Many customers do not realise the importance of their office voice and data cabling.
Often referred to as ‘Cat5‘ (actually it is normally Category 5e or 6), this is the fundamental infrastructure for your organisation’s voice and data communications.
Over the last 21 years, as you can imagine we have visited thousands of business premises and come across varying degrees of successful and unsuccessful cabling installations.
Cabling is a specialist job and you have to know what you are doing, be properly trained, organised, methodical and accurate. All too often we come across badly installed cabling (often installed by untrained electricians and IT people – note there are some good ones so you guys don’t get defensive!).
What a lot of people do not realise is that unless the cabling is installed properly to industry standards, it will not pass a Fluke test and it will not perform properly. Although not so critical for digital or analogue telephones, this is especially important when connecting any computer device (including IP phones).
Last week we visited a long-standing customer whose data cabling had been installed by various people including an electrical firm and an IT support company – this is some of the worst cabling we have seen!
There were a lot of problems. Here we have hi-lighted two.
The first problem is how the outlets have been terminated. The coloured wires inside the
sheath are twisted at specifc frequencies in order to achieve optimal performance. When they are ‘punched down’ onto the module, there must be NO MORE than 13mm of untwisted (slack) cable (see figure 1.). In Figure 2 you can clearly see a large amount of wires left untwisted before they are ‘punched down’. This will severely slow down the data transfer.
The second problem is the communications cabinet (in fact in this particular case this was one of 3 cabinets in use). Not only was the position of the cabinet in accessible without a 15 rung ladder – when we got up there we discovered that the incorrect size of cabinet had been used and, rather than upgrading it, the cabling engineer had mounted the LAN switch to the wall beside it – just look at the mess!