In this guide, we go over our 8 steps in a successful data cabling installation. These steps outline the process for most of our data cabling projects, but are not limited to these steps. There are times where creativity is needed in installing copper data cables while adhering to the North American standards in challenging environments.
This guide is to help customers understand what we are doing during an installation and explain what occurs during each step.
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BLUEWIRE’S 8 STEP DATA CABLING INSTALLATION GUIDE
Step 1. Data Cabling Pathways
Determining the best way to route your data cables from the server room to the facility locations is the initial step. We walk out the route and examine any proposed pathways to see if there are any obstructions or challenges that may prevent the installation from occurring. This step is important in a project where the facility is already operating and requires additional data drops.
We identify existing infrastructure like; trays, conduits, sleeves, and/or J-hook lines, that can be used for the additional cabling. This helps in speeding up completion of a project, if there isn’t existing infrastructure, we must install our own.
If this is a new build construction, a floor plan design with proper pathway infrastructure (with room for growth) is created with the customer. Conduits and data cable trays are used more in new builds, as they have the ability to house future upgrades and additions.
Step 2. Data Locations
During the pathway identification process of step 1, we will also be identifying data cabling drop locations in the field/facility. Proper planning here will ensure that the cable will function correctly, as copper cables have maximum range of 300ft/100m before issues will occur.
In a new build construction, our installers work off of a floor plan on where the data drop points are. For facilities that are already operating, we mark out locations with a removable marker to identify data drops needed by the customer.
Step 3. Server Room Creation
We fully design and install server rooms. We work with your I.T. team on what your data needs are and pair the correct mount/rack/cabinet that can house the network equipment. Necessary entry points to the server room have conduits stubbed in and the necessary trays/baskets are mounted to direct the data cables in the right direction.
Post racks and cabinets are leveled and floor mounted. While wall racks are mounted securely along with a plywood sheet attached to wall stubs. We ensure that all equipment is safely and securely mounted, where there is no chance in any equipment tipping or falling.
Patch panels, cable managers, cable covers, and other organizers are installed along with the mount/rack/cabinet.
Step 4. Data Cabling
After a pathway is identified and all the pathing infrastructure is installed, we begin installing the data cables. Having all the pathing infrastructure set in place, makes for a faster and efficient install. Also the pathway infrastructure ensures that the data cables are correctly secured to North American ANSI/TIA standards.
This step takes the largest chunk of time of the installation and scales along with the scope of the project and facility size. We mark each cable on both ends to keep the cables organized for terminations later on in the installation.
Step 5. Terminations
We terminate every data cable and wire-wrap with a printed label on both ends. Patch panels in the server room are labeled accordingly and the data cables are cut to length for terminations.
In the field terminations, cover plates or side entry boxes are installed along with a printed label to help identify the cable that matches the other end in the server room.
Step 6. Cable Management
After all the data cables have been terminated and sorted into corresponding bundles. They are hand dressed and tied neatly with Velcro every 3 inches, creating very organized bundles to be strapped down to the rack and tray. This process is a labour of love and we make sure that every cable is not crossed or pinched in a bundle, to prevent data transfer malfunctions.
We use Velcro straps instead of zip ties because zip ties have a high change of being over tightened and causing damage to the cable. Velcro does not have this issue as its not possible to hand tie a Velcro strap to the point of damaging the cable. Lastly Velcro is easily adjustable and reusable, this causes less plastic waste.
Check out some of our favourite data cable management projects on Instagram or our projects page.
Step 7. Testing
We test every cable that we install and ensure that it is working fully. We also test every cable to the rated levels set out by the data cable manufacturer and the North American standard set by ANSI/TIA.
Both ends of the data cable is tested for proper terminations, and the results are sent in for warranty certification. All data cabling projects completed by Bluewire comes with a 25 year manufacturer’s warranty and a detailed PDF results report that indicates each cable installed and tested during installation.
Bluewire technicians are all trained and certified Panduit installers.
Step 8. Clean Up
This is an important step, and we decided to include it as a step in our data cabling workflow because leaving a site the way we found it, is important. We believe that when Bluewire completes a project no matter how big or small, we leave it with the customer in awe looking at are spectacular data cabling work and not the mess that is made during the installation.
We take pride in our quality of workmanship and we believe it shows with the final product that we hand off to our clients, and we do not want to hand off the cleaning responsibilities to the customer. We also remove and recycle all copper cabling scrap responsibly.