Electromagnetic Interference, or EMI, can cause a noisy signal. EMI is caused by other electronic devices. In a manufacturing facility or on a government campus you might have a great deal of EMI. This means that you may have degraded data transfer or no data transfer. This problem can be fixed by using Shielded Twisted-Pair Cabling (STP). STP cabling protects your Ethernet cables from EMI by covering them in a foil ‘shield’.
STP cabling can also “virtually eliminate external signal detection and interception.” This can be key for government networks and/or networks that require additional security. This is outlined by the BerkTek Whitepaper: Cabling for Secure Government Networks. (ICG is a BerkTek certified installer)
When selecting your cable prior to installation, keep in mind the requirements related to EMI shielding that will be needed for your project. When a project does not have significant EMI, you can use Unshielded Twisted-Pair (UTP) Cabling in its place as it is a lower cost point. STP is more expensive for multiple reasons. Material costs will be higher. The shielding makes the cabling more expensive. Additionally, the connectors and the patch panel must also be compatible with shielded cabling making them more expensive. Lastly, terminating STP cabling is more time consuming than terminating UTP cabling due to the extra steps in the process. Add in the bonding and grounding requirements and your labor time will likely increase as well.
When your project is completed, you can test for data loss via a network cabling tester. Make sure to ask for certified test results from your installer that show all your cables pass the required tests to be considered functional.
Kathi BleaseBenefits of Shielded Cabling Versus Unshielded Cabling (STP vs UTP)
ICG is a network cabling and IP Security company. We’ve installed over 23,000 miles of cable and supported over 80,000 users across 14 states including both government and commercial accounts. Here is a day in the life of ICG.
Kathi BleaseICG – ISP and OSP Network Cabling (Video)
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.