of Structured Cabling
Training Programs and Equipment
- Who Cares About Cabling?
- The typical buyer of a cabling
system is an IT (information technology) or network manager.
Cabling represents only a few percent of their budget, yet it
may cause half their problems! Think about all the things they
have to worry about:
- Network equipment (hubs, switches,
routers, NIC cards)
- Software - licenses, upgrades,
- User training
- Security - viruses and hackers
- User abuse of the systems
- What the IT manager wants is
cabling that is installed on time and works properly at a reasonable
cost. Over the lifetime of their network, they may spend several
times the original cost in MACs (moves, adds and changes). It's
important to remember that they are looking for professionalism
- Manufacturers' Warranties
- Most cabling system manufacturers
offer long warranties on the performance of their cabling. In
order to qualify for these warranties, you must use all their
products or products they have approved and it must be installed
by one of their certified installers.
- How Long Is A "Lifetime
Warranty" Good For?
- At one of our Cable U Conferences,
we had a session on manufacturers certification and warranties.
Manufacturers of cabling products offer warranties of 15-25 years
or even lifetime warranties if the cabling uses their components
and is installed by one of their certified installers. What does
- Many users think it means the
manufacturer and installer guarantee the cable plant they have
installed will support their network needs for that length of
time. No so! It means the cable plant will still meet Cat 5 /5e/6
performance limits over that period of time. Assuming you could
find a working Cat 5/5e tester in 2013 (anybody starting a Structured
Cabling Museum?), the cable would still have to pass Cat 5 /5e
requirements accroding to the warranty.
- The only cable plant warranty
that makes sense is the "Lifetime Warranty," since
the lifetime of any cable you install today is highly unlikely
to last longer than 5 years!
- Get Trained Properly Before
- The most important part of getting
started in data/voice/video cabling installations is getting
trained. The oft-quoted statistic that 80% of all Cat 5/5e installations
would not pass standard specs is a result of too many installers
working without proper training. Maybe some have installed telephone
wiring successfully for years, but unless they follow the standards
and use proper installation and termination procedures, they
will ruin the performance of the cabling they install.
- We suggest you read everything
you can about cabling. Of course we recommend our book Data, Voice
and Video Cable Installation.
- This guide is another recommendation,
of course, but there is no subsititue for good hands-on training.
VDV Works offers "hands-on"
self-study programs or has lots of good trainers who will bring
a complete training program to your company. Contact us for some
- What About Certification?
- Certification has many meanings,
like "certifying cabling" by testing with equipment
called a "certifier" that checks it's performance compared
to the standards or tests to ensure it works with network signals
(usually called a "verification" test using a tool
called, logically, a "verifier.")
- Certification also means that
someone certifies an individual's knowledge, skills and abilities
(called KSAs) in a topic, such as cabling installation. There
are many people who offer certification of cabling designers
and installers, including most manufactureres. Two non-profit
professional societies we recommend for certification are the
FOA for fiber optics and SCA for structured cabling.
- Tools and Test Equipment
- Many years involvement in the
cabling business and training installers have left us with some
strong opinions on tools and test equipment. Let's list them:
- Buy the best tools you can afford.
They will last longer and cost less in the long run.
- Try them before you buy them
to see if you like how they work.
- Check them out before you go
out on a job. Make sure all the tools are in good shape, you
have all the accessories you will need, testers have fresh batteries
or a recharge, and make sure you remember how to use everything.
- After the job is finished, check
everything again, replace or fix whatever needs replacing or
fixing, before you take your kit back in the field.
- Good installing!