Everything is running smoothly at your office and then suddenly your staff starts having network connection problems. Your team troubleshoots by rebooting their devices, your server, your router, and after an exhaustive search for the problem and a lot of lost time, everyone’s at a loss.
You call in an IT professional, and it turns out the connection culprit was something no one thought of, a failing ethernet cable.
Low voltage structured data cabling is often overlooked when evaluating IT assets. It’s not flashy and just quietly connects all your devices and enables your network to work properly, but when it’s not maintained correctly it can take your whole office down.
Cable certification of new and existing networks helps companies avoid downtime and ensure their office is communicating as efficiently as it should. At Quantum PC Services, our Network Services Team provides expert network installations for companies throughout Sturgeon Bay, WI and we never leave until the underlying cabling is properly certified.
Cable certification is your insurance against a slow or faulty network.
So, how exactly does the cable certification process work and what equipment is used?
Read on for a fascinating intro to cable certification! Plus, we’ll tell you why you never want to skip certification for any network cabling, either old or new.
What Is Cable Certification?
When copper or fiber cable is run to connect telecommunications and data networks, there are certain standards that need to be followed to ensure it’s installed correctly.
Imagine you’re having a room in your home rewired. You would want your electrician to follow the proper wiring guidelines, so you don’t end up with major problems later. Well, the same is true for low voltage structured data cabling, there are specific certification guidelines that ensure it’s installed, connected, and working properly.
Cable certification falls into three main areas, the first two done by the manufacturer and the third done by the technician in the field.
- Component standards, define performance of jacks, outlets, and plugs
- Cable standards, define performance of the bare cable
- Cabling standards, define performance of the connected components and cable once it’s installed
How is Cable Certification Done?
There are special tools that technicians use to certify that cabling is properly connected and you’re getting the proper bandwidth that you expect.
We’ll go over two main types of handheld Cable Certification tools, both by Fluke.
Fluke DTX-1800 CableAnalyzer™
We’ll start with the older of the two cable certifiers, which has now been officially retired. The DTX-1800 had a great run of over 14 years helping to ensure network cables were installed and communicating correctly. It also drastically reduced testing time, being three times faster than other Cat6 testers and five times faster for fiber cable testing.
Fluke DSX-5000 CableAnalyzer™
The newer model with several more features that replaced the DTX is the DSX-5000. This cable certification tool added features like a touch screen, battery bypass, and Level V accuracy. This unit also further reduces diagnostic testing times.
Why Do I Need Cable Certification?
When we get called in to fix a cabling job that someone else did wrong, one of the common issues our Quantum PC Services team finds is unreliable installers trying to cut corners. They skip cable certification, and their customers are the ones to suffer long after they’re gone.
We always impress upon our clients in Sturgeon Bay and beyond the importance of certifying cabling and connections both after installation and regularly during maintenance visits.
Here are 4 key reasons you need your network cabling certified.
Repair Costs More than Certification
Cable certification is protection against future problems. If you end up having to have cable repaired later because it wasn’t properly certified it means both expensive repairs and downtime (and the associated costs) for your company while the network is worked on.
Get More Longevity from Your Network Infrastructure
Did you know that recertified cabling may actually prove to support higher-speed traffic? For example, a Cat6 cable initially designed to support 1GB per second data speeds, can end up being found to comply with a 10GB per second speed upon recertification, reducing replacement costs down the road. But unless it was certified and recertified, it may have been replaced without knowing it could support higher speeds.
Keep Your Speed & Productivity High
IT speed issues can be a major drag on office productivity. A network that’s slower than it should be means wasted minutes and hours each week while your employees are waiting on a network that isn’t as fast as it should be. Cable certification confirms your network cabling is performing as fast as it’s meant to.
Protection from “Unknown” Cable Suppliers
Unfortunately, there are some cable suppliers that sell no-name brands that claim to be a Cat5 or Cat6 standard but are made with inferior materials and fall short. If you don’t have a professional certifying that the cable meets industry standards, you could end up with catastrophic failures due to a product that isn’t what it claims to be.
Make Sure Your Network is Up to Spec!
Do you know if your network cabling has been certified? It’s never too late to have it checked. Cable certification and recertification can save you money and ensure you’re getting the network speed you need.
Contact Quantum PC Services today for a network evaluation. Faster and stronger connections could be just around the corner. Contact us at 920-256-1214 today.