Data Cabling Audits: Keeping Us Connected

Data cabling is crucial for any IT or telecommunications infrastructure. It allows the transmittal of data between two points. From the HDMI lead connecting your computer to your monitor, to the patch panels network switches that make up your infrastructure, data cabling is everywhere.

An IDC report suggests that by 2025, 75% of the world population will interact with data every day. As a connected person, you will have at least 1 data transaction every 18 seconds.

In a world so increasingly reliant on data, we need to make sure we are keeping it in good working order. The way to do this is through audits, performing checks, and documenting changes.

What is data cabling?

When you need devices multiple connected, you turn to data cabling. This can be PC’s, printers, CCTV camera, servers, etc. within an IT network. To connect devices, there are essentially two types of data cable: copper and fibre. Within these two types, there are different grades, which result in different standards.

Typically, cables are run to a floor box or wall mounted point near to the end device’s location. Then, cables will go back to a centrally located communications cabinet, or the nearest cabinet with larger scale deployments. Fibre cables will connect multiple cabinets while copper cables connect individual devices and run back to the nearest cabinet. This is because fibre cables can be run much longer distances than copper.

You can run copper cabling up to 100 meters in length and transmits data through twisted pairs of copper wires.

Fibre is a flexible glass tube-like cable which allows light to travel through it at high speed. You can run it between 500 meters and 2 kilometres, depending on the speed required.

Within these two types, you have many options. There are UTP, FTP, etc. for copper and connectors such as SC, ST, LC, and more for fibre. Knowing which type would suit your business is difficult if you are unfamiliar with data cabling, so you should always consult an expert.

Why should I audit my cabling?

When you make changes to your IT and communications systems, cables, cabinets, and networks can become chaotic. It gets difficult to work out what you have, or spot issues before they arise.

A cabling audit can help to increase your business’ efficiency. Clearly labelled and documented networks allow for effective troubleshooting in the event of any problems. You can ‘plug-and-play’, moving and replacing cables without having to trace them or worry about unplugging the wrong device. This, in turn, reduces the associated time and risk for updates and changes.

Safety is also a factor. If you haven’t reviewed setup for years, or it’s gotten messy, there could be underlying faults or areas of risk. Conducting an audit can identify these risks, which can then be rectified.

How do I know if I need an audit?

A few factors can indicate the need for a cabling audit. Firstly, if you have not had one within the last 5 years. In 2018, ISO 11801 was completely overhauled, and it changed its structure to mirror that of EN50173. This means that the standard by which data cabling is safely installed and managed has changed. With how quickly the world of data changes, non-compliance with new standards will impact the speed and connectivity of your structured cabling.

Other reasons to undertake an audit are:

  • Slow network connectivity
  • Disorganised communications cabinet
  • You have recently undertaken changes to your environment
  • You have moved into a new office with existing cabling
 

Slow performing networks can be caused by using incorrect cables, the cables having been installed incorrectly, or aging infrastructure. An audit can review these issues and provide you with resolutions to increase your speed and productivity.

Do you need an audit of your structured cabling? Do you have any data or fibre installation requirements? Give us a call to see how we can help. To learn more about the UK’s infrastructure plan, click here.

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