Leave Telecom Cabling to the Professionals
Low-voltage isn’t necessarily low-risk.
When bidding out telecom wiring for your new construction project or remodel, it might be tempting to go cheap.
Unlike power cabling, low-voltage communications wires seem harmless. Many states and municipalities don’t even inspect communications wiring, nor do many require a telecom wiring installer to be licensed, bonded, or insured. There are some assumptions about low-voltage cabling that tempts one into thinking it’s a job for “that kid down the street” or “a guy I know” or “Ralph from third shift.” After all, who hasn’t run an Ethernet cable to another room?
However, danger lurks in these assumptions: Low-voltage can mean high-risk.
The first risk concerns how the installer will work with the project. Running low-voltage cables through walls or above suspended ceilings brings the installer into contact with electrical, plumbing, and structural elements. Will the non-professional know enough not to drill into a live 120-volt junction box? Will he run cables near support beams to keep ceiling tiles from sagging? How long will it take for whatever damage is done by an inexpert installer to be discovered? When the main ceiling lights stop working?
Damaged Cables & Interference
The second risk concerns the function of the telecom cabling itself. These cables are robust, but must be installed a manner that ensures their longevity and efficient function. Routing data or voice cable too close to power mains can cause interference and disrupt data or voice communication. Bad or loose interconnections can cause failures. These can be very hard for even a professional to diagnose when called out to fix an amateur installation job.
Another thing to consider: If the telecom cables are not run in a neat, efficient manner, it can make troubleshooting an expensive nightmare should any of them fail at a later date.
A third risk concerns the quality of connectors and terminal points in use. The amateur installer will be tempted to use the cheapest ones available, regardless of intended use. They know it’s unlikely they’ll be called back to service any failed components. They might be unaware of the difference between a high-quality terminal connection and one that’s merely adequate for consumer use at home.
Injury & Liability
Risk number four: The inexperienced cabler might get injured on the job. Installing telecom cables can involve standing on high ladders, long reaches across suspended ceilings, and journeys through crawl spaces. The professional has seen this all before and knows enough to stay out of trouble. The amateur still has a lot to learn. Each new assignment is an adventure in on-the-job training. You’re paying the bill for his education, of course.
A Simple Way to Eliminate Risk
The cost of a professional low-voltage telecom wiring installation can be a tough pill to swallow when budgets are running tight and deadlines loom, but it’s well-worth the cost in peace of mind and prevention of future difficulties. The telecom cabling professional can ensure that low-voltage means low-risk.