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A properly planned infrastructure that is reliable and flexible — as opposed to the nightmare of a tangled mess — will make life easier, protect productivity, and be less expensive in the long run. Of course, as office spaces become more complex as highly collaborative and mobile environments, this gets more difficult. Unfortunately, in many cases, cable design is often an afterthought, after the programming design is close to complete, or it is not designed at all. It simply gets handed over to the contractor to design and build with minimum input from end-users. Why? Probably because cabling only represents 3 to 7 percent (on average) of the overall project budget, and less than 10 percent of the overall network investment. It’s overlooked by owners and designers because it just doesn’t seem critical. But cabling is critical and, thankfully for facility managers, several cabling standards offer point of reference for successful cabling projects.
Industry cabling standards are designed to protect the end user. They provide a good foundation of guidelines for maintaining high levels of cable performance. Standards enable vendors to use common media, connectors, test methodologies, and topologies, permitting engineers to design without worrying about compatibility issues.
There are at least three cabling standards organizations to be aware of. In the United States, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is responsible for ANSI/TIA/EIA-568, the Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard, and ANSI/TIA-942, A Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers. Also in the United States, BICSI creates standards and guidelines for use in the design, installation and integration of information and communications technology systems and related telecommunications fields. Internationally, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) produce ISO/IEC IS 11801, Information Technology — Generic Cabling for Customer Premises.
Protecting your investment by paying attention to a component usually ignored like cables will pay off in the long run both from a standpoint of money, but also a reduction in frustration. Luckily, it’s definitely not rocket science. Make sure someone on your project understands the full lifecycle and industry trends versus fads to select the right solution for your business.
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Pay Attention To Cabling Industry Standards