Unless you want to be constantly installing a new voice and data network infrastructure, it’s important to take some time and determine the type of network cabling and structured wiring strategies that will serve your business well for the next several years. In order to manage this task, it is very important to consider short-term and long-term needs and in terms of changes in the corporate working environment, advances in technology that will affect how your industry functions and even the cost of network maintenance. This type of assessment requires breaking down those requirements into an orderly process of evaluation.
What Do I Need Today?
Before approaching any structured cabling contractors, identify exactly what you need up and running right this minute. Think in terms of how many workstations the network needs to accommodate. This includes telephony support for inbound and outbound calls, the number of trunks or lines needed to manage the traffic and even the types of features the network must support. You also want to think in terms of bandwidth for Internet based applications. Ideally, the voice and data network cabling structure must support real time responses that allow your staff to manage all relevant tasks quickly and efficiently.
How About Next Year?
Don’t assume that the network you need today will still be sufficient a year from now. In that time, your company could experience a significant increase in business volume. Plan for that when talking with different voice and data cable installers and structured cabling contractors. What you want is a voice and data cable network that can be expanded on an as needed basis, while creating a minimum of downtime for all essential functions. If you build this type of flexibility into the system on the front end, the expansion process will be relatively painless.
Expect the Unexpected
Conditions within companies and industries can change quickly. You could find yourself faced with shifts in the industry that affect how your company does business. For example, you may find that audio conferencing is no longer adequate for communicating with field personnel, investors, and customers. When this is the case, you may find that utilizing a greater array of Internet based communications is necessary. If the structured cabling network can already support the additional bandwidth needed to use those tools effectively, the only thing that must be addressed is training employees how to use those tools effectively.
Don’t Forget the Voice and Data Network Environment
The physical layout of your facility will also play a role in determining your cabling needs. Some forms of cabling are very sensitive to dirt and dust. Other structured cabling can work well in just about any setting. It is important to consider where the actual voice and data cabling will reside, assess the conditions that the voice and data cabling will endure and make sure the right type of materials are used to protect those cables. Doing so will go a long way in making sure your voice and data network is up and running, and experiences a minimum of costly downtime.