Q: I am a network designer for a large oil company. We are constructing a new building to relocate 800 of our personnel, and I am a member of the team responsible for the design of this building. I will also provide support for the building infrastructure when it is completed.
In attempting to implement industry standards into my designs, I have been searching for a standards-based method for labeling communications jacks and closet equipment in the new building. I have found color-coding information but nothing related to the actual numbering or labeling of the jacks. I would appreciate guidance on numbering schemes for voice and data outlets.
Larry G. New
A: I suggest that you compare your own method to ansi/tia/eia-606, "Administration Standard for the Telecommunications Infrastructure of Commercial Buildings" (February 1993), to be certain that yours and the tia`s are not in conflict. ansi/tia/eia-606 specifies the administrative requirements of the telecommunications infrastructure within a new, existing, or renovated building or campus. The administered areas include telecommunications media terminations located in work areas, telecommunications closets, equipment rooms, and entrance facilities; telecommunications media between terminations; pathways that contain the media between terminations; spaces where terminations are located; and bonding and grounding, as they apply to telecommunications.
In 1988, I developed the labeling scheme in use at the University of Texas at Austin. It remains virtually unchanged to date. Each building on the campus is assigned a unique three-character designation. Each floor is assigned a two-digit level number, with the lowest level being one. Each telecommunications closet (TC) and equipment room on the same level is assigned an alpha character.
For example, mair03e is the third-floor riser closet (the R stands for riser) on the east side of the Main Building. This system allows for a 99-story building with 26 closets on each level.
Each horizontal cable is assigned a five-digit cable number. Each work-area outlet where the horizontal cable run terminates is assigned the same designation as the horizontal cable. In a building with a centralized cabling system, the horizontal cable designator will help you locate the correct 4-pair cable, but in a traditional design, with the possibility of multiple closets on each floor, the horizontal cable designator can be used to point the installer to the correct closet and 4-pair cable.
For example, lac04001 is located in the Lake Austin Center on the fourth floor. The cable management system can be used to cross-reference this designation to a specific room and even to a wall within the room. If the installer is standing in the TC looking at lac04001, the work request in his or her pocket should show the room number, or the assignment office can be called for the information using the wall phone in the TC. However, if sitting under a desk, he or she probably knows what the room number is and is interested in finding the TC on the other end.
If your system works better for you, use it. However, beware of using room numbers as cable designators. Architects seem to relish renumbering rooms.
Donna Ballast is a communications analyst at the University of Texas at Austin and a bicsi registered communications distribution designer (rcdd). Questions can be sent to her at Cabling Installation & Maintenance or at PO Drawer 7580, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713; tel: (512) 471-0112, fax: (512) 471-8883, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.