Business Telecom Buyer

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Planning your installation

Business Telecom Buyer can match you to multiple cabling vendors to find you the best solution for your business. But before you discuss your project with them, you'll need to provide details about your business. Here's a quick checklist of things to ask yourself:

  • Will this be an upgrade to current wiring, a complete overhaul of your setup, or a brand new wiring project?
  • How old is your building?
  • How many locations will need to be connected? (also referred to as the number of “drops”)
  • How many voice and data connections do you need?
  • Do you have access to the floor plans for your building?
  • Do you use a standard phone system or VOIP?
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Helpful Business Telecom Buyer tip: It's easier and less intrusive to set up wiring in new construction than in a pre-existing building!

Armed with this information, you can start arranging site visits with installers you want to work with. The installer can assess your office to figure out where to run the cables, how to perform the drops, where the cables will terminate, and which problems they need to address with your current wiring setup. At that time, the installer can also document the details of your installation.

Where will you store the wiring?
One thing the installers will look for during your assessment is whether or not you need to run cables in plenum space or non-plenum space.

Plenum space means you have a drop ceiling where your HVAC is installed. This means you must use cable that's plenum-rated – it won't produce toxic gases should a fire break out. Plenum-grade cabling isn't cheap but federal codes require that you use it.

In contrast, there are less stringent requirements for non-plenum spaces. You can work with cheap plastic cables if that's your preference, but local regulations may insist you install fireproof enclosures as part of your setup.

Safety considerations
A big part of any cabling and wiring installation is ensuring the building is safe and that the wiring you'll use will comply with the various federal codes. In addition to adherence with fire and building codes in your locality, you must follow the wiring installation standards set forth by these three organizations:

  1. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) — This group is responsible for testing that different data devices are compatible with each other
  2. Telecommunications Industries Association (TIA) — This governing body determines the requirements businesses must maintain for telecommunications wiring
  3. Electronic Industries Association (EIA) — The EIA develops a list of standards for functionality of cabling and wiring equipment

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