With network cabling problems accounting for 21% of computer network downtime*, and downtime costing more than $1,000 an hour in lost productivity for 42% of companies (and more than $10,000 an hour for 26% of firms)**, properly designed and installed network cabling is a vital part of corporate infrastructure. Yet, many enterprises don’t assign sufficient importance to this aspect of hardware. In overlooking the value of proper network cable design and management, firms end up with tangled, inadequately labeled cable runs. When a cable fails or needs to be replaced for some reason, tracing out the cable and replacing it becomes more time consuming and expensive.

In recent years, specially designed solutions have been developed to help companies better organize and manage their network cables. Generally referred to as structured cabling systems, these solutions are appropriate for a variety of network installations, from high-speed Internet and video feeds to telephone service and more.

Structured cabling systems incorporate far more than the actual cables on which these transmissions run. They include the hardware―connecting hardware as well as specialized support hardware such as cable risers and grounding devices. They also incorporate specialized pathways―conduits through which the cables can run cleanly, without kinking.

When designing a structured cabling system, component selection is an important contributor to both longevity and transmission quality. Careful planning and design is equally crucial, not only to meet current needs but also to allow for future expansion. On the plus side, structured cabling systems support innovative, even sprawling network designs that would have been challenging or impossible with previous cabling approaches.

For example, LMI Systems, Inc. recently installed more than 320,000 feet of structured cabling for an office retrofit in the circa-1926 Sears, Roebuck & Company building in Atlanta. Our customer wanted an open office design without partitions, so running the cable in a traditional setup (across the floor, covered by conduit) wasn’t practical. Instead, we ran the cable through the ceiling and then down through each of four large support poles that were distributed across the space, with 15 cable runs per pole. The client then placed its office furniture around the poles.

This project showcases the promise of structured cabling but doesn’t begin to illustrate the full range of possibilities. If you would like to learn more about structured cabling and how you might benefit from it in a current or planned network installation, please give us a call at (770) 491-0343 or send an email to info@lmisystemsinc.com.

*Gartner research