“A cable is a cable is a cable, right? It shouldn’t matter how you install them as long as you have good quality equipment.”
This type of thinking will get you in trouble.
A great cabling contractor can tell you about all the bad cabling installation jobs he’s had to go in and fix and how much the office improved afterwards. A bad cabling contractor means decreased speed, increased interference, poor network performance, and WiFi dead zones. At its worst, bad cabling installation can even mean fire hazards.
Medlin Communications has been called in enough times to solve IT network issues, only to find out the issue wasn’t with the computers, routers, or servers — but was a cabling issue, instead. If a cabling install is bad enough that it needs to be completely redone, then it often means a lot of money coming out of your pocket.
Don’t skimp on your cabling contractor. Take a look at eight consequences of a bad cabling contractor below.
WiFi Dead Zones
Poor cabling installation can cause WiFi dead zones in a few different ways. Where your router is placed when the network is set up can have major repercussions on your internet connectivity. Buildings made out of brick or metal, or older buildings with chicken wire supports in the walls, can block your WiFi signal. Many office buildings are made with brick, and plenty are renovated historic buildings. Brick and WiFi make for a very bad connection.
If you work in a non-WiFi friendly office, your cabling contractor needs to be very smart about where he puts the router. If he places it in the wrong spot, your WiFi may not cover the whole office, creating dead spots.
However, if your wifi signal dies just outside of the one room it sits in, you could be lacking the right amount of power for the WiFi. This is often a sign of larger structural issues. If this is the case, your cabling may not be installed correctly. There could be a weak connection between cables or the wrong type of cable could have been used over an incorrect distance, creating a low power flow.
When working with copper cables, a cabling contractor needs to consider the amount of electromagnetic interference nearby. Electromagnetic interference can be induced by the presence of electrical equipment like motors, air conditioners, fluorescent lights, and power lines. Unfortunately, when there is electromagnetic noise, it interferes with the transmission of signals.
If your office is located in a heavy industrial building, a quality cabling contractor will probably suggest using either fiber optic or coaxial cabling. These two types of cabling are not nearly as susceptible to EMI (electromagnetic interference) as twisted pair copper cabling.
Crushed Fiber Cables
When a cabling contractor works with a combination of copper and fiber cabling, cable placement becomes a large factor in the quality of your network. If copper cables are placed with too much weight on top of fiber cables, then your fiber cables could be crushed, requiring new cables to be installed.
Fiber cables are often more durable than you might think. However, a good cabling contractor will take all steps necessary to avoid losing signal by crushing or bending fiber cables. Quality cabling contractors will separate copper and fiber cabling within trays. If your cabling contractor isn’t aware of the requirements of bend radius and weight for fiber cables, they could use cabling ties to attach the cables. This creates increased bend radius and signal loss which slows down your network.
Crosstalk happens with copper cabling, when one pair or channel transmits a signal that negatively affects the other pair or channel. Crosstalk can lead to a phenomenon like hearing someone else’s phone conversation when you’re on the phone.
There are two different types of crosstalk: near end and far end. Near end crosstalk is measured at the same end of the cable where the signal is sourced. Far end crosstalk occurs at the opposite end of the cable from where the signal originates. A good cabling contractor should be able to decrease the amount of crosstalk on your lines by avoiding Cat5 or Cat5e cables, avoiding wires that are too tightly bundled, and separating cables appropriately.
When the wrong cables are run over the wrong distance, you can have severely decreased speed. For example, Cat6 cables support a 10GB speed of ethernet, but if you stretch the cable farther than 164 feet, the speed is limited to that of its predecessor, Cat5e. A good cabling contractor will know exactly how to set up the cables in your office to cover the whole room and provide you with the fastest internet speed.
Poor Design Efficiency
An efficient network design involves properly bundled high-tech cables with a high port density. An easy way to assess the efficiency of your design is to count the number of ports per unit of rack space. The higher the port count, the better your design efficiency.
Design efficiency makes your cables easier to work with. Cables should be appropriately labeled and organized so that they’re easy to work with and look neat. An office with cabling strewn across the floor and tangled within the server room decreases the efficiency of your network and makes the cabling harder to work with should it need any work done. When you work with a good cabling contractor, your IT network should look neat and tidy with easy-to-read labels.
Shorter Cabling Lifetime
A poor cabling contractor may not be up-to-date on the latest trends of the cabling world. When your cabling network is installed with last year’s cables, you’re looking at a shorter overall cable lifetime. It’s important to future-proof your network as much as possible. This means using the best technology out there now, so you don’t have to replace your network sooner in the future.
Your cables are the backbone of your office building. When a cabling contractor installs them with outdated technology, they may not integrate smoothly with your other office systems. Or they will not be able to integrate at all with any updated office systems, like VoIP, that will likely be integrated you’re your systems within the next few years. You pay a lot of money for cabling installation. Don’t pay it all again because the cabling contractor didn’t plan for the future.
Work with a Quality Cabling Contractor
A cabling contractor holds your office network in his hands. It doesn’t pay to skimp out. Instead, choose a great quality contractor who will get it done right, the first time.
Medlin designs, implements, and maintains reliable and secure IT networks. We specialize in system integration that relies on great cabling installation. We believe that systems should be set up right the first time, and we won’t settle for a system that doesn’t work the way you need it to.
If you’re ready for an IT network that works, get in touch with Medlin today.