Telecom Tips

Volume 4 Issue 1

Winter 2002

Ten Tips Before You Begin Cabling Your Office or Home


Inside this issue:

Interactive press release2
Tips on Cabling1
Helpful Web Sites1
With the advent of new faster processors, phone and data systems communicate at increasing speeds, therefore it is critical to properly plan your cabling system, just as much if not more than, making the actual purchase decision of your equipment. The hardware you buy will be obsolete a lot sooner than your cable plant, therefore by planning both the installation and future anticipated requirements correctly you can continue to use the existing cable runs throughout multiple generations of hardware. Here are some areas you should be familiar with prior to starting the project:

Existing Facility Site Plan – Does one exist? Does it contain “as-built” floor plans, elevations, ceiling layout with light fixtures, HVAC duct and sprinkler pipe locations?

Define services to work areas - Will the work areas need voice, data, video or other applications? What are the requirements for each work areas down to the station level? Remember: it is far easier and less expensive to put an extra cable in during the initial installation than it is to add something later on. Not only will you need to bring someone in to do it there is also the time lost in the work areas affected by the change.

Make sure you or your installers follow cabling standards. – By using predefined standards you help ensure that you have a benchmark to accept an installation and you have a map to assist in future changes. There is a web site called that provides a subscription to the industry’s’ latest standards and cable capability. A yearly subscription is around $200 but worth it if you plan to do your own maintenance. If you are outsourcing the cable installation ask to see your installers copy.

Exterior Site Plan – Are you developing a campus environment? If so you will need to know the property lines, building outline, water, gas, cable, fiber runs and power lines in addition to knowing available conduits. Contact “Dig Alert” at 1-800-422-4133 Monday-Friday 6am-7pm to have all utilities dispatched to mark their cable paths.

Possible Hazards – Be sure to locate any sources of possible flooding, seepage,steam, heat or corrosive atmosphere and mark them on your site map. Also be aware of the possible need for special shielding in these circumstances.

Equipment Room - Is the area where your equipment or punch down blocks secure, clean and uncluttered? Can it handle future expansions? Is there adequate ventilation?

Label (both ends) of your cabling - Do not use proper names like “Ralph’s phone” or “Accounting modem line”. Once “Ralph” leaves, or Accounting gets a DSL line, your historical information goes in the waste bin. Adhere to a universal numbering standard.

Have an annual review of lines and services - Check to see if lines have changed or new ones have been added. One company in LA added a T1 and never removed the 15 analog modem lines that the T1 replaced. The phone company will never call you and say how come there is not any traffic. .

Does the city you are in require a “permit” for wirings? – Many cities require a Low Voltage Wiring Permit before any cabling project can commence. To ‘draw a permit’ a licensed contractor must submit the permit request. Assure that your cabling contractor is licensed and pulls the required permit, then requests the inspections, which must be done BEFORE the ceiling tiles are placed in their grids.

Is the cabling attached properly? – Many counties have regulations as to the type of attachment method for cables within ceilings. On suspended ceilings the two most accepted methods are “Cady Clamps” and “Fire Retardant Ty-Wraps”. The clamps attached to the vertical support wires and have a channel for the cables to lay in, while the ty-wraps (Purple in color) are attached to anything that goes vertically. In either case a prescribed amount of “drip” is required between attachments, and a minimum spacing from the lowest point of the cables from the ceiling it is suspended to above the cable.

Thanks to George Cisler of G Services and Al Bustmantes of Integrated Technology for contributing to this article.

Started in 1987, G SERVICES has provided businesses and individuals with professional telecommunications consulting and applications engineering services.

For more info go to or call George at 310.313.7400 Integrated Technology is a telecommunications service provider supporting systems manufactured by Siemens and Northern Telecom. They sell and support both new and previously owned systems. For more info go to or call Al at 714.937.1484 ext 315

Helpful Web Sites:

North American Numbering Plan Association

California Public Utilities Commission

RBOC standards and Documents

Telcom recourses

Cabling is one the most critical parts of your network and often the most over looked. As your organization changes, remember the thousands of feet of cable you may have in your ceiling and under the floor is the connection method for all of your critical services. If you do not control the installation and changes properly, it can result in network failure costing you thousands of dollars in repairs and downtime   

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