same experience as you would have travelling on the M1 during peak hour. Lots of time sitting in your car, not going anywhere particularly quickly and feeling frustrated by the experience.

"I just wanted to change one plug!" is the common refrain.

This has been the experience of clients with messy networks. A new staff member needs a connection to the network and before they know it a simple change has caused a major upset. Now half the office is disconnected and no-one can access the server.

How did this happen?

The Perils of Poor Design

Having a poorly designed or maintained network can cause a myriad of difficulties.  Tangled wires are under constant pressure can cause slow connections. Or worse, that same constant pressure can cause breakages to the internal wiring of the cables completely disconnecting the user/device from the network. 

Either scenario can result in significant productivity losses, a disconnect from part of your organisation or your client base, not to mention a great deal of frustration for everyone involved.  The scenario we mentioned above, in which a client thinks they can make small changes, is a common problem with messy networks.

Common Data Cabling Errors

Another common mistake made when designing or provisioning a network is failing to plan for the future.  For instance, while today’s 100Mbps cabling may suit your present needs it doesn’t have the same capacity to carry additional loads on data cabling network created by business growth and expansion.  Neither does it allow for taking advantage of the 1Gpbs technology becoming fairly standard. 

While cable management – for instance a ladder rack – might initially seem an unwarranted expense or something that would be nice to have if we could, it in fact should be seen as essential.  Your cabling network won’t remain static.  It will grow as the demands of your business grow.  Cables will be added and times existing data cables move to keep pace with relocation of network connected devices. Labelling cables and/or using colour coded cabling will help you identify, both now and in the future, which cable belongs to which end-user or network device.  Labour is one of the highest cost components, as a general rule.  Implementing and maintaining a good, strong cable management strategy can reduce labour costs. No more trying to untangle data cables, or working out which cable relates to which device.   

Upgrades And Add Ons

Here’s a common problem. About five different companies and contractors have been through before us. No-one takes responsibility for the mess. Failing that, what they do instead is add to it.

And then you, the person who owns this mess, wants something added to it. A new CCTV system. A new data point. Whatever. And instead of it being a nice smooth operation, what we’ve got is an unintelligible riddle of cables that have to be sorted out first.  It adds to the labour component of the job and your costs rise.

Someone's Gotta Look At It

This might seem unimportant to some people. That data cabling isn’t a dirty secret kept in the back office. It doesn’t matter where you keep your comms cabinet or server racks, at some point somone has to look at it. And they shouldn’t see a complete mess. No part of your business should be a complete mess. It should be neat, ordered and efficient. Like the cabling shown above.

And even if you don’t care about your data cabling. I do. If I’m doing a job, I’m going to do it right. If I have to look at it I want to see something of beauty.

Qualified Data Cabling Installer

Last, but by no means least, it is vitally important that your data cabling installation is done by an appropriately licensed and experienced installer. Data cabling needs to be installed in line with current legislation and standards as determined and detailed by the ACMA and Australian Standards. 

Your qualified installer will ensure that your data cabling isn’t run near other devices and internal fixtures that may create ‘noise’ (fluorescent lighting, motors, other network devices, can all create noise) that disrupts the signal and prevent full utilisation of the cable and networks speed.  Attenuation is also a factor.  Data cables can only be run for a certain distance(length) before the signal they carry begins to experience attenuation.  You may be familiar with the term attenuation from speaking with your ISP.  The further a signal is carried the greater the loss of strength of the signal.  Data may begin traversing the network at 100Mbps but by the time it reaches the end-user device, the speed has reduced. The lower the speed of the network, the more lag the end user will experience; the greater amount of time that uploads, downloads and accessing network drives and elements will take.

Your qualified and experienced data cable installer will the propensity for attenuation and may recommend additional devices that will boost or repeat the signal to ensure you’re achieving the best possible speeds and use of your network. 

TES are fully qualified and experienced data cabling experts, ready to assess your needs, answer your questions and ensure an optimal data cable installation.  Feel free to give us a call, we’d love to hear from you.

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