A Beginner’s Guide to Running Cables in Your Office
Arguably one of the most important parts of running a business is the physical infrastructure of your office environment. This involves ensuring that the cabling of all network assets is properly implemented. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, as no two businesses will utilize the same setup. We’ll walk you through some of the variables that you’ll need to consider during the cabling process, and what you can do to make it easier to handle.
Keep in mind that this article assumes that you’re either in the process of cabling your office, or you’re looking to expand your infrastructure. As with most time-consuming projects, your office’s cabling is something that you’ll want to get done right the first time so as to avoid more expenses in the future.
How Many Wired Endpoints Do You Have? This variable is determined by how many wired devices you need to physically hook up to your in-house network. This includes servers, networking components, workstations, and some other odds and ends that help your business maintain operations. The reason we ask that you know this variable is because it will have a heavy impact on how your office can be most-effectively cabled. Of course, the location of each device will also be of the utmost importance, but you can’t really know this without first considering the actual layout of your office.
One really important tip; plan ahead and run twice as many cables as you think you need. This will save you a lot of time and money if you need to expand your capabilities, put in extra workstations, or run into an issue with the primary cable you’ve already installed.
What’s the Setup of Your Office? You might want to pull out a floor plan or two for this one. When we talk about the setup of your office, we mean the actual physical office itself. How many floors do you have, and do all of them need access to data? Are there walls that will make it more difficult to get a Wi-Fi signal extended throughout your building? How about a server room? Does it have enough access to the rest of your network, and are you able to connect devices that need access to your servers? Furthermore, do you own the building, or do you rent it? If you rent, you might run into complications with elements of your setup/expansion.
How Flexible Do You Want to Be? It’s tough to plan for the future when you’re focused on the short term, especially when it means more work for you and your IT department. However, it’s not easy to change your office’s cabled network once it’s been implemented, which is why it’s so crucial that you go through this extensive implementation process in the first place. In fact, if you haven’t gotten yourself in too deep with your cabling infrastructure, there may be other solutions that you can implement to help you cut down on the cost of labor.
Understand the Best Practices There are a lot of best practices when running cable, depending on the type of cable you are running. For instance, Cat5/Cat6 cable should not be ran along with electrical, or be placed at 90 degree angles. Some cables require specific types of terminations while others give you more options. Having someone familiar with network infrastructure on hand will definitely be handy before you start working with your every-day maintenance person. We’d be happy to work with you to make sure you are on the right track.