Steps to Determine What You Need
Planning your data and voice network

1Contact your current service provider to see if they service your new location. It is always a good idea to keep your same phone number(s) if you are already doing business, at least your main number.

2If your current provider does not service your new location, they can tell you who does. Contact each service provider for both the old and new locations to schedule a switchover date.

3Contact a data and voice installer. Depending on how big your business is you may also need a switch installer. Some companies, like Able Cable & Communications, do both.
There are several questions you will be asked by your installer.

  • a) How many people need phones?
  • b) How many people need computers?
  • c) How many numbers will you need?
  • d) How many fax lines, will they be off the switch or from a service provider?
  • e) How will you get service from the DEMARC to your office MDF?
  • f) Will you be using CATV? If so, you will need to identify each screen location.

4Site plans are a necessity, even if they are hand drawn. Site plans provide both the user and installer a clear picture of the locations of every data, voice and fax outlet in each office or cubicle.

  • a) It is best to locate your data and voice outlets opposite the door to the room.

5Determine what type of service you require.

  • a) Do you need a T-1,T-3, fractional T-1 or DSL? If you are a business of 10 people or less a DSL is usually fine.
  • b) If you are a big company, 50 people or more, you should sit down with your provider and determine how much bandwidth you actually need.
  • c) Don’t necessarily go straight for the T-1, do a fractional; this is where an understanding of your needs can save you or cost you money.

6Is this a plenum or non-plenum environment?

  • a) Often the space between the drop ceiling and floor above is used to return air to the air conditioning system. If that is the case you have a plenum environment.
  • b) If you have ducted return air to the air conditioning system then you have a non-plenum environment.

7Do you want to use Voice Over Internet Protocol, VOIP, or are you planning to use a wireless system.

  • a) By using wireless you can avoid costly network locations to each desktop, however, there is a loss of speed. It is best to view a demonstration of the wireless system and judge for yourself.
  • b) VOIP allows you to save money by only having one data cable to each desktop verses a data and voice cutting your cost almost half on wiring. There are some good systems now that are not expensive. Your phone plugs into your computer and runs off your server /switch.