Your Cable Installation Checklist!
The installation of data cabling, known also as structured cabling, may have more ins-and-outs than you realize.
Data cabling refers to the wiring that supports computer and other hardware uses. In most cases, a given installation has certain requirements or considerations that may not seem apparent. Keep this checklist handy to avoid installation problems.
- Plenum vs. non-plenum ceilings – A plenum ceiling uses its cavity as the return-air vent instead of duct. These ceilings require “plenum-rated cabling,” which burns slower if exposed to fire or extreme heat, thereby emitting lower amounts of chemicals. This is required by code, but some firms will install plenum in all circumstances as an extra safety measure. However, since its plastic coating is thinner, plenum tears easily compared to non-plenum cabling. To prevent tears, installers should be extra careful when routing plenum around corners or edges. If tears occur, you may have to reinstall the cabling, which can drive up costs and frustrations.
- ‘End-to-end solutions’ offer warranties – These refer to an installation that uses data jacks and cabling made by the same manufacturer or cooperating manufacturers. Manufacturers typically offer 20- to 25-year warranty coverage for the jacks and cable (if the installed cabling is not disturbed). You may also be able to sell the warranty with the building, if such opportunities arise. Therefore, end-to-end solutions may offer a warranty advantage.
- Data closet location – Don’t let the data closet’s location become an afterthought when constructing a facility. Depending on the facility’s square footage, the cost of the installation only goes higher the farther data closets are from workstations, conference rooms, etc. Centralizing data closets or using a “star configuration” when designing your cabling and connections may offer tremendous savings.
- Installation practices — Proper designing, planning, adequate pathways and installations adhering to industry standards allow for future changes and adds without undue costs. One thing certain is changes always occur, even with the best-planned projects. With installations involving drop ceilings, do not install cabling so it’s lying on the tiles or routed directly above florescent lighting ballasts. The cables are required to be installed to the ceiling structure above them.
Project managers should ensure all cable installations are in accordance with current editions of the following codes.*
- National Electrical Code®
- BICSI Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual
- BICSI Cabling Installation Manual
- Latest issue of ANSI/TIA/EIA Standards as published by Global Engineering Documents as TIA/EIA Telecommunications Building Wiring Standards
- All local codes and ordinances
For more information, contact Advanced Global Communications at 502-583-6000 or visit www.agcworld.com.