Zone cabling and enhanced cabling

There is a conflict between information in your lead article and in your editorial in the February 1998 issue (see "Messiah College zones in on cabling solution," page 19, and "Service---a goal for the millennium," page 7).

Michael W. Finn

Vice President

Telecommunications Management Solutions Inc.

Campbell, CA

There is a conflict between information in your lead article and in your editorial in the February 1998 issue (see "Messiah College zones in on cabling solution," page 19, and "Service---a goal for the millennium," page 7).

In the zone-cabling story, it seemed that the big moneysaver for zone cabling was not having to install a cable tray. Cable trays support cable, and cable needs support to meet the Category 5 Electronic Industries Alliance/Telecommunications Industry Association guidelines. The 24- unshielded twisted-pair (utp) bundles described in the article require cable support above the ceiling, so using a cable tray is only one of the options available.

The premise of the zone-cabling article conflicts with the message on the editorial page, espousing that a contractor`s knowledge represents value-added service. Why would anyone recommend using armored cable on a utp project to save money and weight? As for testing, it sounds as if the project didn`t include 100% certification of the cable plant if the end-user is doing constant testing and still hitting only a 98% certification rate.

As for the enhanced cabling job at Widener University (see "Enhanced cabling prepares university for the future," February 1998, page 25), I do not agree with Widener`s choice of surface raceways "to achieve flexible, accessible cable management" or with the statement that "conventional `behind-the-wall` cabling does not provide the kind of fast, convenient access required for constantly changing space requirements and evolving technology." I`ve never met a contractor who, with the customer`s best interest in mind, would propose using a surface raceway when a wall could be fished.

Fastening raceway correctly to a wall--using screws and anchors, not just the tape applied at the factory--creates unjustifiable expense for the customer. The photos in the Widener University article do not support the statements. You clearly show a flush-mounted outlet on a cinder-block wall (see page 26). I`m assuming there`s a surface raceway in the adjacent room or a conduit that was installed as part of the original building construction. There must have been quite a crew on the job, if they had to make outlet-size holes in the cinder block for all 700 drops. And the last picture in your article appears to be rotated 90!. While the article is by a good manufacturer, I believe that small contractors should contribute to the magazine because it is a publication for small contractors. Unfortunately, small contractors lack the time needed to make contributions because we are too busy providing the customer service mentioned in your editorial.

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