As a broadband integrator, you know that setting up internet for your business customers involves a lot more than installing a scalable enclosure outside the building. Your business customers need a custom structured wiring installation that accommodates their current requirements and helps them prepare for their future needs.
Broadband is the most important service in today’s office, powering far more than just email and web browsing. The internet is a huge source of revenue for some businesses, and for many, it is the critical piece in their communications strategy. And with common workplace programs such as Windows Office and Adobe Creative Suite moving to the cloud, connectivity is essential to today’s office.
For business applications, structured wiring remains the better choice because it is still faster, more reliable, and more secure than wireless. File sharing speeds, for example, are much faster with a wired connection. A wireless connection is vulnerable to interference, which means the signal can be dropped in the middle of important tasks. And wireless security can be hacked by a laptop somewhere in the neighborhood, while a wired network is more difficult for hackers to locate, let alone breach.
Setting up the office network
Planning is key with the connected office. Before the installation, your customers need to think carefully about how each person in the office will use the network. This means considering how many staff need to be connected, but also what kind of bandwidth each person is likely to require.
Your customers also need to consider the implementation of new technologies such as voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing. Even if your customer has previously only required limited bandwidth, they still must plan their office with the understanding that all their staff may be sending and receiving video. With more than 15,000 companies using Skype in North America, your staff will likely need to video chat with a business contact.
And if your customers are considering VoIP services as a cost-saving measure, a new network installation is a perfect time to make the transition. If they are not yet ready for that degree of change, make sure that they are set up for the transition in the future.
Physical layout also needs to be considered because your customer must choose the site of the central hub including servers and a distribution enclosure. They’ll also want a location that requires the least cable to reach each workspace. Cat6 cable, for example, has a limit of 100 meters before needing switches.
In addition to a high-quality media panel, your customers should invest in business-grade routers and switches to accommodate future growth. They may also want to invest in Cat-6 or Cat-6a Ethernet cable, which can transport data at 10 Gigabits per second (Gb/s). This will be particularly useful to customers that move a lot of data between users in the office. The 1Gb/s available with a Cat5e cable may be enough for their current needs, but it may need to be replaced after only a couple of years of business growth.
Chances are you may not be the one to set up their next hire, so do your customer a favor by using a color-coded system for their structured wiring. For fiber installations, you can use fiber marker clips for color coding and protecting the cable.
With good planning from the outset, the use of quality components and cable, and an organized installation, you can ensure that your customer’s network can grow with their business. And you’ll make future service calls to their business easier to manage – for yourself or another tech.