Cabling is complex and network cabling can be particularly tricky. Unlike typical phone cables that allow for plenty of errors, data cables are not the same and require a much more professional approach.
This is where professional experts and installers like Communications Solutions Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida, can be very useful for the network and structured cabling of your business.
To understand the professional installation of network cables, we must look at the common installation mistakes made by untrained, unprofessional installers.
Let’s discuss network cable installation mistakes to give you an idea of how they affect your business’s network cabling.
Here we will discuss the installation of twisted-pair cables, which are most commonly used around the world. We have excluded fiber optic cables because they are a different breed of network cables, which we can discuss another time.
Network Cable Installation Mistakes
Here are some of the most common network cable installation mistakes we see regularly when cables are installed without proper planning, training, or knowledge.
· Not Planning for the Future
Today, mass production of cables has scaled the industry and the most expensive component of network cable installation isn’t the cabling, rather the labor to install it.
Let’s assume that your business runs 100 Mbps cables and perhaps that is all you need for now. However, much of the world standard has gone up to 1 Gbps. If you were to expand or change your business’s location, would you carry on with your old cabling or upgrade to future-proof cabling?
Upgrading is something you should consider beforehand. Given that the labor will cost you more than the cables, it isn’t a bad idea to future-proof your business network by investing in superior cabling that will cater to your needs through the next generation of technology.
Your business may not need 10 Gbps cables, fiber optics, or the best available cabling but, this does not mean you shouldn’t plan for the future or go for low-end cabling to cut costs. This is a planning mistake that can cost you more to upgrade later.
· Not Matching Voice and Data Cables
Over a decade ago, twisted pair cabling was expensive, which is why many businesses installed different cabling for their voice and data needs. Since voice or telephone service only required a single pair of wires, businesses reserved the expensive cabling for their data needs.
Now, since labor is the deciding factor of expense and not cables, this type of cost-cutting is ineffective. Moreover, services like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) are the standard and have transformed telephone into a data need that requires network cabling.
Today, with the right VoIP equipment, you may be able to use your existing data cables and utilize the equipment’s built-in Ethernet switch to save on the cost of running multiple cables for your voice and data needs.
The key takeaway here is not to assume that you should use old Cat-3 cabling for your voice needs. If your business has to run separate cabling for phones, match its cabling to the type of data cables you run.
· Overlooking Cable Management
Cable management is incredibly important, especially if you are going to use heavy-duty network equipment. Often, businesses see cable management as an accessory or luxury because floor cord covers, loom tubing, rack-based cable management, and other such equipment add costs.
However, the importance of cable management cannot be overstated. It makes maintenance, troubleshooting, and upgrading much easier, offers immense safety benefits, and saves your business plenty of downtime.
Practices like organizing, labeling, and color-coding cables, are going to make your life much easier and there is no substitute for cable management. It also allows you to increase the longevity of your expensive network equipment.
· Running Network Cables Parallel to Electric Cables
If your business is using unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cables to save costs, you do not want any unnecessary magnetic fields or electromagnetic (EMF) interference around them. If you run your electric cables parallel to your UTP cables, you run a high risk of interference and crosstalk.
In a lot of extreme cases, your voice and data transmissions will not make it from one point to the other because interferences cause data loss and disconnection. If going near electrical lines is absolutely necessary, cross network cables perpendicular to minimize EMF interference.
Moreover, unlabelled electric and network cables that run parallel are a safety hazard for technicians and can easily cause sparks and fires during maintenance or repairs. If these cables do not have fire-resistant coatings, their chances of heating up and causing problems are higher.
· Running Network Cables Near “Noisy” Equipment
Crosstalk, interference, and “noise” can also be introduced to your network cabling by other things like fluorescent lights, electric motors, machines, and similar equipment that produce EMF. Plan your network cabling to avoid these interferences for smoother, noise-free network transmissions.
Note: Fiber optic cables are immune to EMF interferences. However, they are expensive and face transmission issues from other problems, like pinched cables and excessive bending.
· Incomplete Upgrades
Always remember that your network transmission speed is only as fast as the slowest component in your network. This means that if a single piece of network equipment or cable is slower than the other components, the entire network of connections will suffer.
If your equipment speeds do not match your cable speeds, then high-speed cables are useless for your network. This is why upgrading to something like a gigabit network requires more than just cables. Your network equipment needs to match the upgrade as well. This brings us to another mistake.
· Not Testing Your Network Speeds
After installation is complete, you should run a comprehensive test to ensure that your network speeds are up to standard. Testing should be performed at the upper limits of your cables and equipment to ensure they can run at their best, even if your business needs are less.
This network testing should be done after every installation, upgrade, maintenance, and repair effort.
These are just some of the most common network cable installation mistakes, and there are a few more. However, we can discuss them another time.
For now, you should follow the mentioned practices and methods to ensure your business network is running at its best.
We highly recommend the professional experts at Communications Solutions Inc. for all the network cabling, voice and data cabling, and structured cabling needs of your business in Jacksonville, Florida.
If you want to learn more about network cable installation mistakes or about the best installers and suppliers of network cabling in Florida, Contact Us Today.