If you will soon start a new construction project or a remodel, we put together a few tips that might help you save time and money.

  • Equipment made for your home is not appropriate for your business. It’s slower, less configurable, and won’t last as long. You don’t need top of the line gear but residential equipment won’t work.
  • Everything should be managed. In the network world, a lot of equipment is either managed or unmanaged. Managed means that the user can access a control panel full of options. Unmanaged or “dumb” means that there are no options to configure. Businesses always need managed switches at the network level.
  • Don’t settle for “flat” networks. A flat network is one with little or no configuration. That might work at home but it doesn’t work in your business. Flat networks create speed and security issues. Do you want your customers to have access to your company computers full of sensitive data? You can prevent that with layered networks.
  • Not all network engineers are equal. Networking at the commercial and enterprise level is difficult and it takes somebody with years of experience to do it right. Ask for credentials and references. Ask them what kind of network they will set up. You should hear terms like VLAN, Subnet, and for the real pros, QoS.
  • Your IT people can do your cameras. The skilled network engineer can install your cameras at a fraction of the cost of a security company.
  • Ask for 24 port patch panels. A network switch is where all network lines originate from. The largest switches have 2 rows of 24 ports. Some architects put 1 48 port patch panel above or below the switch and run a tangled mess of cables to it. Putting 1 24 port patch panel above the switch and one below the switch, allow for a much cleaner install. Clean means that when it breaks, it’s easy to understand and fix. Remember, you’re paying repair personnel by the hour. An organized network rack could add hours of labor to the job.
  • You NEED an IT Pro. Architects have a lot of hats to wear. In our experience, the network and IT piece is pretty low on the priority list and often an afterthought. On top of that, they almost underestimate the amount of space needed and the network equipment gets crammed into a corner where it’s hard to service and can be damaged. Have an IT Pro with experience in construction, supervise the project.
  • Don’t Stress Over the Computers. Macs vs. PCs. In most business environments, PCs are still the go-to computer. If you’re an Apple junkie, don’t obsess over trying to get company software to work on a Mac if it’s made for a PC. You will stare at the screens of your management software all day—not the blank screen of your computer. Your management software looks the same regardless of which computer it’s on.
  • Don’t forget security and fire. More and more systems tie into the network now. Your security and fire systems may need cables running from their consoles to your IT room. Ask that question early or you may pay big bucks for a change order.
  • Be Kind to Your IT People. IT is nearly the last person to come in. They have to wait for the construction site to be dust free along with electrical turned on, heavy construction complete. If the rest of the project is running behind, don’t ask them to single-handedly get the project back on schedule. Remember, working fast means making mistakes. Manage the timelines of the project with every sub appropriately so the IT people don’t have to do a week’s worth of work in 2 days. You won’t be happy with your product.