ICG's Blog

Why is our name ‘Intranet Communications Group’?

INTRANET is a Local Area Network (LAN). It involves having multiple computers on a closed network.

Our job is to build the LAN (Intranet) infrastructure for you, but also to allow you to connect to a Wide Area Network (WAN) such as the Internet.

This closed network infrastructure allows for more security, more reliable connections, and faster speeds.

COMMUNICATIONS means that computers and devices talk to each other over the network to transmit voice, data, video, and text. Connectivity between users is a key goal in all infrastructure upgrades.

GROUP refers to the trained and dedicated team we have at ICG.

Kathi BleaseWhy is our name ‘Intranet Communications Group’?
read more

CCTV

CCTV which can be known now as IP Video Security as the technology has moved away from analog and towards digital, Power over Ethernet (PoE) cameras. Since the cameras use PoE, they can be positioned more strategically and are not tied to an outlet. This flexibility can make a huge difference in terms of their placement.

CCTV allows for searchable records of footage, based on time, location, or other variables. These records can be searched by anyone with access on the network.

Many types of cameras interface with the CCTV network. There is the uni-directional camera, 360-degree cameras, and cameras that are remotely controlled so they can be pointed and adjusted as needed.

These cameras are higher resolution than legacy analog cameras allowing them to capture high granularity. They also have a higher frame rate to generate less choppy images.

CCTV is utilized as a security measure for both Inside Plant (ISP) and Outside Plant (OSP) applications depending upon the specific business or agency requirements.

Kathi BleaseCCTV
read more

What do ISP and OSP mean?

ISP stands for Inside Plant and OSP stands for Outside Plant. According to Building Industry Construction Service International (BICSI), OSP is any network infrastructure installed external to buildings. Our scope includes optical fiber cabling, balanced twisted-pair cabling, and support structures to link locations.

OSP cables are underground, direct-buried, or aerial.  ICG specializes in direct-buried which utilizes trenches, pedestals, and communication maintenance holes.

ISP refers to cable installed inside of the building. This includes everything from the patch panel, patch cord, and switch to the cables and jacks.

Each may require a different type of cable and a different method of installation. ISP utilizes wall and ceiling drops, while OSP will likely require trenching.

Kathi BleaseWhat do ISP and OSP mean?
read more

What is an As-Built?

As-builts are another name for the blueprints a structured cabling company delivers to a building or campus network manager after the completion of a project. This will provide the network owner with data ports marked, usually with a triangle, as well as any other relevant ports (ex. TV, A/V, etc.). This is important for multiple reasons. Initially, it lays out a plan for the network design that will be installed by the structured cabling company. This then provides the cabling company an accurate view of the project, allowing them to give a fair and accurate quote. As-builts are also important throughout construction. They are the guide showing the structured cabling company where to pull and where to terminate cables.

Regarding installation: occasionally on the as-built, the ports are not clearly labeled, the IDFs are not properly marked and it can be unclear which IDF the cables are supposed to be directed to. This can create problems for the estimator and the installer. They must be remedied prior to installation to ensure both an accurate quote and an installation that satisfies that the end-user’s requests.

Upon completion, cables are labeled, typically with their IDF and the switch and port numbers. These labels and the corresponding as-built are the road map for any future adds, moves, and changes.

The as-built is also very important for the end-user. Network Managers and IT Professionals need to know the layout of their network to be able to troubleshoot. This could be anything from a faulty cable, patch cord, or jack to an AP that has interference issues, or a camera that stopped transmitting. Even if a structured cabling company is needed to fix the issue, the end-user can hire a new company, unfamiliar with the network layout to fix any network issues. With the help of a properly labeled as-built, the newly hired firm can quickly identify and solve any problems. Without this tool, problems can cause more than just headaches for a Network Manager. These problems can lead to network downtime and loss of revenue for a firm.

Because of the as-built, your network is not dependent on any one person or one company to correct these problems. Despite not being part of the installation team, a properly trained professional will be able to perform network adds, moves, or changes.

Kathi BleaseWhat is an As-Built?
read more

5 Quick Tips about Structured Cabling

1. Always test – Test your cable when terminations are completed to be sure that all your cable runs, and jacks are functioning and properly connected to the switch and patch panel.

2. Have proper documentation – Have your as-built handy and correctly marked to be sure you are running the cable to the correct IDF/MDF from the correct jack. Also, don’t forget the permit!

3. Plan – If your company is not done growing then plan so that your infrastructure is able to support your business’ growth.

4. Make an informed decision – Fiber versus ethernet; Compare speed, price, security, durability, plenum or non-plenum environment, and capacity.  Choose the backbone to your network that suits your needs

5. Get full coverage from your Wireless Access Points (WAPs) – Make sure that if you have Wi-Fi installed, there are no dead zones. This should be accounted for ahead of time.

Kathi Blease5 Quick Tips about Structured Cabling
read more

What is FTTP, FTTH, FTTC, FTTX?

FTTX refers to all types of fiber infrastructure including fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP), fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC), and fiber-to-the-node (FTTN).

FTTH stands for fiber-to-the-home and is synonymous with FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises). They both refer to a fiber optic cable running directly from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to a home or business location.

FTTC stands for fiber-to-the-curb and refers to a fiber optic cable run to the curb near the user with a copper ethernet cable connecting the fiber at the curb to the final location.

FTTN stands for fiber-to-the-node and refers to a fiber optic cable running to service a large area with copper ethernet cables connecting each location in service area to the node.

Kathi BleaseWhat is FTTP, FTTH, FTTC, FTTX?
read more

CapEx and OpEx

CapEx and OpEx

Capital Expenditure on a network has many dependencies. The choices your company makes here will affect the operating expenses down the road. Are you planning for future innovation in the telecommunication space so that your network can handle faster speeds? Are you preparing your office to handle new employees with extra jacks and wireless access points throughout your facility/campus? Do you want to power your devices via the network?

Choosing a more recent iteration of the Ethernet cable (6 or 6a) or fiber optics can ensure that you will not need to spend money well into the future on replacing your network. You may just have tweaks (adds, moves, & changes) as your company grows. This would amount to some of the operating expense.

You can also spend more upfront to switch to Power over Ethernet (PoE) for some of your devices. Security cameras, phones, Wireless Access Points (WAP), intercoms, and other devices can be added to your network and be powered by Ethernet cabling rather than Alternating Current (AC). This would reduce your operating expenses as you would spend less on power. You would also reduce operating expenses by switching to a Voice over IP (VoIP) system, significantly reducing your phone bill.

Additionally, all cabling is tested when termination is completed and once successfully tested your structured cabling contractor can provide you with a manufacturer’s extended warranty, ensuring that you don’t have to sink more money into upgrading your network for a significant amount of time.

Upgrading your network can be a win-win for you – with a one-time CapEx cost that prolongs your network’s useful life and reduces operating expenses.

 

Kathi BleaseCapEx and OpEx
read more

Advantages of Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) or remote powering has transformed the way facilities are cabled and the way that electronics are being powered. It uses the same twisted pair data (Ethernet) cable to power the device as it does to connect the device to the Local Area Network (LAN). Devices that can utilize PoE include lighting, cameras, phones, Access Control, Intercoms, Point of Sale Devices (POS), and Wireless Access Points (WAP). Utilizing PoE for all these devices can create an intelligent infrastructure whereby devices can be monitored and controlled via Internet connection.

Additionally, the reduction in cabling allows for more cables in one area in addition to the increased safety of using low voltage wiring. This in turn means lower upfront costs for the owner in terms of installation as the low voltage installer can pull all the cable required without getting an electrician involved. It can also mean lower costs over the life of the network as less electricity is used by the low voltage network.

Devices attached to the network can also be moved more easily because devices are no longer constrained by how close they are to an electrical outlet. Moreover, PoE allows you to put devices in places where it is difficult to install power – like drop ceilings.

Devices on the network can also be backed up by a power supply, something multiple times costlier with many devices running on Alternating Current (AC) power. PoE comes from a sole source rather than many, making the backup process much more straightforward.

Kathi BleaseAdvantages of Power over Ethernet (PoE)
read more

What Type of Low Voltage Cabling does your Business Need?

Structured cabling can sound complicated with multiple types of copper and fiber optic cabling available. So first let us explain the differences of each type of cable.

Fiber optics will provide you with the fastest speeds, although CAT 6 cables will support up to 10Gb/s which may be fast enough for your business.  Fiber optics has the additional benefit of transmitting light rather than electricity which means it is not subject to electromagnetic interference, it is much harder to intercept, and it is not subject to the hazards of electrical current. Alternatively  you can use Shielded Twisted-Pair (STP) copper cables to avoid electromagnetic interference as well.

The second thing to consider is the scope of the job. You may be forced to used single mode fiber if your project spans multiple buildings (Outside Plant – OSP) or long distances. If it is a one building project (Inside Plant – ISP) you still need to choose between multimode fiber, cat 5e, cat 6, and cat 6a. This choice may come down to whether you must run cable outside or it may be personal preference of the business owner as multimode fiber is comparable to Ethernet when cabling in a small to medium size building.

Kathi BleaseWhat Type of Low Voltage Cabling does your Business Need?
read more