Timothy Clark, President
American Trade Associates
I am not a engineer, I`m not on any standards committee and I don`t have an ax to grind. But I`ve earned a living in this industry for almost three decades. I want to encourage everyone to keep an open mind on the subject of structured cabling systems.
I feel we`re trying to put together tomorrow`s structured wiring solutions with a hodgepodge of old, new and modified technologies. There will be changes in the technologies as we know them. Look at the industry and the many technological advances of the last 10 years. Tomorrow may bring a better unshielded twisted-pair cable or connector. Fiber to the desktop may not be so expensive. We might even see the return of shielded twisted-pair cable.
Even though you must make the best choice of what`s available today, try not to lock yourself into long-term commitments. Fifteen-year warranties may sound great, but the system could cost more and prevent you from installing a better technology when it is introduced. Can you imagine going back and asking for funds in two to five years to rewire or upgrade the facility? Management will certainly ask about the 15-year warranty program that you installed last time around.
Many of us have been in this industry too long to believe that any one technology will remain serviceable for more than three to seven years. The only constant is change, so install systems with the information and knowledge that you have today but don`t bet your life on Category 5 or any other medium. Be ready to switch to a better technology when one is developed.