OFFICE RELOCATION CONSIDERATIONS
Why having an IT Professional involved in your office relocation will save time, money, and lots of headaches.
By ALBERT GASPAR
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.
How do I get Internet to my new location?
There are several major considerations that need to be addressed not only from a budgetary perspective but also from the “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.
Who is my WAN Provider?
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.
Ok, I have Internet to the building but not to my offices, now what ?
Now you know who your internet provider is and they have brought internet or phone to the building. Next step is to bring the services to the individual locations you will need phones and data connections.
Where does the internet/phone start and where does it go?
Where does the local Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the phone company terminate their service within the building. Why is this important? The distance from the centralized wiring connection point or the DMARC will affect how the wiring is done. The closer the better.
If the distance of 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.
An IT Professional will assist in the planning of your layout for the new location. 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.
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
If there are high ceilings involved, it is always best to have a site survey completed by an IT Professional prior to filling any warehouse space if possible. If a lift is required to complete the wiring, the space will need to be free and clear of equipment, racks, or materials to ensure the safety of the installers.
What are the current technical requirements and what are the future technical requests the company may require
Be aware of the details of the new location’s voice and data network infrastructure, relative to your current and future needs. While you may have great deal on a new office space, will the space and the infrastructure to the building accommodate future growth.
For Example, you may only have a few stations and VOIP phones now, but would like to expand to 10+ stations. Will the current ISP offer a plan or speeds that accommodate these demands? If no, you may end up having to delay the expansion until an ISP that can accommodate your needs moves into the area.
Future growth must be taken into account when
A good IT professional has relationships with vendors that can accommodate both rush and planned office relocation projects. As with any rush project, there may be additional costs involved with obtaining materials quickly or only sourcing locally. It is best to plan ahead so that inventory may be done and that wiring and other equipment may be sources and pricing my be bid competitively to get the best ROI (return on Investment).