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Office Cabling 101

By Expert Author: Sheryl Aguiza

When preparing to move into a new office space, or expand an existing one, it is important to keep in mind that you will need to run cables for many phone and computer locations. The locations for fax machines, network printers, scanners, and postage machines should also be taken into account. It is important not to overlook wireless access point locations, wiring for any door access control (key pad or card reader), door intercom, and conference room cabling.

In a conference room there may not only be a need for phone and computer connections, but also video conferencing, the ability to plug in a laptop and display on a wall mounted TV, and cable TV service. Consideration should also be given to the cable box; Will it be placed locally in the room – insight or out of the way, in a credenza or the IT room? The environment of the space will also be a factor when wiring for computers and networks because that will determine the path that the cable can be run. For example if there is standard drop ceiling with 2' by 2' ceiling tiles or an open ceiling the cables will have to be run along the baseboard, on top of HVAC ductwork, or cable trays, etc.

Generally in a drop ceiling office space, plenum fire rated cabling is required. Once we get the cable to the computer location, what type of furniture is going to be placed there? If it is a desk or table that is open on the bottom, then the voice and data cables can be terminated on the wall. If there are going to be cubicles or modular furniture then the cables will most likely need to be pulled through the furniture and terminated at the individual computer and phone systems. Cubicles and modular furniture implementations also usually require that the cabling vendor be there as the furniture is being put together. If the furniture is not going to be placed right next to a wall or column, then it will need to be determined not only how to run the voice and data cabling to the “island,” but also how the network will receive power.

The cleanest way is to channel the floor so that two conduits can be run from the wall to under the furniture. One is for the voice and data cabling and one is for the electric. Other scenarios include implementing a raised floor, bringing down a power pole from the ceiling, or some type of carpet track or “speed bump” to cover the cables. However these can still be tripping hazards. Some additional decisions that need to be made are do you want to run any additional cables to potential growth and what type of cable to use – Cat 5e or Cat 6? In most cases Cat 5e is more than sufficient, but Cat 6 is used in installations where the client may be transferring large files on their local area network. Now that the cables are in place, you need to determine your requirements for the IT room, but that discussion is for next time. If you’re thinking of moving or remodeling your office contact us for a quote on network cabling for computers, voice, data, and power.

We specialize in ethernet cabling, interoffice cabling, cat 6 cabling, and any other cabling for small businesses.

Ben Jones is the Sales Director at Everglades Technologies. He is offering caling tips to help offices, establishments and even households in setting up their cables. http://www.etny.net/meet_the_team

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