Cabling: The Basic Foundations

The days of telephones and computers and other IT devices being wired separately on two different standards (telephones CW1308 and computers CAT 5e or higher) should have long gone!

Ideally, all businesses should have a form of ‘structured cabling’ (CAT 5e or higher) distributed from a central Comms Cabinet, as all new equipment requiring a telephony or networked connection(s) now have standardised RJ 45 plugs requiring RJ 45 outlets. (If you're already lost, you should probably get in touch.) 

Structured cabling provides these outlets, therefore, allows for a "plug and play" installation of devices for example:

  • Telephone
  • PC
  • Printer
  • Card-machines
  • Franking machines 

And many more, in fact any device requiring a telephony, network and or an internet connection. 

This, in turn, should help reduce installation costs of new equipment as the supplier knows the connections are to a standard so reducing engineering time.

On this point we always say you can’t have enough RJ45 outlets, we also recommend a minimum of two outlets per socket point. Very seldom do we install just one outlet as the labour to install an additional cable at the same time is negligible compared to installation it again at a later date. It's far better to have as many as you may need in the future all installed at once.

We will explain in more detail how structured cabling works from a user point of view in the next post. We will also go into more detail the different standards and why tests and certifications are important.

We can install, test and certify new structured cabling, or tidy existing installations. Below are some examples of cabling we have been asked to ‘tidy up’.

Outgrowing Your Tech

We always advise on installing a Comms Cabinet big enough for expansion. We all hope that our companies will grow, not shrink, and it's best to plan ahead. Having a cabinet that's a little bigger is more expensive, but cheaper than having to buy a larger one in a year or two in addition to your cheaper, smaller one.

Our saying is “You will always fill it”.

Messy IT Cabling Without Cabinet
Comms Cabinet IT Cabling
Tidy IT Comms Cabinet

Above example shows a business outgrowing its existing cabinet. We swapped this over one evening so the business was not disrupted. It's much tidier now!

Keeping Cables Off The Floor

IT cabling
IT Cabling Tidy Up

It’s not ideal having IT kit on the floor, it's a trip hazard if nothing else. We can offer a stop-gap solution whereby we keep the existing cable and re-terminate existing cables onto new patch panel(s) and allow equipment to be installed off the floor.

This saves on total re-cabling. We used a metal-framed bracket for this job as opposed to a full-sized cabinet as there was not enough room. 

Note: electrician installed 240v sockets after we left and tidied the job further.

Under The Stairs Cabling

IT Cabling Disaster On The Floor
New Tidy Structured Cabling IT

An historic installation of cabling in the under stairs cupboard. Again a metal framed cabinet was used and there wasn’t enough space for a full sized cabinet.
Note: the BT ISDN lines were relocated and the green cables tidied after this photo was taken

Cabling Needs Space

IT Cabling Messy
Basic Cabling Improvement

Example of bad planning by the landlord and original cabling contractor from day one
There is not enough room in a broom cupboard for IT and Telephony equipment!

All we could do here was install a new patch panel for the analogue phone system
Label and test all the sockets, then re-patch with coloured patch leads, Blue Telephones, Yellow Data

Keep Your Cables Tidy

An old school business that asked us if we could tidy things up for them, we did and the customer was pleased with the results. Cables and extension leads hanging around doesn't look good for a business and it isn't the recommended way to keep your technology safe and working at it's best. The result was not ideal but a lot better than it was!

Posted on April 11th 2018

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