The Essentials of Office Cabling

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Whether you’re setting up a big office for a lot of employees or just turning your own study into a freelancer center of operations – you’re going to need some cables.  Like with any other work, if you plan ahead, the job will be done faster and more smoothly. If you make a mistake it can cost you in: time needed to redo the work, supplies and professional help you might need to hire. Here’re a few a tips on how to do it properly.

Cables can break

It’s important to remember that so called CAT 5 cables (like those used to set up the network connections) are pretty easy to break, especially when you put something heavy on top of them. This type of cables can withstand only up to 35 pounds of pressure. That means you might want to reconsider hiding them below the floor. Also, they tend to break when they’re bent too sharply around corners. It’s best to keep the bends at a radius of 5 inches, so you’ll have to get a bit more cable than you actually need to keep all the corners covered.

The support

The structure used for support of the electrical wiring is also critical for its protection. Choosing the type of support is based on numerous factors.  If you go for cable trays, you will have flexibility in wiring design, which is especially important if you plan to add or remove equipment in the near future. The labor cost is also lower this way. Conduits, on the other side, significantly minimize the electromagnetic interference. They also last much longer and they’re chemically compatible with concrete – which means you can hide them completely inside a wall.

Reduce friction

Friction created between the cables can damage them, advise my local electrical contractors, so it’s mostly about the material of which the cables are made. Grease and oil shouldn’t be used on nonmetallic cables, for instance. With polymer jacketed cables it’s best to use soap or talc. It’s imperative not to use graphite, because it conducts electricity, and can therefore cause fire. Also, don’t use anything that can corrode the cables.

End seals

When the cables are set, check the condition of end seals. First of – check if they broke, and if they did – how big is the damage. If it’s enough for the water to get in, you might need to replace the seals altogether. Even if the damage isn’t visible, there’s still a chance you can find some cracks. Use plastic or rubber tape to cover them up and protect them from the rain. This is especially important if the cables go under water or there is a chance that they might get wet from the rain. Make sure the seals are protected if there is a delay between pulling the cables and splicing and terminating.

Removing cables

Having too many unused cables isn’t a safety risk as long as the cables are properly marked and tagged. At some point they’re going to be removed, either for efficiency purposes or simply by whoever occupiers the building next. Plan ahead for this eventuality and leave enough space for the cables to be removed in the future without the fear of disrupting the whole network in the process. Have in mind that removing wiring can also be an administrative issue and find out about required permits for this work.

As you can see, wiring isn’t as simple as plug and play, but you’ll have to do it only once or twice during the lifespan of your facility. Take your time and do it right.


Author Bio: Lillian believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale.  You can check her out on LinkedIn.

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