Cabling sounds easy. How hard can it be to run some line? The fact is, cabling well means ensuring that the flow of data within an organization is running at its optimum—and this can be challenging.
Cabling underpins an organization’s infrastructure, and failing to manage it properly will create inefficiencies that impact the performance of the network—and your entire workforce. Poorly designed, labeled or managed cabling leads to more downtime and increased costs just to troubleshoot basic cable connection faults or repair critical component failures due to circulation problems. And downtime equals lost production and revenue, as well as your organization could encounter issues when it comes time to expand the network.
It is also much more difficult (and costly) to sustain a growing business when your cabling lacks flexibility and scalability. Failing to plan for a growth can cause significant challenges and headaches in implementing changes and upgrades to your existing environment.
To avoid implementing a haphazard cabling system that forces you into a stagnant or expensive Frankenstein situation down the road, ask yourself the following questions during the design phase to assess the cabling plan you’re working on:
Am I implementing a high-performance design for the organization as it stands now?
To ensure that you have a high-performance design for your business, you need to have a clear understanding of your current communications systems requirements. What equipment will be needed in the new space and how does it differ from what you have now? How can you best balance the distance to be covered and the speed of the network? Is redundancy and diverse pathways needed for mission critical connections? From there, you can determine an end-to-end cabling design that supports the organization’s current needs most efficiently.
Do I have a service provider that can support my cabling needs?
You want a service provider who can guide and support you before, during and after the installation. Expect them to propose design and equipment options that best meet the needs of your communications systems within your allocated budget. Additionally, they should document both draft and final designs, including all the details of the implemented cabling components.
Have I selected the right type of cable?
Choosing the correct cable type ensures that you have the right specs for your required bandwidth needs and helps with performance when dealing with electromagnetic interference from power cables, certain types of equipment, and other environmental factors. Do I need shielded or unshielded cables? Do I need single-mode or multi-mode fiber?
Can my facility support the growth potential of the cabling and equipment?
To assess the growth potential of your facility, think of the platforms and technologies that your organization will deploy to achieve IT goals over the lifespan of the facility. How much space and power will be required to support these goals? Does my cable management solution provide room for growth and future redundancy or back up solutions? Thinking and planning five to ten years down the line will help to protect the organization’s assets and enable you to more rapidly deploy the infrastructure changes needed to support the growth needs of the organization.
Do I have the budget to support a high-performance design?
Cost is always a major factor when investing in a cabling system design. It will influence the quality of the selected equipment or which components you have to cut back on. Cutting back too far on the quality of the equipment, however, will likely lead to poor network performance potentially impacting workforce productivity or even customers. Avoid connectivity issues and overly slow network speeds by carefully balancing budget and business needs.
Your cabling system is the conduit that supports or carries the flow of data critical for business continuity. Creating and implementing the best design from the beginning ensures your cabling will not only service the business today but will support the latest technology well into the future.