Cables and cords may seem like an afterthought in security systems, but strong security cabling standards are critical to infrastructure efficacy. Improperly installed cable can lead to system damage, lost business, and fire hazards. By following a standardized process during installation, users can extend the life of their security devices and protect their entire infrastructure. In fact, it is recommended to work with an expert instead of doing it yourself for maximum effectiveness and coverage.
How Structured Cabling Supports the Security Infrastructure
Structured cabling establishes a clear path for all the connections in an enterprise’s security infrastructure. These cables deliver power, voice, and data to devices and allow them to operate. With a clear cabling structure in place, it’s much easier to add and remove components, as well as correct issues. It also extends the life of devices by reducing stress on cables and eliminating problems with loose connections.
Structuring is also important, as the first sign of a cable problem is usually a malfunctioning device. Without complete knowledge of which cables feed into what devices, an enterprise could spend thousands of dollars just trying to pinpoint the problem. They may undertake expensive repairs and replacements before realizing the issue was a loose connection all along. There’s also the additional concern of building safety. Broken cables and inappropriately penetrated fire rated walls can create serious hazards which can hurt employees, damage equipment and disrupt business.
With a clear-cut structure in place, enterprises can reduce both the safety risk of improper cabling and the cost to the business. They’re able to quickly pull up a blueprint of their entire cable set-up and understand issues. However, every structured cabling design is as unique as the enterprise that utilizes them. Since there is no one-size-fits-all design, it’s best to review common industry standards before laying out the project so you know what will work and what won’t.
The Basics of Industry Recognized Security Cabling Standards
Following a standardized and industry-wide process is the best option for cabling correctly. These industry-recognized methods have been honed through years of updates and field-testing, making them an ideal resource for establishing internal cabling protocols. For security cabling purposes, it’s best to look to Building Industry Consulting Services International (BICSI) for guidance. While the requirements of security cabling standards are far too numerous to summarize in one place, some of the most vital components covered in this standard includes:
- Firestopping. While the practice should be minimized, it’s very possible cabling will require penetrating fire rated walls and floors. Sealing these openings maintains the integrity of these vital safety structures and stops the fire from spreading through openings.
- Cable stress. Cables can break down when hung latterly and not supported or cinched with hardware which is too tight. Loosely fitting cable bindings with hook and loop straps reduce stress and eliminate damage from excess tension.
- Conduits. Flexible and rigid tubes protect cables while rooting them throughout the building. Conduits are typically made of nonmetallic material to reduce the risk of electrical damage and eliminate the need for grounding.
- Cutovers. Enterprises rarely have infrastructures in which all devices and cables are the same age. Cutovers are critical for transitioning between old systems and new and require careful planning to eliminate business disruption.
- Cable splicing. Standards for both permanent and semi-permanent cable splices should be in place to ensure all individuals working on the system know the procedure. These standards should include the types of crimps and crimping tools to use, as well as rules for barrel connections in coaxial cable.
For more comprehensive cabling information, BICSI offers a field guide for purchase which covers the above components as well as other issues in depth. This resource will help guide personnel through establishing a structured cable plan to support the entire network. For jobs like this, it helps to get the guidance of a qualified integrator with extensive knowledge in security cabling standards.
3Sixty Integrated follows stringent cabling protocols in compliance with BICSI standards to support all our installation projects and provide long term, scalable protection. Our engineers design structured cable systems for electronic security and set a standard for all future installation. For more information, call (210) 545-1770 or fill out our contact form.