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    Data Cable Installations

    Who does your data cable installations?

    I'm at a primary school and seem to do all mine myself! Just today I've spent the morning with the trusty SDS Drill and cordless screwdriver putting trunking up and stringing cable through ceilings.

    Colleagues of mine at larger schools have their estates teams run the cable, and the IT support team just punchdown the ends into the relevant patch panels/faceplates.

    On the other hand, theres still some schools who pay specialist companies ludicrous amounts of money (~£80-£100 per port) to run copper cable for them!

    What do you do?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    We pay for people to do it for us. Namely CSE. The reason being that I have enough to do without having to run cable. And getting our 'estates' team, aka. our site manager to do any cabling would be unfair, as he has plenty to do as well.

    We could probably hire a member of staff for the same amount we have spent on cabling, but this would mean the school would have a long term commitment.

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    The advantage of using a company is that they can install many ports quickly, efficiently, perform tests and guarantee their work. They should also have insurance, because drilling through walls can be a risky business.

    In larger schools, especially Secondary, it may also be necessary to run fibre to areas of the building which exceed 100 hundred metres from the primary central location (normally the server room).

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    Yeah I understand the point regarding drilling, etc.

    We've had to make a bit of outlay initially in terms of buying kit to do it. My regular toolkit including Dewalt SDS, Long Masonry Bits, Trunking, Screws, Rawl Plugs, Drums of Cat5, Punchdown/Crimp Tools, etc.

    Was worth it for us as we did a total network rebuild last year as soon as I had the ability to correct years of previous underinvestment and reliance on county ICT advice (you all know the story...) With the help of 3 other guys we managed to get the whole school rewired with new cat5e everywhere. Now got 7x 24 port switches. Not bad for a school with only ~270 pupils

    As for fibre - I totally take the point on that one as well. Fibre is obviously a lot more strict when it comes to bend radius' etc, and having someone who really knows what they are doing with it is advantageous. As for us, even our backbone runs from switches to server room are all less than 100m so its just 2x 1gb trunks which does the job no problem.

    Scott

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    We use an outside company who are absolutely brilliant (Plexus Networking in Hull, I used them a lot when I was in industry for about 10 years now).
    When I joined the school, they had been shafted with a really botched cabling and switch install by the PFI company. We are talking all the fibers not terminated properly, the link between the two building running at 100Mb, about 40% of the sockets not working properly, cables run right next to mains cable and next to lighting, no fire retardant foam in holes. They then wanted £250 per socket to add extra sockets, claiming that it was so expensive as they had to cover the cost of the maintenance over the life of the contract (all decent installers include a 20-25 year guarantee anyway)!
    After a year of arguing with them we managed to get the network infrastructure removed from the PFI agreement. Since then, Plexus have done all the work for us and really look after us. For instance, if we have a problem with a socket they are usually out the same day or very soon after to test and fix. When we had all the problems they also did a lot of work free of charge for us, such as testing and re-terminating the fibers properly. They are also extremely competitive price wise.
    Sorry if this sounds like an advert, but it is rare to find such a good company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottStevinson View Post
    Yeah I understand the point regarding drilling, etc.

    We've had to make a bit of outlay initially in terms of buying kit to do it. My regular toolkit including Dewalt SDS, Long Masonry Bits, Trunking, Screws, Rawl Plugs, Drums of Cat5, Punchdown/Crimp Tools, etc.
    The problems though come with meeting current building regs and also with testing the cabling. To test CAT5 properly, you need a Fluke tester which we are talking £thousands for, plus the training, plus calibration and maintenance. For fiber testing and proper termination tools, you are talking probably £10k plus. This type of stuff is a requirement for big installs, so it really really isn't feasible for us to do.
    For instance, we were having a problem with a network socket which looked like a defective cable, which was a 50m plus cable going up 4 stories. The engineer with a Fluke tester managed to solve the problem in 20 minutes as there was excessive interference on the cable caused by tit running too close to some electrical equipment, which wasn't obvious as the equipment was in another room next to where the cable ran!

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    We use these guys they provide an A+ service.

    NETbuilder Ltd.

    If you want to contact them, ask for Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    The problems though come with meeting current building regs and also with testing the cabling. To test CAT5 properly, you need a Fluke tester which we are talking £thousands for, plus the training, plus calibration and maintenance.
    IntelliTone Toner and Probe

    As we only use copper cable, we bought the above Intellitone kit from Fluke last year. Cost us ~£120 from RS and we've never needed anything else. Spot on.

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottStevinson View Post
    IntelliTone Toner and Probe

    As we only use copper cable, we bought the above Intellitone kit from Fluke last year. Cost us ~£120 from RS and we've never needed anything else. Spot on.

    Scott
    The Intellitone is a useful tool, but doesn't test for things like interference on the cable or for your cabling to meet ISO/TIA standards, which is either a requirement or recommendation under current building regulations depending on circumstances. For that you need something like the Fluke DTX CableAnalyser, which start at about £4,500 and go up to £11,000
    Mind you, a lot of self installed cabling is done far better than what I've seen supposed 'experts' do

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