Office wiring, also known as structured cabling, should be one of many items on your office move or office renovation checklist.
After all, you want to ensure that there are working voice, data, and power connections for your employees’ phones, computers, and printers the day you move in. Otherwise, staff productivity could take a temporary hit.
Here are some ideas for making that part of your move or renovation easier and less stressful.
Plan Ahead. Way Ahead.
As with most other items on your move or renovation checklist, it’s critical to plan your low-voltage office wiring well ahead of time.
High voltage wiring for lighting and electrical outlets is generally a more routine part of an office move or remodel. An electrician is a standard site subcontractor, along with framers and sheet rockers. A data cabler is often an afterthought.
As you map out offices, common areas, and warehouse space, mark on your plans who will be using each space and how they will be using the area. Note where you will require internet access and telephone connections.
Ideally, a wiring contractor will run network cables while the walls and ceilings are open. This timing makes the job go faster and reduces costs.
For example, it’s best to route the wiring through the ceiling area before contractors install drop ceiling tiles.
It’s also easier for a contractor to run cable drops to desktops, printers, servers, and Wi-Fi device locations when the walls are open. It takes a wiring contractor more time and effort to drop cables after a sheetrock contractor has closed up the walls — especially when walls are stuffed with insulation.
Wall jacks for voice and data are normally mounted close to electrical outlets so that power is available near all devices that require AC.
With proper planning, you can ensure that people can get to work on Day One in the new space.
Start with People Placement
Start with people. Where you have people, you likely need internet. Look at your plans and identify where you’ve planned to put desks and other furniture. Where there’s going to be a desk, it’s almost sure that there will need to be at least one internet connection for a computer.
Depending on your phone system, you may also need a second cable. VoIP phone systems use Cat6 network cable, whereas traditional PBX phone systems use solid core, twisted-pair wires.
Don’t forget common areas such as reception areas, employee break rooms, and cafeterias. Do you plan to offer a guest Wi-Fi network as a courtesy in those areas? If so, note that a wireless access point will be required there (this also requires a wire back to your computer room).
In addition, if you plan to place a phone in these areas for internal or external calling, a contractor should pull a wire to that location to give you that option.
Printers, Scanners, and Multi-Function Copiers
Do you plan on having a copier area for shared access to products such as printers, copiers, fax machines, and scanners? If you have a copier, it likely requires an internet connection. So, you’ll want to plan accordingly.
In terms of printers, some light-duty printers can be used wirelessly, which is convenient. However, for high-volume network printers, a dedicated network connection is required, which means a need for a cable, just like a computer.
Do you plan to secure your environment? Whether you’ll be arming a system to watch the entire office or just your computer room, many of today’s alarm systems require wiring of the sensor.
Consult with your alarm company about their systems requirements and identify where you’ll need to place an internet, phone line, or cellular connection to contact them in case of a security breach.
Security cameras are another consideration. As you map the areas to be monitored, note that each camera will require wiring back to a central location where a computer will store or upload the video. A contractor will likely need to run a wire to each camera site.
Access Control Systems
Some entryways, file rooms, or computer rooms may require a card key or biometric identification to access. These types of access control devices often need a wired connection.
If you have a manufacturing plant, warehouse, or another large area with many mobile employees, a paging system may be something to consider. As each staff member won’t have a phone, a paging system can be an effective way to alert them.
Paging systems often operate hand-in-hand with a phone system. Depending on the size of the area covered, several paging speakers are required to ensure people can hear page announcements. Each speaker will need a wire to connect it back to the phone system.
At least one phone is usually installed in these areas so people can respond to pages.
Music & Entertainment
How about some music or television for guests or employees? For music, many wireless options are now available. For example, Sonos provides a great quality speaker for a multi-room stream.
Give some thought to your lobby. Your entrance area is where your company often makes its first impression on customers and partners.
Do you want a TV in the lobby to display information about your company and its goods and services? If so, ensure a contractor pulls the necessary network cable. If you want live TV, you’ll need to work with a local provider, such as DirecTV, as each provider may have different wiring requirements.
Conference Room Wiring
For many businesses, conference rooms are where big decisions and deals are made. Whether impressing your clients or presenting new ideas, today’s conference rooms require technology and connectivity. You guessed it — it all involves wiring.
Critical Office Wiring Connections
As you now know, the wiring in your building often carries the lifeblood of your business — information and communications. So it’s essential to ensure both are flowing how and where you need them.
Here in California, a C-7 low voltage systems contractor is the best person to run wiring for network equipment and phone systems. Some electricians understand how to run low voltage wire — but not all of them.
Let’s discuss your wiring requirements