Networking optimize

10 things you should know about networking two buildings

From choosing the right physical media and conduit size to pulling cable to making long-term infrastructure decisions, networking two buildings is a challenging undertaking. These pointers will help you effectively plan and execute this type of project.

From choosing the right physical media and conduit size to pulling cable to making long-term infrastructure decisions, networking two buildings is a challenging undertaking. These pointers will help you effectively plan and execute this type of project.


Connecting the networking components of two buildings can be a pretty daunting task. Here's a little practical advice to help make the process go more smoothly.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: Wireless may not be the best solution

Too often, when a team is contemplating how to connect two buildings, someone will offer a wireless solution. Yes, there are wireless solutions that will connect two buildings, and antenna boosting equipment for better service. However, a hard line connection is more reliable if installed in conduit correctly. Here's a general rule of thumb: "Use a hard line connection unless you can't."

Site-to-site connections using wireless connections are frequently disrupted by an obstruction, weather (in some technologies and applications), or interference. Also, wireless technologies have a shorter lifespan, as replacement technologies are rapidly developing for this market space.

#2: When dealing with conduit, think big

Most building connections today will be a fiber connection in hard plastic conduit. This conduit is usually buried about two feet below the ground. When sizing out what type of conduit to use (even if you're working with a heavy equipment or installation professional), always think larger than you need.

Consider this example: You can fit the bare cable of fiber optic networking in just about any size conduit. However, if this project is a "one of a kind" type, you may have some price pressure to deliver the best solution for the technology need. When you size up the equipment and supplies, you may require a set of fiber cutting tools to end the line at each point. But the most cost-efficient solution may be simply ordering a to-length fiber optic cable that's pre-terminated. In this case, you may save a great deal on fiber tools, but you should go up to the next size (and test the entire fit) for pushing a termination through conduit. For a recent project I did, we pulled two SC connectors through 1-inch conduit.


Best practice

When pulling fiber through a conduit, be careful with the line. Take the following steps to make it easier on the pull:

  • Get the pull line to the end of the conduit the easy way: Make a small ball of tape, put it in a plastic bag (sandwich size), tape the pull line to it, and pull it through with a medium duty vacuum on the end side.
  • Have conduit straightened out before pulling the fiber through.
  • Insulate the header of the cable well with electrical tape. Any pressure will then be taken by the tape instead of the connector or cable.
  • Have people on each side pulling at the end and feeding the cable into the beginning to minimize stress points.


#3: Go absolute cutting edge for physical media

Thinking for all future connections, select the best physical connection (usually fiber or multiple fiber lines) for what will be buried. You don't want to have to dig it up or remove this connection once it's in place. It makes no sense to run CAT-5 over copper when in a few years, you may remove this medium for the backend of most networks.

#4: Call before you dig!

Each state has a "call before you dig" service. A simple Google search of Call before you dig Ohio (or any other state) will take you to the site that can give you procedural information, underground line requirements for your state, and other important facts. When networking two buildings, you will want to use orange markings to identify the connection as a communications system. Most locations use orange for all communications media, but check your local requirements before starting any work and arranging your support staff for the project.


Important safety note

Digging can be very dangerous, as there are many underground utilities, including gas and electric, that can be deadly. It goes without saying to follow all relevant precautions and enlist the services of heavy equipment and facilities or installation professionals for projects of this nature.

Best practice: When digging, it's advisable to have a team that's familiar with operating the necessary equipment to help you lay the conduit. A ditch digger may seem like a fun tool, but enlist your facilities maintenance staff or others more suited to operate this equipment.


#5: Run extra media through the conduit

While you're there, you may want to tag on an extra line or two. For example, if you plan to connect two buildings with a fiber connection, run an extra fiber and maybe a few CAT-5 lines as well. These extra lines may come in handy later. You can group relevant categories of connections in the conduit freely. You can't, however, run power through these lines--no mixing communications and power types. PoE (power over Ethernet) may be considered a power conduit instead of a communications conduit if you seek to pair it with another type.

#6: Leave a pull string in the conduit

In case you decide to pull another type in the conduit in the future, leave a pull string (even high test fishing line does well) in the conduit. Simply tape it to the header of the piece you're pulling through and when you feed your fiber or other type in, also feed the pull string.

#7: Avoid the telco whenever possible

If your buildings aren't very close together, you may not be able to avoid a telco for the connection. But in short-distance situations, you might be able to work out arrangements with local authorities and property neighbors to coordinate the installations of private conduit. If the two buildings are fairly close, it may be worth the effort and higher initial cost to get a private conduit instead of the ongoing cost of an ISP or carrier service.

#8: Think below protocol layers

When designing the basic objectives of your connectivity project, don't think in terms of VLANs and IP addresses at first. You want to establish your connectivity in a way that extends your manageability to the highest level, so focus on Layer 1 and Layer 2 of the OSI model. Who knows, we may dump TCP/IP in a few years anyway for something better, if IPv6 is not well received. You may also consider using WAN protocols for efficiency or segregation on this connection instead of simple TCP/IP configurations.

#9: Share Internet connection points

The last thing any IT department wants is an additional monthly payment, so be sure to keep your Internet connection points centralized where possible. Ensure that your networking configuration allows you to manage the access by the different geographical locations (buildings), by user, or by some other manageable mechanism. Also, having two connection points (one in each building and a LAN connection between the buildings) poses a security threat of multiple entry points. However, a case can be made from a disaster recovery or business continuity perspective to have a backup carrier connection in another building, yet accessible.


Best practice

Be sure that the Internet traffic, or any other traffic, is throttled, cached, or otherwise managed from a QoS perspective if there's a large number of clients or a lot of traffic in the other connection point.


#10: Make long-term infrastructure decisions now

For the network clients in the second building, make decisions about the local name resolution, file server storage resources, e-mail servers, and authentication/directory servers that may be local to the first building. Should the second building involve a small number of clients and less traffic, you may not want to have a true data room there. You can simply extend the back-end services from the primary building. But if the second building will double traffic to your server room--and possibly over a limited-speed connection--you may need to make some of those resources central to the destination.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

70 comments
ctaylor
ctaylor

A little more than 10 years ago the campus I administered had fiber between buildings. This was a huge cost saver when a lightening strike hit buried electrical lines running into one building Fiber contained the network damage to a single building. As an aside, when the utility company arrived to fix the power problem we all saw that the dirt leading to the electrical lines had turned into glass from the heat generated by the lightening bold. Running Cat-5 would not have contained the damage. I see value in having the Cat-5 available for a quick fix should the fiber somehow fail, but leaving the Cat-5 physically connected while the fiber lines are running may not be a good idea when the unexpected happens.

ahmad_mohamads
ahmad_mohamads

They are good advices for pre planning for future saftey(longlive) and optimization in cost of network designs before the implimentation of the connention between any two buildings (LANs) such that future extentions be accomodated easily with the minmum possible cost and minimum work(effort).

ozi Eagle
ozi Eagle

Hi, Having been in charge of a large utilities communications, the one thing we always did was to specify 4" conduit between buildings, as the requirements invariably changed and much more cable needed to be pulled than was ever considered at the original planning stage. A typical example was at a major depot there was a shed down the back somewhere and the consultant ( not us) specified a 1" conduit for the one phone that was installed there. Some years later this area was the new site of a major work group, involving 50 or more phone lines. It cost tens of thousands of dollars to run a larger conduit. Herb

S,David
S,David

There are a lot of good points made, but there is a lot left out. A project like this is too complex for a "top 10" list to cover properly. It's not hard to link buildings, but the details make a huge difference in how it gets done. It's hard enough in a campus environment where there are no easement or right-of-way issues, a single property owner, and short distances. If I have to go off-property I look at wireless, then at third party cable plant. Trying to get permission to go under a highway, or worse, a railroad line, is too much trouble, and few utilities want someone else in their easement. I have never had an arrow-straight conduit run, but I can say that it is a waste to include a pull-line for future use. Trying to add new cable to a conduit in use, unless innerduct was installed, always seems to end up with the old and new cable tangled somewhere inside the conduit. Make the best guess possible on future capacity and pull extra at the beginning. The cost of extra cable is nothing compared to the cost of manpower to pull it.

MJ Viscomi
MJ Viscomi

All of these tips really apply to larger campuses as well. In my experience, growth in campus environments is generally not planned well, with ad hoc conduits and cables thrown in between buildings as needed without forethought of future possible expansion. Facility managers lose track of what?s out there, and you end up with too much infrastructure that is underutilized and inefficient. Extended foresight and proper planning is well worth the extra effort and expense.

mfaiques
mfaiques

Very Good Article, but need some extra clerification regarding the maintanance point of view.

elrsmith
elrsmith

There are existing standards for telecommunications infrastructure as well as local and state regulations. There is also an excellent organization with educational materials and certification programs that can help identify best practices. The organization is: BICSI which is at www.bicsi.org. The use of an RCDD (a registered BICSI program) will reduce the life cycle costs. (NOTE: I gain no personal benefit from mentioning BICSI or RCDD.)

ScriptDummy
ScriptDummy

If you go with buried cabling/fibre you will find that the majority of the cost is getting the conduit into the ground and not what size conduit you bury. I would NEVER install less than a 3 inch and always have the installer pull inter-ducts into the main conduit. These separate the main conduit into several smaller ones aiding you later when you have to pull additional cables/fibres in. Believe me the odds are that you will add more of something later. Never allow the installer to install the conduit less than 3 feet below grade (ground level) or you will be out there at a later date digging it up to splice it when the gardeners dig it up.

pirho
pirho

I would have to disagree with the statement that you want to go hard line when ever possible. You never specified the distance between the two building and imho, I find that a wireless shot is a better solution then any hard wire could ever bring, when dealing with buildings that are going to connect to your WAN. I have dealt with a company that takes the place of the LEC, with millimeter wave wireless shot that give 99.999% reliability, is totally immune to forces of nature (rain, snow, sleet, fog, and others). They have proven to be the best solution by far then any LEC and have given is better then wire speeds all with out the hassle of having to worry about someone accidentally snipping the wire.

JodyGilbert
JodyGilbert

Have you been on a project that involved networking multiple buildings? What are some of your recommendations (and warnings) based on your experiences?

cowen80194
cowen80194

I have a 3500.00 course, a BISCI Technician Cert. #197267, and Several Books here to refrence the smallest one is 2" thick. NEC/NFPA Code, HILTI Fire stop and products, and my assorted catalogs for ordering supports and equipment. I have 8+ years experience and hands on, and I know HOW to interpret the the codes and install everything properly. There are more like the "TOP 5000 things list" for cabling Two Buildings or any project for that matter. And Railroads are the worst to get ROW access to. And here in Dallas so are Toll Roads from the NTTA. Next is the State Roads. City Easements are last place. The best projects we have done are FOR the State, City, or Government. But there ARE reasons for these Easament Right Of Ways that alot of people do not understand about. Specialty work is so profitable.... We know the things to do right to get it done right.

seanferd
seanferd

be prepared for bad information. I've seen utilities destroy their own lines, and I'm not even in the business. I've also seen them improperly mark out lines, leaving some other poor shmoe to do the actual destruction. Heck, there was a bit of a gas explosion several years back, in Cleveland, caused by the gas company not knowing there were other lines adjacent to the ones they were working on.

cowen80194
cowen80194

Being in business since 1923 and having a presence in all 50 states every tech is BICSI trained and a RCDD is assigned to every project to verify standards for each locality. These courses are not cheap and are not easy either. Most people fail them the first time. You can retest one time free but you will have a week to learn the entire course in class when you leave you get some nice books to refer too that change yearly. BICSI is a Industry recognized Standard and un like A+ certifications it has some teeth to it if you are certified. RCDD is the ultimate level and Engineer feilds hold these. An RCDD knows everything about the entire process. Permits, Codes, Calculations, and these people are updated regularly.

ITfor20+
ITfor20+

Yep - always make it bigger. The inter-duct we put in has pull tape pre-installed. (I think most do - right?) I once worked with a project manager that wanted to put in only an 8 pair single mode fiber cable versus the cables I wanted with 24 single and 12 multi-mode pairs (36 pair total split into two 12/6 pair cables in two inter-ducts "just in case"). He wanted to save the added cost as we "only needed 8 pair right now". Since it was a fairly long run and we were spending nearly $500,000 in labor, the added cost seemed like rounding error (

MN JimBob
MN JimBob

Indeed you will be adding to or replacing whatever you do now. The major cost is digging the ditch and punching holes in walls or foundations to bring the conduits inside. If the "inter-ducts" provide enough protection fine but I prefer a second conduit which is at first unused. Then when you do pull new cables your risk of breaking what you already have is zero.

cs
cs

The Standard TIA 942 gives some good idea's on cabling. Also look at the Sybex book "Cabling - The Complete Guide to Network Wiring" or even my book! One thing is never to fill the duct initially more than 40% even with the spare cables. If you install external antennae or dishes make sure that adequate lightning protection is configured. Otherwise you might just as well run a lightning conductor direct to your main server rack.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I think that the article was talking about using the 802.1 protocol devices in their "don't go wireless rant". Point to point microwave links are extremely reliable (Telco's use the all the time for connections.) and I personally don't usually group them with "Wireless" solutions rather I call the Microwave solutions. It may good for the author to clarify what they consider "wireless" connections. Bill

sayakamarul
sayakamarul

I quote Rick's point no 1 : "...Also, wireless technologies have a shorter lifespan, as replacement technologies are rapidly developing for this market space." 4 years ago my company decided to get a wireless connection to a branch office about 100m away. 1 year down the road, we started having problems with the connection (which we had to restart the wireless equipments 2-3 times a week) & when this matter was referred to the vendor, we were told that the wireless models are obsolete, no support available. The only solution at that time was we need to get new equipments, and start all over again!! Lucky it wasn't me who made the decision to buy it in the first place:P

wallowamichael
wallowamichael

Two is easy. Try three schools and an administrative office location. We have no fiber, dsl, or broadband of any type (Rural NE Oregon, USA). To pull our own fiber would bankrupt the whole county, not just the schools. From the administration building the schools are 1.5, 7, and 18 miles away. Microwave is the way to go. As pirho states, weather doesn't bother the link, they're fairly low power, and they are rock solid. They are not 802.11, and they are expensive, but when you consider the cost of pulling fiber, $15,000.00 per pair for a 50Mbit channel to each site is cheap! Also, once they're paid for, you have 'free' bandwidth. There are some concerns with pointing microwave radios across highways, so be sure to check federal (usually) guidelines for your area. The Feds don't even know we exist, so they didn't care about our two links that go across the only highway here. It's also a state highway, not an interstate.

davide
davide

What type of technology are you using. Could you give a litle more details?

Andy The IT Bloke
Andy The IT Bloke

A company I worked for last year had their fibre connection to an outbuilding dug up due to construction work. The outbuilding was just over 100 metres and so the network guy put in a couple of wireless points to connect the two buildings. However, it only worked at 50% and the 3 or 4 computers in the outbuilding kept getting kicked out of their networked application. The next solution was to get an outside company to install a laser link. Again, the computers in the outbuilding kept dropping their connection. The network guy was away at this point, so I had to look into it. I walked into the outbuilding and saw straight away that their computers were plugged into a hub. I got a switch from the storeroom and replaced the hub. Problemo solved. So the wireless connection would have worked, and the company could have saved a lot of money by not putting in the laser link.

asmith
asmith

I just recently implemented a wireless link from 2 of our buildings using a Cisco 1300 Series bridge and it works great. Running fiber would have bee too expsense and we would have run into numerous issues. We are actually running voice traffic over the bridge and it works great no lose of signal and the QoS ensures that voice takes priority data. Go wireless if you can, but make sure that it will work in your environment and it's cost efficient and will provide the best results.

Mr.Wiz
Mr.Wiz

If you're running fiber pole to pole, watch about having the fiber go through a tree unless you use shielded (armored) fiber. We've had one stretch of fiber that the squirrels have eaten twice. We fix them tomorrow though. Putting up a new run of armored cable.

EddyConway
EddyConway

Tough to find an article more thoughtless than this one. Who screens these articles for technical competence? Besides stating the obvious in several of the "10 things you should know," the author stupidly characterizes diverse entry for a network as a "security problem". Save your time! Rather than reading the article, set your monitor on fire!

grembert
grembert

Verry common sense things you have said here. One thing you didn't mention that I think is critical is the final procedures for burrying the conduit. Go deeper than two feet. Also, lay down a bed of sand under the conduit and a good bed on top of the conduit. This helps thing settle better. There is however a more important reason for the sand. A locater service won't be able to find optic cable. Trenching contractors know that when they are digging and hit sand, they stop the machinery and go to shovels until they uncover what is buried there.

gary.mazon
gary.mazon

I was surprised that blown fiber was not brought up. It does cost a little more to get the original installion completed but cheaper to blow new fiber in and old fiber out. Just another option

mdhealy
mdhealy

Never tried it myself, but here's some interesting out-of-the-box thinking! I don't recommend this for anybody whose network is managed by professionals, since it's rather labor-intensive, but it sounds like it might be an option for schools or nonprofits: a do-it-yourself optical solution that uses the type of LED used in automobile brakelights plus a few hundred dollars worth of electronics: http://ronja.twibright.com/ They claim more than 100 such links are in operation, mostly in Central Europe. I gather, getting a WAN connection there can be a lot more hassle and expense than it is here in suburban Connecticut. From the living room of my condo right now my laptop can see SEVEN wifi connections, of which two are UNSECURED. Mine would be the eighth wifi access point but at the moment I have turned my wireless off and am connected to my router via HomePlug powerline networking. For a school this sort of do-it-yourself option could also have educational benefits -- the students involved in building and maintaining it will learn things they could not learn from any textbook. When *I* was 16 I would have LOVED being part of such a project.

johntech
johntech

We have succesfully used both laser and infra-red point to point links on some of our sites.Infra-red up to 100m Laser up to 500M.Weather not a problem.

CDubbs
CDubbs

As it stands, we are using FSO, Lightepointe lasers, 1.25Gpbs, between our 2 buildings that are separated by railroad tracks. We are also using Proxim's Tsunami Quickbridge's as a backup to the lasers during environmental issues such as heavy fog. We were unable to mount the lasers onto very sturdy foundations since we do not own the building, so, it is susceptible to high winds. For the most part, these work just fine. However, as I mentioned, during site to site interruptions, such as the fog, the lasers go down and the Proxims are SUPPOSE to kick in... not always the case. So, just in case the Proxim fails, we have 3COM bridges to backup the Proxim bridges... This paints quite the ugly picture of our wireless solution and unfortunately, it is all we have to work with. Again... if only I could have fiber....

crazijoe
crazijoe

I guess it would be better if you own the buildings. Wireless was our only option and we have never had a problem.

blknetinc2002
blknetinc2002

Another thing that I beleive that should be considered is the number of Users in the second building as to what Media to use. In allot of cases I use Fiber as my main type of connection (higher speeds are normally developed on Fiber first, then copper and Wireless is on it's own time line for speed).

steveoh
steveoh

Some time ago I heard that in this state the education dept had a policy that building interconnects were fibre only for safety from lightning strike. A copper connection has potential to create lots of smoke in the conduit as well as other damage to people and equipment. A draw cable is a good idea but better is a loop cable with a pulley at both ends. Only one wire invites mistakes. Glass is fast, Copper conducts and Wireless Won't Work!

pirho
pirho

Yes I have, the building across the street from us we had to add to our WAN, via wireless. We did not own the street, and there was no way we could shoot a fiber or any other cable to them with out interfering with the airspace of the street and the traffic on it. A 20 foot tower on both roofs solved that problem, and enabled us to do a wireless shot with no issues. Also last year, there were 2 people whose responsibility it was to bring internet connection to The 6th HOPE convention, one guy went with the old fashioned way of bringing in 2 DSL connections from one of the ISPs. I brought in wireless and did a shot of 90MB from the Hotel Penn, to 4 Times Square roof. With one dish we blew away the hard line speeds, and the best part was the dish simply hooked right into my switch. Only 1 wire to worry about, the one going from the dish to the switch. No more smart jacks, no more lazy LEC techs. Easy as pie to set up.

cowen80194
cowen80194

We call the DigTess and let them mark the lines and then once marked while we are at the site we will then have one of our own locators follow behind and re locate the lines. But a large issue is PRIVATE LINES. These un official lines are not marked on any City plans and are thus invalidated by location services. Someone will just drop a plastic pipe with some service in the ground with the permission of some neighboring companies. Not tell any one its there and not get it added to the City Plans, then wonder why it was dug up and no on knew it was there when the location service found agacent lines that were properly added to the City Plans. It was dug up because YOU did not do it RIGHT (Cheap). The ONLY EXCEPTION which for HOME LAND SECRITY is the fiber or services "we" have placed around lakes, water treatment, and like area, for 9-11 protection an some other government and millitary facilities. These are under lock and key and require GPS location service. Yes I have been out splicing these "Hidden" Services the MPs or Police were there a bit earlier arresting the guys with the back hoes. Any line that is in the ground that we have added has a "LOCATE WIRE" pulled into the conduit with the service. Fiber is one item that unless you are going to pull in the OSP type NEVER reuse a pull string in the conduit EVER. Conduit is not ment to be re entered once it has been pulled with Fiber. No Matter who says otherwise. Add another Conduit if you think you will want to re enter that pathway. Cables and string twist as the cables are pulled they DO NOT remain nice an staright like you might find after a person goes through and combs them out in the ceilings and closets. This pulling of a tangled string around a Fiber cable can and has CUT or Broken a working connection and thus bring down the service. And usually this will happen in the middle some where so make sure you have a back hoe ready. If you think you might need 12 strands buy 12 stands and have it installed, just terminate the ends you need (2 per link). Anarobic (Glue On and Polish) is the best more costly but give the least loss when tested. Cam over (Camlite) are cheap no more to be said here. The difference is: The glass in an Anarobic goes completly thru the connection, Cam Over mates to a fixed peice of pre-polished glass in the connector using mateing gel. I can work with both and I am 10x faster with cam overs but the loss is much higher, and over time the mateing gel in the connector mostlikly fails and the conection has to be replaced.(Good for "Emergency" soon to be permanetly fixed work). Also CamLites offer the benifits of 2 extra breaks in the connection that can affect the quality of the media negativly. Anarobic once the glue dries I use a ruby to score "Cut" the glass down and then polish "Sand" the end of the glass to a perfectly clean smooth end.(which can be seen with the naked eye using a 200x or better a 500x plus scope (magnifyer). I can keep polishing until the reading is correct and the glass end looks right but once plugged in the fiber is in DIRECT connection to the equipment passing light. All this work is done on a micron level and with out the proper tools and experience you are just throwing away money. An OTDR is used to read the light passed on pre-terminated and bulk pulled cable. This is looking for breaks, micro-fractures from improper pulling and feeding by the installers, splices (this INCLUDES Terminations "Connectors") from end to end. With Connectors and the Time invlolved to put them on you can average a cost of 12 - 50 dollars a Connector (good or bad). It looks like fun and I am always asked about how I can "Feel the glass pass through or mate up in a connector. but there are serious dangers involved with improper installation. The GLASS when stripped down is thinner the a single hair on your head. Imagine that Passing through your veins heading to your heart. You will only have a few minutes before Irriversable Death Occurs. Some of the Posters notes are good but cableing today is a specalised task and not for someone who does not know CODES. Get your Designers and Architects to make a "T" print if they do not know what that is find someone else. (The "T" print is for the Technology Infrastructure) and All Trades will then beable to prepare a remodel or a new building for that IT World you are planning. Not just any Fiber can be used. The Cables any MEDIA type MUST MEET NEC CODE. GLASS DOES CARRY LIGHTNING. I have replaced several melted lines from a strike. Should have grounded it properly. Would have saved that pile of once was a server room from being put in the metal scrap box for recycling to say, grounding equipment. There are VERY GOOD REASONS why BICSI is a TERM that the IT Department should be familular with and WHY using CERTIFIED persons AND PAYING FOR a BICSI certified job should be done. I can not count the numbers of companies that the IT Department has never heard of BICSI and Structured Cable Systems. And Fire Marshalls and Building inspectors are funny if they ACTUALLY knew what they were looking at most would RED TAG 70% of the companies being opened and close others for NON Compliance due to cutting costs for PROPER installation. LOOK be CHEAP ON THE IT department, Marketing, Sales, Break Room, Production, Ect. DON'T be CHEAP on the Cable Infrastructure I do not care how fast that IBM ASXXXX Blade is. If th cables are not hung properly it means squat. Open the suspended ceiling and see how much un supported cable you have laying on the tiles..??? Lets see wht happens when that weight falls on someones HEAD. That senario is a VIOLATION and IF/WHEN a CODE Enforment rep should look in the ceilings or the FIRE Marshall knew how to interpret that part of the NEC code your building would be CLOSED until the problem was fixed. OSP Fiber MAY only run 100' into a building before it must be converted to ISP cable or it MUST be run to the Closet/Room in Metal Rigid Conduit 2" or larger. due to the TOXIC nature of the sheath. Oh how many Grounds are in your building? I have seen this and it scares me. I find that companies just add a ground rod so they will not have to run a 6awg green copper cable, black may be used but must have a green band to identify it as a earth ground (this is the NEC minimal allowed)to the nearest ground bus bar. COLD Water Pipes are a thing of the past DO NOT USE these are poor grounds Building frames are ok but all metal must be clean. Replace all that Fire Retardant you scrape off. We Saw what effects exposed metal has to a fire on 09-11-01(Sorry but that is the best example). That is a Lethal decision. ALL Grounds must go to ONE Central ground rod and that ROD must be placed correctly for performance. Fire Stopping Must be MAINTAINED. I have revived one person who was shocked and was other wise dead from this senario. "We" do this OVER PRICED job with out sense of humor when we charge those "HIGH Prices". My experience is if someone is under bidding me check the materials list, they are not going to do it corrctly usually. Check fore supports and, there should be materials for each part of the job. YOU are responsable to over look the work BEFORE signing OFF to pay the BILL. That means if you have to climb on a Ladder or a Sissors Lift/Boom you better. Make sure the work was done and looks good. I am working with Inspectors to help them recognize what they are missing so that more Certificates of Occupancy can be RED Tagged and Revoked for sloppy work. This is serious stuff. Now that I have you rightly Terified of doing this on your own with out the proper help have fun.

jdavis
jdavis

Exactly right. Glass is cheap, and termination has gotten easier and cheaper. I recently ran a project to run fiber about a mile. We needed 2 strands of single mode. I specified 12 SM + 12 MM. In the end we got 12 SM + 24 MM. The installer decided to do us a favor and ignore my specifications to use 62.5/125 MM and installed 12 50/125 strands instead. When I discovered what he had done I of course demanded that he go back and install what I had ordered. Being the knowledgeable RCDD he was he patiently explained to me that 50/125 fiber was superior and that is what I really wanted. Then I patiently explained that yes, I was aware that it had superior transmission characteristics, but that it was incompatible with my existing in-plant fiber. Rather than pull out what he had already installed he just pulled another run of the 62.5.

gfunk1
gfunk1

Actually, the TIA 942 standard (unless my memory fails me) is relevant to data centers, which certainly have unique needs in terms of telecommunications, as opposed to typical commercial buildings. The "Bible" of telecommunications standards is the TIA/EIA 568 standard, which deals with structured cabling topologies, categories of copper performance, types of optical fiber, termination & testing procedures, pretty much everything you never needed to know about all this stuff. The standard is divided into 3 sections. Section 1 is all about the physical topology. Section 2 is all about electrical performance and testing of various copper Categories. Section 3 is the same as Section 2, but for all things fiber-related. Elsewhere in this thread someone mentioned that BICSI is "the Standard". Be aware - BICSI is simply a liason organization bringing together and improving communications within the building industry, specifically: TIA Wiring Standards, National Electric Code, and general construction practices as relates to telecommunications. BICSI does NOT write standards, they simply teach and reinforce them as part of their credentialing programs, of which one is the RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) credential. Also - it was mentioned previously that an RCDD "knows everything.." or something to that effect. Well, in a perfect world, this is true - however this world isn't perfect. Truth is, the exam to achieve the RCDD designation is a multiple-choice test, based solely on memorization. So, unfortunately, there are a lot of RCDDs walking around out there who are good at taking tests, but frankly could not cable their way out of a carboard box. Do not rely solely on that credential. Be sure your consultant/contractor has a proven track record with a history of successful installs and satisfied customers. How do I know this? I'm an RCDD, and one of my job functions is training for design and installation of structured cabling. I work for a global manufacturer of network cabling and connectivity components, and I've seen a LOT of RCDDs in my classes who were virtually clueless once you get outside the covers of the manuals they memorized and out into the real world with all its unpredictability. Not to take anything away from the RCDDs with practical experience - these are truly very knowledgeable individuals. It's interesting to note that the other side of the coin is also true - namely, there are many highly experienced individuals who simply are not good at taking tests, and I would trust many of these people long before I would necessarily trust somebody with a shiny new RCDD card.

pirho
pirho

If you buy it outright then yes, your screwed if it dies on you, however if you got through a providor, then the dishes are guarenteed, as long as you have a contract with them the dishes are covered. Also as far as distance goes, alot of people think that its short range only. Rainbow Boradband has been know to do 15 miles, with no problems at all.

mhobin
mhobin

5.8 gig is not microwave. It is under the 802.X protocol. I do agree that wireless it the way to go in many cases. Each case if different. Fiber is about $12,000 per Km to install and that is just dark, the cost to light it varies. A full cost benefit analysis is applicable in all cases. Always get what is best for your individual situation, Wireless, Copper, Fiber or Carrier Pigeon.

vcolwell
vcolwell

We have had a lot of success using the Motorola Canopy system for our wireless. It's not Wifi or WiMAX, it's carrier class bandwidth, economical and reliable.

pirho
pirho

Sure, The company is called Rainbow Broadband, (www.rainbowbroadband.com) And they use a technology similar to that of WiMax but where Wimax has its limits Rainbow does not. I forgot the exact freqency that we used for HOPE, but it was in the unlicenced range, (they have licened frequencys avialable for use as well) but so high up that no one would ever interfear with it. The total output was less then that of a cell phones as far as wattage, but the speed was great. They use AES 128 with dynamic encryption key changes to prevent unauthorized eavesdropping in addition to coded time stamping to prevent false transmission from an intruding terminal. The network management system and the equipment are protected by passwords and a challenge/response scheme. The microwave beam is a narrow 9 degrees, which reduces signal dispersion. Each link has a unique SSID consisting of up to 24 alphanumeric characters.

r.pooler
r.pooler

We have over 100 computers in 15 building over a 12 sq. mile area. We use 2.4 gHz wireless to connect our system together with the central loci being the watertower that overlooks everything. Pulling wire or fiber is cost prohibitive and our system is growing constantly. Search for "wireless internet" to educate yourself.

jdavis
jdavis

Some years ago I used two 802.11b (state of the art at the time) wireless bridges to connect two buildings about 3/4 of a mile apart. Though not required at that distance, we used parabolic antennas to focus xmit/receive. We very shortly discovered that an ISP in the area was stepping on our signal. We had recently hired a PC tech at the location who had worked at the ISP and he claimed that they were violating FCC maximum xmit levels. We eventually got smart and had someone come in and trench some fiber.

jdavis
jdavis

I too had a run of fiber partially chewed through by squirrels. Six of the 12 strands were cut, and it took me most of a Friday night to determine what was going on, as I had no test equipment other than GBICs. One positive thing that came out of this though was that management finally listened to me and ponied up the bucks for a redundant,diversely routed buried fiber route.

cowen80194
cowen80194

We horizontal drill an install all sorts of under ground items. Common industry standards dictate that a Locate WIRE is installed in the hole with the conduits or other under ground burial. We will install a Locate wire in any burial as common practice the few extra minutes saves time in the years to come when we have to go back and find and restore services due to ground shift. Now if the wire is broken during install and not fixed or a Locate company is not used or in the case of most of our Government Home Land Security projects where a Locate wire is not installed, in these projects We use a GPS position fix since these cables should not be found on purpose. Always call for a Locate. If you hit a 911 cable usually there are large fines as a few companies have found out the hard way. In most of Texas, most major Telecoms cables, or other under ground utilities have a fine attached to them if you hit it and can not produce a Locate ticket. When they figure out who's responsible the fines roll out. A simple wire in the trench and a Locate is cheap and if you hit it digging in an unmarked area where the Locate company mis-marked the utilities blame can be shifted to them usually. Most companies will be happy to come out an Locate their Own utilities to keep you from hitting them and them having to come out on an emergency repair. Since by that time the problem probably is now affecting more then just you.

Mr.Wiz
Mr.Wiz

Power company was using a truck mounted augur to install a new light pole and drilled right through my buried fiber. Twisted right up and broke it so badly we had to install a new run.

jphoeke
jphoeke

I work at a small college of about 3000 students with many building across our campus. Since we own the land, they ponied up the bucks ahead of time to trench/bore throughout the campus and put in 4 inch conduit. The phones run on copper and the data network is all on fiber, primarily due to the distance limitation of Ethernet on copper. Most of our buildings are connected back to our core via GB, the smaller buildings are 100MB. Our servers are located in 2 data closets in 2 different buildings. It makes no sense to put a server room in each building.

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

Weather may not be a problem where you are, but here in Russia, it is a REAL problem. Equipment may not work well (if at all) in temperatures of -30c or lower. Snow and "ice mist" frequently disrupt optical communications over any distance.

CDubbs
CDubbs

You haven't had any drops during foggy weather? Can you tell me who the manufacturer is?

gallagher
gallagher

I had occasion to run coax between two buildings about 1000 ft apart, and it was buried with telephone wires, but ground fault differential destroyed a number of ports on the hub during a thunder storm. Fiber or wireless is the only route for me

cowen80194
cowen80194

Actually Fiber conducts just the same as copper. It melts now in a Nuclear Blast its resiliant to interferance and distance it is practically unlimited. The building requirments for outside plant to the MDF is a Rigid condit from the outside riser to the closet. Threaded connectors, and everything is grounded to the main building's ground. Copper has a 4 pair ground block you need 2 one on each entrance point. This is all metal, metal conducts. Gound the conduit, the internal metal shield used in outside installs, and this grounding should be at the riser, at the buildings entrance and the MDF the key is grounding, and only having the single main ground for the building. For safty you shoud only have one ground, more then one creates a potential across the building and that can kill some one. Best situation is contact a bonding company like mine to do the work crrectly. Fiber is also hard to tap with out you knowing, Copper is easyer, and wireless can be picked up without you knowing that some one is trying.

yoom
yoom

I am look for building to building wireless devices. Distance less than 1 mile. Any recommendation?

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I meant to say 802.11 series. The "a" standard is the only one that uses the 5 Ghz and from what I have read is the best standard to use thought it is more expensive. Sorry about the mis-information. Bill

pirho
pirho

Youare correct in that, however, being that this is going to be located on top of your building, and not in or around any residential areas you should have little to be concerned about. Also the 802.11 b/g uses 2.40 GHz not 5.8. Only the 802.11a uses the 5Ghz.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

The 5 Gigahertz frequency band is a commercial shared frequency. That means with the proper approval from the FCC that anyone can use this frequency band without paying fees. So cordless phones, 802.1 based devices, point-to-point microwave can all exist in this frequency band. So it is important to take this into account when considering any type of wireless or microwave communications because they can interfere with each other. Bill

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

The term microwave generally refers to "alternating current signals with frequencies between 300 MHz and 300 GHz". This term existed long before there were even computers let alone networks. Protocol is irrelevent.

cs
cs

I witnessed a situation where contractors for a water company were digging a trench in a road just outside of one of the buildings of a major global investment bank. We could see the green fiber conduit pipes exposed next to the bucket of the digger (back hoe?) in the trench. The bank had a dark fiber network between several building across the city. We knew that our dark fibers ran in those conduits. We also knew at the time that the bank traders were in the middle of transacting a multi-billion $ programmed trade. A sudden break would have cost millions. We knew that we had resilient dual routing, but who wants to take the risk. Threats and pleading with the digger driver fell on deaf ears. Eventually we paid him $200 to go have a coffee whilst we tracked down his bosses to arrange a different method of working. Edited footnote: The digger driver thought he'd made some fast money. It was a good job he never discovered how much we were prepared to hand over!!

CDubbs
CDubbs

We've got heaters on the lasers as well, however, here in Wisconsin, depending on the direction of the snow, the heaters can't keep up fast enough. The snow gets melted, slides down, and once it's away from the coils, turns to ice. We've had to kick ice that's formed under the head a few times over the years. Not the most perfect design, but, it still beats running fiber cable under train tracks =)

ITfor20+
ITfor20+

Yep, even here in the US we have cold and/or ice issues. Most outdoor solutions - laser or radio have heaters built in or as an option. The lasers we put in had heated cases.

ITfor20+
ITfor20+

I Canobeam (and I assume others) vary is cost based upon the interface (T1, Ethernet, OC1, etc.) and the distance. We did a 100MB Ethernet (Gb was not yet out)and I think we spent around $18,000 - $20,000 including the mounts and install labor. I'd contact the distributor for a firm quote - they may even take a trade-in to make the deal ;-)

CDubbs
CDubbs

How much were these solutions? We've our lasers were around $42000 when we bought them a few years ago and now that that company is debunked, I'll need a reasonable backup plan.

ITfor20+
ITfor20+

I have implemneted a couple of different laser systems. Both are Infra-red (IR) lasers so are not visible to humans. (We think the birds fly over/under it, but it maybe our imaginations.) In both cases they worked here in Illinois (USA) even in the heaviest snow storms and high winds. They do need a good sturdy mount, but some sway is ok (most large building sway anyway!). The systems shoot a beam that has a fairly wide target area and have tracking built-in. One was called "Canobeam" by Canon - see: http://www.usa.canon.com/html/industrial_canobeam/canobeam/index.html I think the other was TereScope - See: http://www.mrv.com/technology/fso.php (I was not the lead on this one, so I am a little hazy on it.) The Canobeam was less costly and was very easy to set-up. TereScope was more complex and (I think) does greater distances. I am sure there are other "Free Space Optics" companies out there.

pirho
pirho

Sorry yes, Micro, and other IMS spectrum based communications. However did they not use a laser to map out ground zero to determin the hot spots throug all the smoke?

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

I'm sorry, but you seem to have your technologies mixed up. OPTICAL includes laser and infrared. These technologies ARE affected by weather and DO NOT USE ANTENNAS. You must be thinking of microwave or other radio technologies that DO use antennas and that are LESS affected by weather?

pirho
pirho

The frequency of the beam is 100% immune to fog, rain, smoke, snow, hail (unless it hits the dish.) Many people make them, the ones Rainbow uses are made by and Israeli Company located in NJ (the name eludes me) but similar dish of lower quality can be found here: http://www.hyperlinktech.com/web/antennas_5800.php

cowen80194
cowen80194

I had been looking for my Fiber type references and had them in a box some where. The main thing I was referencing was to get a company that specializes in outside plant or even inside plant cable. If you have the time to buy the cable and install it, and the monies for the splice equipment, OCDR, and fiber termination kits to do your own 6, 12 or more strands the costs will generally go up. Most companies own this type of equipment already and charge you a rate based on a percentage for their use of the tools. Then you will be charged for hardware and a trip charge usually. As mentioned by someone else in the Thread a full Costs analysis for what ever you choose should be done but do not forget. Figure in the Costs to purchase all these tools you will need and all the experience needed to operate and understand the results being presented. A positive result is not always a good cable and your time figuring out how to get it to work could have been better spent on other internal matters.

gfunk1
gfunk1

Ok, actually nobody is totally "wrong" here. Fiber does not conduct electricity like copper, because it is glass. However SOME fiber CABLES will conduct electricity because they have either a metallic element to the cable armor, or metallic elements inside the cable (called "strength members"). So, IF a fiber cable contains any metallic elements, it must be grounded at each end's entry to the building. There are metallic and non-metallic armored fiber cables out there. Also - the previous mention of rigid conduit with threaded fittings may or may not apply. Technically, if using a fiber cable that is fire-rated for indoor use, you don't have to worry about the rigid conduit. If the cable is not fire-rated for indoor use (also known as "unlisted") then the rigid conduit is required. This is because unlisted cables have a great deal of polyethylene in the jacket and insulation, which is highly toxic if burning polyethylene smoke is inhaled. Only rigid conduit with threaded fittings can properly contain this toxic smoke, thus the requirement. Fiber cable fire ratings: "Unlisted" - polyethylene, must enclose in rigid conduit to bring it more than 50' into a building. OFCR - Optical Fiber, Conductive, Riser - contains metal, must be grounded, suitable for use in riser area, rigid conduit not required for such use. OFCP - Optical Fiber, Conductive, Plenum - contains metal, must be grounded, suitable for use in ANY part of the building, rigid conduit not required. OFNR - Optical Fiber, Non-conductive, Riser - no metal, no grounding, suitable for use in riser area, rigid conduit not required for such use. OFNP - Optical Fiber, Non-conductive, Plenum - no metal, no grounding, suitable for use anywhere in the building, no rigid conduit required. Note that the above information is from National Electric Code. LOCAL CODES MAY BE MORE STRINGENT THAN NATIONAL CODE - so check your local codes before acting on this information. I hope this helps.

fsoto
fsoto

Not exactly, maybe in terms data, they conducts the same thing... but in terms of physical media, copper transmit electric energy and fiber transmit a ray of light. If I'm wrong let me know, please. Fer...

papimonte
papimonte

Do not hassle it. Contact somebody who does this kind of work 24/7. Concenrate on issues that directly relates to your job. We as NetAdmins can become mediocre or incompentent as soon as we try to cover another areas, such as Facilities, Building Maintenance and such. If you are qualified more power to you if not, leave it alone and hire somebody with the expertise. You will look very good when it comes to personal evaluation and performance.

pirho
pirho

Normal wireless can be picked up with out you knowing it, however the ISM can not be tapped into with out having the exact type of equipment that the person happens to have. All the dish makers utilitze a rotating encryption scheme that is changed every 200 packets, only the base station that is paired with the subscriber station can actually unscramble the link.