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Labels, labels, labels, labels, labels, labels, labels!

Bunnie's instructors in phone school (over 15 years ago) made a big impression with one rule: If a wire is not labeled, the job is not done. Installers who put in a phone system love to wire and leave. If the phone system works perfectly, you are really pleased and write the final check. The next time someone comes in and has to try and figure out what goes where, your hourly service bill gets bigger and bigger and . . . The service person who arrives should be able to read the labels on the individual punch down connection blocks and go right to work. A sloppy job that is not properly labeled come back to haunt you each time a new service technician comes and has to do the guesswork routine.

HINT: Write the final check after your technician shows you how every wire has a label. Plastic doors that are put over 66 type punch down connection blocks have a space a label for every wire on both sides of the block. They cost about $2.50 retail and save a lot of time when you have a service request. Blocks of the 110 connection type also have insertable sheets to label all connections.

On a new install, run all the cable you think you will ever need and then add some. Running cable before the ceiling tiles are installed is so easy compared to moving desks, poping ceiling tiles, etc.

The most forward looking people in the industry are installing AT LEAST Category 6 cable for computer networks. By contrast, all phone systems can run on standard old Category 3 twisted phone wire. Category 6 computer cable will handle data at rates up to 350 MHz. The maximum potential for properly installed Category 5 is 100 MHz (Fast Ethernet). The price of Fast Ethernet is very affordable and soon we should have Category 6 working at 300 MHz. The notion of replacing huge amounts of Category 5computer cable is insane when you can upgrade to Category 6 now for a small premium on the material; the price of the labor is the same to install Category 5 or Category 6.

If your phone system requires one pair to operate a phone, install at least a four pair wire from the control unit to the phone (a home run.) Who knows if you will add fax modems at all computers, and a modem line, or a guest phone, etc. Run a minimum of four pairs of wire to each phone, and more if your phone system requires two or more pairs to run each phone. The difference is price between four pair and six pair is not great, and the little extra cost will be worth it if you need to add something later by poping the ceiling tiles, moving furniture, etc. A little extra copper now saves a lot of disruption later.

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