Common mistakes in hiring contractors to run data/phone cabling

Aug. 9, 2019
Don't be like the residential customer who hired a kid on summer break to run cables for their new network.

By STEVEN deSTEUBEN, Nashua Data Solutions -- We get many calls a year from customers who hired an electrician to run their data network. We do work with many electricians and they are very good. However, there is a group of them who do not seem to know much about the importance of a computer network, and how to run them correctly.

Just the other day, we did a job for a client who had his house built recently. Somehow in the process of this, he was under the understanding that his electrician was going to be running all the data and phone lines for him.

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The electrician ran the wires to each room, though some of these locations were less then ideal. In the end the electrician apparently had no intention of terminating them in the electrical room. So when he signed off on the job, the wires were run, and terminated into plate covers. However, there were still no terminations on the other end. He did not leave any labels on either end of the cables.

So we came into a bundle of 50 cables for phone, data and coax, with no labels. They were not even grouped together per room.

This meant that our first job was to tone out all the cables, find them in the network room, and label both ends. Then we had to build a network rack, and terminate these cables. Lastly, we needed to then test all of them. The cost to the homeowner was nearly 60% of what we would have charged them anyway had we done the whole job.

Beyond that, those wires were run together with electrical wires. This meant that the phone lines all had a hum in them from the A/C current. Whoever it was that ran this did not understand the effects of AC current on Tel/Data cabling. This also affected the overall throughput of the network. That AC hum created interference on the data side as well. The cabling did certify, however it was at much lower performance then it should actually have seen.

One company last year had hired a kid who was on summer break to run cables for their new network.

He had no experience running cables. But they all figured, how hard could it be? It took him all summer and he never completed the project. When the client ultimately called us in, most of what he had run was not up to building codes and had to be removed. Not only did they waste cable but they also had to pay for it to be removed. The cost of hiring someone with no skills is very high in the end.

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We always suggest that you select a company that knows computer networking. Some cabling contractors do not really understand this either.

In one commercial job we did a repair on, the contractor had run speaker wires in bundles with fire alarm cabling. This meant that all the speakers in the building had a slight hum to them from the fire system. To prove this, we put the fire panel into test mode and then turned it off. The hum was gone. The only three options were, 1) keep the slight hum 2) install a filter at each speaker through out the building, 3) run new cabling that avoided those fire cables.

Nashua Data Solutions takes great pride in our work. We have specialized techs who know and understand IT and computer networking. This adds a value to the work we perform. We understand what the end result is, and what sort of things need to be avoided in the installation. We will always try to do the best quality job. Our quoting process is very complete. We try to keep our work on our pricing. This means that the majority of our estimates are right on the mark with the final invoice, less any customer changes along the way.

Visit Nashua Data Solutions or call (603) 821-0441.

Read more at the Nashua Data Solutions blog.

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