These extra levels of detail are part of the reason why there can be such a variance in cabling installation costs. Many customers mistakenly presume that "cabling is cabling" and hire non-qualified, or lowest-cost personnel, without the proper tools or training to install sensitive network infrastructure. Data infrastructure requires entirely different installation processes than electrical or simple telephone wiring, and we believe that we provide a superior solution that allows the customer to not worry about their cabling infrastructure once it's been installed.
Network Cabling - Testing and Certification
Many people "install" network cabling, but fail to actually test and certify it. There is a difference. Simply installing cabling and then running a "tester" on it is not the same as certifying that the voice and data cabling will actually meet the rated speed that you're paying for. Devices may light up at both ends of the connection, but how do you really know that you're getting 100Mb, and maybe not 10Mb? When network problems arise, do you really want to have to worry about the wiring being suspect?
Because of the demanding requirements of today's network infrastructure, the only true way to confirm that your cable infrastructure actually meets the specifications and quality level that you've purchased is to test and certify it. We test and certify all twisted-pair cabling for Category 5/5e/6 compliance (where applicable), including continuity, proper polarity, crossed-pairs, NEXT, and shorts with an industry-standard Fluke DTX Level IV cable certifier, or equivalent. We also test and certify all our fiber optic cabling installations. Once Attach Communications completes an infrastructure installation, you can be assured that your physical infrastructure meets the specs that you paid for. We also maintain an archive copy of your cable/fiber scans on site, so that they can be provided in the future if you've lost your copy.
Our voice and data cabling technicians are certified too. We do not hire the lowest cost personnel that we can find or subcontract our work out to someone else. We look for high quality, professional, trained and certified full-time employees, and then continue to train them to stay abreast of the latest industry standards and performance requirements from BICSI, EIA/TIA, â€‹CompTIA, etc. We take great pride in the high quality of the workmanship that we provide and we back it up with a Lifetime Workmanship Warranty.
Certifaction File Sample (.Pdf)
Customers often ask what the differences are between the various types of cable (Cat3, Cat5, Cat6). In one Word, the higher the number, the better the performance, and accordingly, the higher the price tag. The most common types of cabling are Category 3 (used primarily for voice today), Category 5 and 5E (the most common type of cabling, used for both voice and data, and also supports Gigabit Ethernet), and Category 6 and 6A. Customers sometimes request Category 6 because they think it's a requirement for Gigabit Ethernet, which isn't quite correct. Gigabit Ethernet can run on Category 5 cabling, however, Category 6 will perform better. The key is the bandwidth the cable supports.
Category 6 is rated at 550Mhz (and the newest Category 6a specifies 1000Mhz), whereas Category 5E is rated at 350Mhz. The higher megahertz support allows cabling to handle the greater amount of noise and crosstalk that occurs on a wire when faster (ie: gigabit and 10G) connections are running on that wire. When signals are run at a higher frequency that the cabling is not rated for, it can cause errors and anomalies.
So what are the cost variances? Generally speaking, you can expect to pay a 20% price premium between Cat6 and Cat5E, and a 50% price premium between Cat 5E and Cat 6a.