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Office Cabling

Your office cabling infrastructure is absolutely fundamental to your business. It will be running your telephone system and your IT network, two of the most important parts to your business, and your business will rely on this for as long as you stay in your premises.

We recognize this. We will conduct a full survey and make recommendations on voice and data cabling, which type of cabling should be installed based on distances, routes and containment and the building architecture.

The most common type of cabling installed these days is structured category 5e cabling, also referred to as cat 5 or cat 5e. Installed properly, this will support connection of any device – telephone, fax, modem, bell, cordless phone, PC, Mac, network printer, server, network switch and so on.

The idea of structured cabling is that as long as you have sockets (referred to as outlets) in the right locations and in the correct quantities, you can connect anything anywhere. Devices can easily be re-patched by your staff without any need for engineering visits.

In some instances, it may be preferable to install Category 6 cable, known as Cat 6 (or Cat6a). Cat 6 works at the same speeds at Cat 5e but offers better network performance. Both Cat 5e and Cat 6 will work to Gigabit speeds, or 1,000Mb (10/100/1000) in other words. In order to achieve this performance, your computer network switches will have to be able to run at Gb speeds. Some businesses may still use 10/100 network switches which run at 100Mb and this is fine for most businesses although more and more people are switching to Gb as they upgrade their PC infrastructure. Note that for a PC to run at Gb speeds, your PC device will need a Gb network card!

Category 6 and 6a cable is very unforgiving when it is being installed. In other words, the cables cannot be bent sharply (ie around a 90 degrees corner). Therefore, Cat 6 can normally only be installed in premises with a proper computer floor although this is not always the case.

Sometimes it will be necessary to install fibre optic cabling inside your premises. This is normally required in larger premises where the cable run from the Communications Cabinet to the required outlet location is more than 90 metres. Fibre is used to connect Communications Cabinets together so the customer still ends up with one network. In these instances, it may also be necessary to install voice cables so that analogue or digital telephone extensions can be linked from one Communications Cabinet to another.

When running fibre to connect cabinets and ‘network sections’ together, you will need network switches with fibre Gbic modules to connect your network together.

The cost of cabling varies from site to site. However, a guide price for a complete Category 5e structured cabling solution would be from £45 to £85 per outlet (one outlet required per device). Therefore, for a 30 user office requiring say 80 outlets, the price would be between £3,600 and £6,800. This would include a Communications Cabinet, patch panels, patch leads, outlets, back boxes, trunking and containment, labour, a Fluke test.

Cat6 is more expensive. Fibre is even more expensive.

Naturally, every premises is different so the above pricing should be used for budgetary purposes only – we can arrange a full survey.

Note, in our experience, using electrical contractors for data cabling is a BAD MOVE! A lot of these contractors are poorly trained or have no training at all. Similarly, some IT contractors are in the same position – some IT companies simply do not have the resource, expertise or interest in installing voice and data cabling which is a specialist job.

See our Best Practice page for examples on how to install and NOT install cabling.

Please call us now for advice and speak to Paul, Michael or Nick on 01892 676000.

What our customers say...

"I have been working with First Office for almost two years and I am always pleased with the professional way in which their team always accurately remember our technical architecture, so readily. A fun team to work with, who provide an excellent, integrated service."
NHS, Kings Hill, Kent

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