New Life Telecom provides network cabling services for commercial businesses throughout the greater Sacramento region.
If you are looking for a licensed low voltage company to come in and run network cabling throughout your office building, you’ve found a great company to call for a quote. Give us a call and we’ll walk you through the process of quoting your project.
This article was written by a human. 🙂
What do network cabling installers do?
If you have a business that uses phones, internet, and/or network resources, you’ll need cables run throughout your building to make those connections. Network cabling installers install all the data cables that connect your computers, phones, printers, faxes, and other devices to your internet source and main network.
While it’s true that many devices can connect to the internet and your company’s network wirelessly, they mostly do so through wireless access points that are themselves wired via a cable that’s run to your company’s network server room. We discuss WAP needs and limitations more, below.
What types of cabling are included in network cabling services?
Not Just “Network” Cabling
Your low voltage company (or sometimes referred to as network cabling company, structured cabling company, or C7 contractor) installs more than just these data cables. In fact, any cable or wire that carries 90 volts or less can be installed by your low voltage contractor.
Types of Cabling Installed By Low Voltage Contractors:
How Cables Are Run Throughout Office Buildings
The ideal situation for wiring an office building is for the cables to travel from the server room to each end point via the walls and ceilings. In general, a large bundle of cables from your server room’s patch panel will be run into your ceiling to a central location. From there, cables will branch off and be pulled down through the walls to each location where you need a connection. The ends of the cables will be punched into jacks and installed in the walls. This is where you will plug in your computer and phone.
Your low voltage company will walk through your building and note where your server room is and where you would like to have each individual data/phone jack.
This is why giving a copy of a general blueprint of your office building to your network cabling installer is so helpful. The more accurate a blueprint or office layout is, the more precise your quote can be. Your cabling installer will measure each cable run in the process of quoting your project. This is also why the number of “drops” – how many locations the cables will run to – figures into your quote.
The more accurate you can be with the number and locations of your drops, the more accurate your quote will be. Also, keep in mind that including extra drops during the main cable run is much cheaper, easier, and tidier than adding more drops months down the road. If you think there’s a chance you might want additional locations later on, it’s often best to add those to your initial cabling job.
Some office buildings have unique construction situations that make traditional wall and ceiling pulls difficult, more expensive, or even impossible. Your low voltage cabling company will do their best to pull cables through the best possible paths – keeping them safe from damage and out of sight.
In some cases, the layout and construction of your office building may require your cable installer to use flexible tubing, conduit, or wire molding. If cables cannot be run inside of walls, we may use a color matched molding that hides the cables run on the surface of the walls. In this rare case, we make sure to give you the most invisible and attractive installation possible.
If cabling must be run outdoors, your job will include outdoor rated cabling, and in some cases metal conduit (tubing) that is rated for outdoor use.
We can even run cabling through the floor if that necessity arises.
New Life Telecom has a reputation for completing challenging installs in creative ways to make our customers happy. Many downtown Sacramento buildings, for example, have very challenging pulls because of their construction and age.
If you’ve had a different low voltage company tell you it can’t be done (or struggle completing your job), give us a call.
Can a low voltage company put my network equipment together?
Network cabling installers typically handle cabling only. Your IT department will set up your network equipment and configure it to your company’s needs.
However, if you need a little help plugging in your network equipment, we’re happy to help. While we won’t be able to configure the software side of things, we often help out businesses that have an off-site IT department, for example.
Can businesses just use existing wiring in the building?
In some cases, yes. While it’s considered best practice to remove old wiring when vacating a building, sometimes a new occupant will move in to find existing wiring. If you happen to like where the drops and server room are, there’s a chance you can use the existing wiring.
If you want to use existing wiring, you can always have a low voltage company come in and test the wiring that’s there. You may be able to save a lot of money by not having to run all your cables from scratch.
Also, a good low voltage company will leave special strings in the ceiling that help pull a single cable through the existing path. If this is the case in your ceiling, it may be easy to add an extra location or two. A good network cabling installer will also leave extra cable coiled in the ceiling. If this has been done, you could be able to reach all your equipment if it’s in a different configuration than the previous company’s equipment.
If you’re moving into a new building and you think you might be able to use the cabling that’s already there, give us a call. We will come out for free and take a look to see if you can save money by not having to do a full cabling install. We’re happy to do testing and repairs to make sure you’ve got all the network cabling you need.
Is there such a thing as a completely wireless office?
With phones and computers being able to make connections over wi-fi and bluetooth, you might be wondering if an office even needs any data cabling. Can’t you go completely wireless? While wi-fi is a valuable part of your office network, there are significant limitations that keep us going back to wired connections.
Wi-fi connections are a convenient way for guests and some employees to hop on to a public internet connection. And technically, you could have all your employees connect to the internet and network through wireless connections.
However, if a wireless office is what you’re after, you’ll need to fully consider the security, dependability, and speed of your data connections.
Also, having a wireless office doesn’t mean you won’t need network cabling in your building. If you use wireless access points (WAPs) throughout your office, each one will need some type of cabling. Even if you can bridge the data connections so they amplify and repeat to each next WAP, each WAP still needs power. This is traditionally provided with POE – Power Over Ethernet – where the WAP device receives power via the data cable that’s run to it.
However, in some cases beefing up your Wi-Fi coverage and ditching data jacks does make a lot of sense. If you have an office without designated desks, or too many people to provide data locations for, ditching drops and opting for wi-fi is a great choice.
In general, people request hard wired connections for equipment that needs a reliable connection. Reception desks, manager offices, shared printers, video conferencing equipment, and surveillance cameras usually require a dependable connection that’s best wired with cabling.
What types of questions will a network cabling contractor ask before quoting a job?
Your low voltage company will help you think of everything that might affect your network cabling installation. However, taking a moment to think through your cabling requirements can save you a lot of back and forth.
The two main things to figure out for your network cabling job have to do with drops and equipment.
- Think about all the locations where you’ll want phone and data jacks. Consider printers, conference rooms, guest offices, etc.
- Think about all the network equipment you will have in your office. WIll you add WAPs? Surveillance Cameras? Video conferencing equipment? Anything that will use data or phone lines should be on your list. There may be cabling needs you haven’t thought of that your low voltage contractor will spot right away.
If you’ve got an exhaustive list of drops and equipment, your low voltage company will be able to ask all the questions needed to give you a great quote.
It’s also important to be thinking ahead to any future needs your company may have for their network. Even if you’re not ready to run cabling for future projects, knowing what you may add in the future can help your network cabling installer make modifications to the current install to save you money later on.
What types of situations can add additional cost to network wiring projects?
A great low voltage cabling company will work with you to provide the most accurate quote possible. But sometimes situations arise that may add costs to your project.
Forgetting to request drops, lack of anticipated attic access or conduit runs, and scheduling conflicts with location access are all reasons why your project may end up costing more than what was quoted. We always do our best to anticipate everything needed and stick to our quote. However, since we don’t pad our bids, some situations may result in a change order or project cost increase.
We will always work closely with you to keep your costs low and our quotes accurate.
What type of cabling do my phones need?
Most offices now use VoIP phones that connect with their networks over an ethernet connection, typically Cat5e. Many VoIP phones can even provide a daisy chained connection to a computer. If your office uses VoIP phones, chances are you’ll need ethernet cabling to your locations.
Some older offices may still be using phone systems with telephone wiring. If this is your case, don’t panic! We can help you with older phone wiring and phone systems.
My Server Room Is A Mess. What Should I Do?
Don’t worry, we’ve really seen it all! A tidy server room can turn into a rat’s nest quickly. This usually happens when employees need to change network locations, add or move cables when they’re in a hurry. It’s common to just grab the nearest patch cord and move things around for a quick fix. The trouble is, people almost never remember to go back and tidy things up.
That’s ok. If your server room has gotten out of control, give us a call and we will come in and tidy it up for you!
Once you’ve got your network racks and patch panel wiring looking professional, it’s a great idea to stock up on some different length patch cords. Patch cords are relatively inexpensive, so having some varying lengths is a great investment. Using the right size patch cords is a great way to keep things neat and tidy.
Give us a call, we’ll help you through this.
Network cabling can be complicated. There are a lot of factors involved when you consider all the equipment in your office that needs a network connection. Call New Life Telecom and we will expertly handle your cabling project – saving you time & money! We can’t wait to help you with your next network cabling project.