The Start of a Partnership
Tim Newcome and his project manager, Doug Sherwood, understood what we were trying to accomplish better than all of the other contractors that we contacted. Working with Newcome became a partnership, which is really what we needed. Tim and Doug took note of our thoughts and helped work them into an overall plan of attack. Newcome agreed that they would do all of the Ethernet, phone and coaxial runs to the plates, and it would be up to us to provide the satellite installation and electrical installation where necessary. We had already selected other contractors to handle those tasks, so we were off to the races.
The key thing to be decided was the termination point location for all of the network cabling. We chose a location in the corner of my new lab in the basement, as it seemed the most logical place. After some prompting and discussion, we chose to forgo the initial design idea that I had proposed to mount a four-foot, 19" style rack on the wall and instead go with a six-foot, 19" rack that would be bolted to the floor, which would provide the maximum in available space and flexibility for future expansion. In addition, behind the networking rack there would be an AV cabinet that would be mounted to the wall, which would act as a termination point for all of the phone and coax cabling.
Locating the termination point
Before we could proceed much farther, the next decision to be made was the brand of equipment that we would use for the plates, patch panels, jacks, connectors, and other miscellaneous equipment necessary to complete the project. Tim and Doug suggested using products from Siemon Cabling Systems (www.siemon.com). Newcome has used products from Siemon for some time and they received a strong endorsement from him and Doug. While we were not familiar with the Siemon product line, we agreed to look at what Siemon had to offer.
Siemon is a big player in the networking and telecommunications space, but doesn't seem to have the brand recognition that many other companies have. Much of this is due to Siemon's role as an OEM manufacturer for other companies. Siemon recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary, and offers a complete product line of networking products, in addition to a well-stocked portfolio of home cabling solutions (www.homecabling.com). After a brief look at Siemon's website, I was convinced these products would meet and likely exceed our expectations. Best of all, these were products that the Newcome team was familiar with.
For our cable solution, we chose Comscope as our cabling provider. While Comscope offers a variety of integrated cabling systems that are targeted at residential installs that feature Ethernet, phone and coax all in one cable, we chose a non-integrated cable due to the fact that it was easier for our installation. If you are going to choose a simpler configuration where this is an option, it is worth considering as it offers the advantage of having to pull fewer cables and running individual cables for each jack.
Tim and Doug examined our initial installation locations and several things became apparent right away. We knew where were wanted connectivity, but really didn't have a good plan to reduce installation time while still preparing for the future. It was suggested that we come up with a few standard configuration plate layouts that we could standardize from room to room. While this initially seemed like a waste of time, in hindsight, this was actually quite logical.