Back to the Basics

Remembering the Fundamentals of Structured Cabling

Back to the BasicsThe Green Bay Packers, my favorite football team, recently lost to the New York Giants in a divisional playoff game. Although I’m disappointed, the Giants are a good team and took advantage of the multiple mistakes the Packers made to secure their victory. That said, what do the Packers need to do to get back to the Super Bowl? It’s easy – they need to get back to the basics.

This same concept can be used while discussing structured cabling. Similar to the divisional playoff game I watched, I have seen structured cabling mistakes in many networks as well. A few mistakes can be overcome, but the more there are, the greater the chance a network has of failing or running below its capable level. Can one afford to let this happen? With the high value of information technology to a company, what needs to occur to get a network back running at peak performance? Again, it’s easy – they need to get back to the basics.

Below is a comparison of both areas mistakes:

Packers Divisional Playoff Game                                 

  • Dropped Passes
  • Holding                                                                            
  • Poor Route Running
  • Missed Block
  • Missed Tackles
  • Fumbles

Structured Cabling

  • Dropped Packets from Improper or Loose Terminations
  • Routed too Close to Electrical Cables  
  • Over Cinched Cable Ties
  • Missing Labels
  • Spaghetti Cabling
  • Ripped Cable Jacket

So what does getting “back to the basics” mean? For the Packers it means going back to the basic fundamentals of the game and making those fundamentals a natural extension of the game. For structured cabling it means going back and reviewing the basic TIA/EIA standards of structured cabling on a regular basis. It means making sure installers have BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designers (RCDD) on staff to take these fundamentals and make them a natural extension of the network. 

Now let’s have some fun! In the comment section below, please list your favorite sports team followed by some of the common mistakes they make while performing – then list a common structured cabling mistake. Feel free to be creative! Below is an example for your review:

President Barack Obama might state that his favorite football team, the Chicago Bears, made the mistake of not having a sufficient backup quarterback, and hence, lost five of their last six games and failed to make the playoffs because of this. A common structured cabling mistake is to run the cheapest cable to add a drop to your network. This cable may not be the proper type of cable (CMR vs. CMP) or have the proper twist ratio to maintain data integrity.