Ideally your IT person(s) (or a trained IT consultant with facility relocation experience; such as one off AIT’s Engineers) would be involved in the selection process once the choice have been narrowed to a few possible locations. This usually saves in time, money and unforeseen IT related technical obstacles.
There are several major considerations that need to be addressed not only from a budgetary perspective but, from an “WAN” infrastructure perspective. WAN or Wide Area Network refers to data infrastructure available to that location. This is often referred to as the “data pipe” or Internet Access Point. The providers of this can be:
Local phone companies generally provides some form of “DSL” service. Generally DSL is the slowest of all business class Internet connections options even when advertised as “High Speed” or “Business Class”. The positives would be access as DSL service is provided in most places phones service is available and is generally fairly reliable. Another factor is that DSL is generally “synchronous” which means that upload speed is the same as download speed which is normally not the case. A big reason not to count the phone company out as a necessary infrastructure provider is the need for “analog” or traditional phone lines for legacy fax machines or alarm panels. See our FAQ on “All analog lines are not created equal”. Speed or bandwidth for DSL range from .128 Mbps to 3 Mbps.
Wireless modems or 4G cell access (often refereed to as LTE) is generally the most expensive of the options for Internet service but, does not require physical cabling and may be a consideration where strong 4G cell service is available especially as a backup Internet Access Point. Most of the current generation of network equipment can automatically switch service to the backup Internet provider when the primary Internet providers fails or connection is lost. 4G is a very popular option in the field or in mobile offices where the Internet connection would be only required for a limited time. Speed or bandwidth for 4G LTE range from .5 Mbps to 5 Mbps.
A new location has been found and arrangements made to move furniture what happens to all the computers, printers, servers, etc? The task or better yet the “project” of relocating (whether keeping the same size or increasing / decreasing office space) an office location is no small undertaking. Planning and preparation are the key elements in reducing potential complications and unnecessary costs. This article has been written from the IT engineer perspective with over 40 years in the industry and more than his share of office relocations for employers, as an independent contractor and currently as an IT business owner.
Many small – medium business even with full time IT staff are simply not equipped or have the necessary expertise or time to address this technical undertaking. It is important for the outsourced IT service company to be involved with the planning process as soon as possible. This would be at the onset of planning the new office layout. Preferably before construction begins.
Some of the key elements to be reviewed is the centralized location of the wiring closet(s). It is important to remember that network cabling must be within 300’ of the longest run. If cable runs are longer than 300’ fiber optic cable or secondary wire closet(s)/ rack may be required. Generally, all network and phone cabling will “home run” back to the centralized wiring concentration points. This is often referred to as “Centralized Wiring Architecture” or CNA.
There are several considerations when planning your layout for the new location. As discussed it is critical to centralize your wiring concentration point as close to the center of your network layout to minimize network lengths and to stay within the 300’ limit of the network cabling technical specifications.
Some other considerations include:
- Where does the local Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the phone company terminate their service within the building.
- Is there multiple floors involved and if so how will cabling traverse from on floor to the next and will it maintain the 300’ rule or will fiber optic cabling be required.
- What are the current technical requirements and what are the future technical requests the company may require.
- What is the time frame for the move and the budget allocated?
- Inventory and decide what if any of the current equipment will be moved allowing for minimal downtime and ROI (return on investment – the cost of moving and downtime)?
- How long can the business afford to be off line and when would be the most opportune time to relocate (during the holidays or long weekend)?
First and foremost, be aware of the details of the new location’s voice and data network infrastructure, relative to your current and future needs. While your office manager or some other person in charge of moving may be proud of the fact that he/she has found a great deal on a new office space, it is of utmost importance that you, as the IT person, be aware of what you’re moving into.
One cable or two????
To Patch panel or not?
All analog lines are not created equally: Fax alarm panels