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UK Network Structured Data Cabling Standards Explained 2022

UK Network Structured Data Cabling Standards Explained 2022 Low-quality cabling systems – the bane of many a network administrator across the world. But can the way your cables are fitted really have a profound impact on the performance of your network? In short – yes, it absolutely can!  Structured cabling is a godsend for any network, especially one that’s likely to be expanded in the future. As a result, it’s important that there are a set of standards that govern how exactly network cabling should be carried out. WHAT IS STRUCTURED CABLING? There’s a whole host of issues that could cause network downtime, but one of the predominant causes of network problems are poorly structured cables. By adhering to high network cabling standards, structured cabling systems are able to build complex systems of network cables that are logically formed, easy to adapt and outperform unstructured networks. Your structured cabling system controls all data traffic, be it video, voice, large files and much more; it’s important to get it right! WHAT ARE THE STRUCTURED CABLING STANDARDS? The structured cabling standards are a set of rules that specialists should follow throughout the cable layout and physical installation process of any network cabling. The main network cabling standards are:   Since 1991, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) established the 568 standards for structured cabling. This has been regularly revised to keep up with the advent of new technologies (such as fibre-optic cabling). The ANSI/TIA-568 standards cover the performance and compatibility of all manners of wiring and cabling. Oftentimes, commercial buildings and campuses will be built piecemeal. Structured cabling standards are designed in order to keep everything consistent, even if they’re installed years apart, the cable installation standards make it so that everything remains compatible and functional well into the future.   The ISO/IEC 11801-1:2017 standard is an international standard that was designed to govern international cabling manufacturers, vendors and companies. Its purpose is to ensure that products are up to the highest standards (the specification). Without these cabling standards, wiring and cables would vary wildly in quality, build and more. It would be almost impossible to guarantee that the wires you were working with were compatible with ones already installed. Naturally, this would result in all sorts of technical failures, and other horrible malfunctions that don’t bear thinking about. These network cable standards ensure that the cabling that is used for your system are of the highest quality and are compatible with the widest range of hardware possible.   Developed by CENELEC, the EN 50600-2-4 is a series of European standards that covers data centre infrastructure and facilities, as well as telecommunication cabling infrastructure. It defines requirements for cabling infrastructure pathways and architecture, but it doesn’t specify requirements for structured cabling types.   The second European standard serves to specify generic cabling that supports a wide range of communications services, covering balanced cabling and optical fibre cabling. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF NETWORK STRUCTURED CABLING STANDARDS? Data cable installation standards are designed to keep everything on a level playing field, to keep network cabling systems safe, and to ensure that courses and education are consistent across the board. Imagine the chaos where every network uses a different style of cable, there’s no standardised methodology for structured cabling, and every Tom, Dick and Harry do their own thing. By adhering to these standards, good network installation specialists are able to maintain the highest quality of network for businesses of all sizes. NETWORK DATA CABLING TO STANDARDS WITH WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we work closely with our clients to ensure that we have a comprehensive understanding of your business before any work gets done. Our UK-wide engineers specialise in data cabling, and are on hand ready to design, install, certify and manage fibre optic, RF and structured cabling systems. With years of experience under our belt, no structured cabling job is too difficult. We work with organisations ranging from schools to hospitals, and everything in between, so get in touch with us today to talk with one of our specialists about your unique needs. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, or to advise you on the next steps that you need to take. The key types of electrical testing to ensure your installations are compliant The key types of electrical testing to ensure your installations are compliant Compliance – not everyone’s favourite topic, but an important one, nonetheless. There’s a lot of complicated legislation, regulations and standards that your electrical system needs to adhere to, most of which you don’t need to know the ins and outs of. In this article, we break down what you need to know about electrical compliance – what it is and why it’s so important for your organisation. WHAT IS ELECTRICAL COMPLIANCE? Electrical testing and inspection compliance is the process by which a qualified engineer conducts a thorough check of your electrical systems to confirm that all installations inside a building meet legislative standards. This covers circuits, appliances and all the other good stuff. According to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, all electrical installations and equipment (including portable equipment), need to be maintained. It’s important that organisations ensure that both new and old electrical installations are certified as safe and compliant with BS 7671:2018. Our team at Whitestar put the utmost care into each and every system we work on, keeping the safety of our clients at the forefront of our minds at all times. Employers are required to ensure that any wiring and electrical equipment is checked regularly by a qualified commercial electrical engineer. This is best achieved through regular visual testing (to identify any obvious flaws in the system), and more detailed tests (these can be done slightly less regularly).  Electrical compliance can be complicated, so if you’re ever unsure whether you’re compliant or not, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our electrical experts who can advise further – don’t leave it to chance; failure to comply can result in hefty
Electrical installation services

The key types of electrical testing to ensure your installations are compliant

The key types of electrical testing to ensure your installations are compliant Compliance – not everyone’s favourite topic, but an important one, nonetheless. There’s a lot of complicated legislation, regulations and standards that your electrical system needs to adhere to, most of which you don’t need to know the ins and outs of. In this article, we break down what you need to know about electrical compliance – what it is and why it’s so important for your organisation. WHAT IS ELECTRICAL COMPLIANCE? Electrical testing and inspection compliance is the process by which a qualified engineer conducts a thorough check of your electrical systems to confirm that all installations inside a building meet legislative standards. This covers circuits, appliances and all the other good stuff. According to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, all electrical installations and equipment (including portable equipment), need to be maintained. It’s important that organisations ensure that both new and old electrical installations are certified as safe and compliant with BS 7671:2018. Our team at Whitestar put the utmost care into each and every system we work on, keeping the safety of our clients at the forefront of our minds at all times. Employers are required to ensure that any wiring and electrical equipment is checked regularly by a qualified commercial electrical engineer. This is best achieved through regular visual testing (to identify any obvious flaws in the system), and more detailed tests (these can be done slightly less regularly).  Electrical compliance can be complicated, so if you’re ever unsure whether you’re compliant or not, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our electrical experts who can advise further – don’t leave it to chance; failure to comply can result in hefty fines. WHAT IS EICR? An electrical installation condition report (EICR) is a type of electrical testing and inspection that closely examines a building’s electrical systems and wiring. This is done in order to ensure that everyone is safe while using the building.  Our qualified electricians carry out EICR testing in several stages: First, there is a visual assessment, where the electrician determines if there’s issues in obvious need of repair (these might be breaks, cracks or other evident signs of damage) Following this, the electrician will disconnect the electrical installations from the power supply in order to conduct ‘dead testing’ to determine which wires aren’t properly connected. They’ll also test the quality of the earthing and bonding and check failsafes to make sure that systems will disconnect within the time limit should a fault be detected Finally, your electrician will issue your EICR, which is proof of your electrical compliance Depending on the property style, you need to carry out an EICR test roughly once every 5 years in order to retain compliance.  This doesn’t mean that you should neglect your electrical installations between reports! We recommend consistent electrical checks to ensure the ongoing health of your electrical system. Small, regular checks and fixes are significantly more cost-effective than a one-off comprehensive check every five years (that will often turn up significant issues, trust us – it’s best to keep it regular!). EMERGENCY LIGHT TESTING Emergency lights are usually at the back of our minds…until there’s an emergency! Current UK law demands that all occupied buildings need to be fitted with functional escape lighting for use in case of emergency (any situation where the main power supply is cut).  When looking to test your emergency lighting, it should always be done at a suitable time of day (usually in the evenings, or when the building is empty).  A monthly test should be held to ensure that everything’s working as expected (this can be a quick on/off job to make sure your lighting still functions).  Once a year you should hold a full rated duration test. Emergency lighting should provide at least 3 hours of illumination. Any less than that and they’re not meeting legislation. This means that mains power should be disconnected for at least three hours, and emergency lighting left on to ensure that it’s functioning properly.  We find that many businesses neglect to check their emergency lighting – we get it, it’s easy to forget! If you need any advice on emergency lighting best practices, have a chat with our team here at Whitestar. We work with organisations big and small to keep their people safe in the event of an emergency. PORTABLE APPLIANCE TESTING (PAT) PAT testing is one of the most common (and important) electrical tests, and is an essential part of any organisation’s health & safety measures.  Thorough PAT testing is key when ensuring that staff aren’t harmed by any electrical equipment in the building. Portable appliance testing is the process of checking portable electrical equipment (anything from laptops and phones, to hair dryers and microwaves) to ensure that they’re safe to be used at work or home.  It’s an employer’s duty to ensure that equipment required for work poses no threat to employees. While this isn’t a legal requirement, if it’s proved that you hadn’t been maintaining your electrical equipment after an accident, you could be held liable, so PAT testing is an important insurance step. If we listed every single piece of equipment that PAT testing covered, then we’d be here all day, but in the average office environment, you might test: Laptops Desktop computers Drills Kettles Heaters Projectors Printers TVs Fridges Vending machines And much more.  A thorough PAT test will cover the plug, cable, appliance, mains sockets and other environmental surfaces (trip hazards, surface cracks, etc.)  Generally speaking, a defective item will be easily identified. Should the defect be a little more nuanced (faulty wiring, for example), then it can be harder to identify, which is why it’s important to partner with experts that you can trust. PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICAL TESTING AND INSPECTION WITH WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS The experienced electricians at Whitestar Solutions have nearly three decades of electrical experience. Our clients rely on us for a whole host of electrical services, be that bespoke testing or
video conferencing

How to adapt to video conferencing & remote working post-Covid

How to adapt to video conferencing & remote working post-Covid Having experienced a society-altering pandemic, it’s no surprise that the way that we work may well have changed forever for billions of people across the globe. Now that the pandemic seems to be easing, it’s important to consider how the workforce will continue – will the adaptations for working from home persist, will employers insist that people return to the office, or will many adopt a hybrid approach? It’s becoming increasingly clear that implementing high-quality audio-visual installations and reliable communication systems is critical for any modern business to succeed (and maintain employee satisfaction). Now that people understand that video conferencing and remote working are both viable, and often preferable, we expect to see real change, especially over the next few months/years. Depending on who you ask, you might get wildly different answers! Working from home isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure, but for many people it’s been a huge relief not having to commute every day, or having to spend time in an office. Generally, employees report: Enjoying a better work/life balance Saving money on commuting/childcare/food costs Freedom to choose where they live, they aren’t bound to a radius around work A general increase in productivity while at home, if set up correctly Improved comfort due to the personalised office space While this sounds great, employees need infrastructure in place in order to successfully work from home, that’s why it’s important to establish your people with the right equipment, allowing them to comfortably work from home or from the office, depending on what the business requires. HOW TO CREATE A HYBRID BETWEEN WORKING FROM HOME AND OFFICE WORK The answer, then, perhaps lies in a hybrid model, where employees work from home when appropriate, but find their way into the office when they want/need to. In order to create a functional hybrid model, you’ll need the infrastructure in place to facilitate easy collaboration, convenient video calling and an efficient workflow. Custom video conferencing rooms Throughout the pandemic, video conferencing became the lifeline of everyone working from home. It provided the crucial human interaction that many of us craved, and kept friends and families connected in a time where they couldn’t see one another face-to-face.  There’s no reason for video conferencing to go away. It’s cost-effective and convenient, providing an easy way to connect with people who aren’t geographically close. In order to upgrade their video conferencing, many businesses are opting to kit out virtual conference rooms, complete with projectors, cameras, microphones and much more.  In addition to this, good connectivity is paramount (we’ve all been on a call with poor internet – not fun), which means that proper data cabling is essential to ensure your connection is both stable and fast.  Providing the correct equipment It’s worth remembering that every call is a two-way street. If your employees are working from home and don’t have the required resources to join conference calls, then the whole plan quickly falls apart.  You’ll need to provide a device that’s good for video calling, usually a laptop. Many businesses still rely on 10-year-old equipment that can’t keep up. Update your laptops and you’ll see myriad benefits (more efficient working, higher quality calls, etc.) as employees no longer have to deal with slower load speeds and cumbersome interfaces. Bringing it all together Honesty and transparency go a long way to making the hybrid model work. Share calendars and get things planned in good time; be flexible with your team and fit calls in when you can. It’s important for employees to understand just how valuable it is for them to be in the office on occasion. Simple off-topic talks, impromptu lunch breaks and walks around the block work wonders for both morale and employee bonds, so striking the balance is the key. QUALITY AUDIO-VISUAL INSTALLATIONS FOR VIDEO CONFERENCING WITH WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we have a proven track record implementing mission critical remote working and video conferencing solutions. Businesses and organisations across the UK rely on our expertise to ensure that they’re ready for the new way in which employees expect to work. Proper installation and maintenance of your VoIP systems has become pivotal throughout the pandemic and beyond, with remote working looking like it’s here to stay. If you’ve got any questions, or want to know more about how we can help your business to facilitate high-quality video conferencing, get in touch with our specialists today. We’re on hand to talk through your unique situation and find a solution that suits your people. University of West London St Mary’s Road Campus Project UK Network Structured Data Cabling Standards Explained 2022 UK Network Structured Data Cabling Standards Explained 2022 Low-quality cabling systems – the bane of many a network administrator across the world. But can the way your cables are fitted really have a profound impact on the performance of your network? In short – yes, it absolutely can!  Structured cabling is a godsend for any network, especially one that’s likely to be expanded in the future. As a result, it’s important that there are a set of standards that govern how exactly network cabling should be carried out. WHAT IS STRUCTURED CABLING? There’s a whole host of issues that could cause network downtime, but one of the predominant causes of network problems are poorly structured cables. By adhering to high network cabling standards, structured cabling systems are able to build complex systems of network cables that are logically formed, easy to adapt and outperform unstructured networks. Your structured cabling system controls all data traffic, be it video, voice, large files and much more; it’s important to get it right! WHAT ARE THE STRUCTURED CABLING STANDARDS? The structured cabling standards are a set of rules that specialists should follow throughout the cable layout and physical installation process of any network cabling. The main network cabling standards are:   Since 1991, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) established the 568 standards for structured cabling. This has

7 Benefits of Structured Cabling

7 Benefits of Structured Cabling We’ve all seen a desk with cables dangling haphazardly from the back, or an office with network cables that are way too long looping out from the walls (or even running across the room!). If that’s you, then it might be time to consider some of the benefits of structured cabling. In this blog post, we’ll be running through the top 7 benefits of good, structured data cabling, and why our team at Whitestar Solutions are passionate about ensuring efficiency every time we implement a new data cabling system. WHAT IS STRUCTURED CABLING? Structured cabling is the act of logically arranging your cables to ensure proper functionality. Good data cable installation keeps everything organised and running smoothly by creating patch panels and multi-port trunks that logically route each cable to where they need to be.   Your organisation’s network infrastructure works almost like its nervous system, passing messages back and forth between your team, with each data cable acting like individual nerves. Poorly structured cables can be a nightmare to manage, and can cost your business more than you’d expect. That’s why we put together this introduction to structured cabling, helping you to understand exactly what the advantages of a structured cabling system are, and the basic principles of the process. 1. SAVE MONEY Inefficient cabling will prove costly in the long run, for several reasons: Disorganised cabling usually means installing cables that are longer than necessary. Longer cables are, generally, more expensive. When you scale that up, the costs can pile on. Whenever you hold routine network maintenance, it’s much harder for engineers to do their job when working with untidy cabling. Well structured cables will expedite the maintenance process, saving you from hefty fees. A highly flexible, well-planned cabling system will reduce power consumption, as fewer wires are required to perform critical tasks. So, is it worth the investment? Absolutely! You don’t have to pay a premium to get your network installed correctly, so make sure you’re working with data cabling professionals who will nail your cabling and save you money. 2. PLAN FOR THE FUTURE Holding a Teams meeting where people are dropping out or the connection is slow isn’t fun at all. One of the main advantages of a commercial data cabling system is that you’ll see higher bandwidth than before, with more efficient usage of network cables resulting in better connections and a reduced chance of issues. As businesses become more reliant on their network infrastructure, having this reliability will become paramount. 3. SIMPLIFY YOUR SPACE A nice, organised cabling system will simplify many aspects of your day-to-day. In your average office, many devices will be interconnected. Many devices = lots of opportunities for something to go wrong. With a simplified cabling system, it’s far easier to identify any anomalies and to fix problems as soon as they arise. 4. HEALTH & SAFETY While this shouldn’t be an issue for most offices, we’ve definitely seen some health and safety nightmares in our time! Loose wires are a trip hazard, and tripping over cables can also result in expensive monitors, computers and more tumbling down from a desk. 5. IMPROVED SCALABILITY Your network should be able to grow alongside your business. A well-structured network will enable this growth by being far, far easier to adjust and expand. Any infrastructure changes will be faster to implement (or deconstruct). If you’re planning a move to a new office space, then you’ll be glad to have properly structured wires that can be moved without too much hassle. 6. LESS CHANCE OF DOWNTIME One of the main causes of network downtime? Human error. Organised cables are usually obscured behind panelling, meaning that there’s far less chance of someone accidentally tampering with critical cabling. 7. LOOKS GREAT! Last, but by no means least, good cabling looks superb! A structured cabling system will be an aesthetic improvement every time. As changes made are less likely to deteriorate, your attractive cabling will stay in place indefinitely, meaning that it always looks its best. STRUCTURED DATA CABLING SUPPORT WITH WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we work closely with our clients to ensure that we have a comprehensive understanding of your business before any work gets done. Our UK-wide engineers specialise in commercial data cabling services, and are on hand ready to design, install, certify and manage fibre optic, RF and other structured telephone and data cabling systems.  With years of experience under our belt, no data cabling installation job is too difficult. We work with organisations ranging from schools to hospitals, so get in touch with us today to talk with one of our specialists about your unique needs. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, or to advise you on the next steps that you need to take. Whitestar’s values: Our promise to you Whitestar’s values: Our promise to you There are lots of buzzwords in business. ‘Core values’ are not among them. Company values matter. They support an organisation’s purpose, enforce its culture, and encourage positive employee behaviours. This sense of purpose is key to business success. Corporate core values impact not just the internal workings of an organisation, but also how it interacts with its clients, stakeholders and the world around it. According to research, 73% of purpose-oriented people are satisfied with their jobs, compared to 64% of those who are not purpose-oriented. In terms of the bottom line, the same study found that 58% of companies with a clear purpose experienced growth of more than 10%, compared to 42% of companies without one. In short, strong company values help a business grow, thrive and be a success. OUR CORE VALUES To the untrained eye, Whitestar might seem like any other electrical installation company. But look a little closer and it’s clear we’re much more than that. We continually work to be the most ethical, trustworthy business partner to our clients and pride ourselves on our strong work ethic. Central to our purpose are our core

The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care

The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care To rewire or not to rewire is the big question when it comes to an older – or what we refer to as ‘legacy’ – building. The short-but-inconclusive answer is: it depends. When wiring a new building – be it school block, hospital ward or office block – the process is relatively straightforward. You need to build to regulations, with cables which are up to the job and don’t pose a fire hazard. As per our blog post on the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), every power, data and telecommunication cable that is intended to be permanently installed in a construction works now must display a CE-marked label and have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) drawn up and made available. SHOULD YOU REWIRE YOUR LEGACY BUILDING? Legacy buildings aren’t subject to the CPR in the same way that new buildings are. If the cabling in the building isn’t posing any health and safety risk – and isn’t hampering operations in any way – it doesn’t have to be ripped out and rewired with CE-marked cabling. But that isn’t to say you shouldn’t do a complete rewire anyway. As we said, it depends. So, what does it depend on? If your building has undergone any recent damage, or there are lights and sockets that have ceased to function as normal, then these are signs that the building needs to be rewired. Damage to the casing of wires can be a serious hazard. So, if you find any exposed wires then the best thing to do is get in touch with a contractor who can assess the full extent of the issue and advise on the next steps. WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?   If you’re not sure when the last rewiring of the building took place, or the electrics are showing signs of damage, then it could be time for a complete rewiring. From a health and safety point of view, it’s your safest bet. But it’s not your only option. After all, a complete rewire doesn’t tend to come cheaply. Whitestar Solutions can carry out electrical testing and inspection which will reveal the condition of the electrics throughout the building. Deficiencies found during the inspection and testing might then be remedied such that the installation may continue to be used in safety. We offer a complete range of electrical testing and inspection services for commercial and industrial premises. We test 100% of your installation, providing a true reflection on the safety of the installation. From there, you will be provided with a number of options depending on your unique environment. For example, as a school your decision making might be different than if you are a business. But at the end of the day, you want to know that your electrical system is safe and reliable. HOW CAN YOU ENSURE SAFETY GOING FORWARD?   Whether you opt for a complete rewire of the legacy building or not, you should seriously consider implementing a robust planned preventative maintenance (PPM) programme which will ensure that safety issues are rectified before they pose a risk. We work closely with businesses across a wide range of sectors to initiate a PPM programme so that our clients have peace of mind in terms of compliance and budgets to ensure their building, their school, their hospital, their shop remains safe for staff, students, visitors and contractors alike. Get in touch with Whitestar today so that we can begin to evaluate your building project. Are fibre optics the future? Are fibre optics the future? As the world becomes ever more connected, the future of fibre optics looks increasingly bright. There is a global demand for high-speed connectivity and bandwidth that can cope with vast amounts of data that is rising exponentially, particularly among developing countries. The ability to share knowledge and communications at unprecedented levels means that fibre optic technology lies at the heart of twenty-first-century priorities. WHAT ARE FIBRE OPTICS? Fibre optics are flexible, transparent cables that are used to transmit data, images and audio via the passage of infrared light through thin fibres. And these fibres that are made of glass and occasionally plastic are extremely thin – a typical outer thread has a diameter of 125 micrometres (about the same as a human hair) while the transmitting cylinder is even tinier. In the telecommunications industry, fibre optics have almost completely replaced the copper wires that were previously used. Fibre optics are capable of transmitting light over enormously long distances. WHAT ARE FIBRE OPTICS USED FOR? Fibre optics are an essential part of the telecommunications sector, but they also have several other applications, mainly in the medical and aerospace industries. The world of medicine has used fibre optics for image transfer, illumination, and laser signal delivery for several decades. The fibre optics future in the medical sector is expected to become even more widespread. There is a developing technology that uses fibre optics, for example, that expedites the treatment of tumours and the healing process of wounds. Stringent standards are necessary for the challenging conditions of the civil aerospace industry, and fibre optic cables have recently been used to provide reliable and fast data transmission in a variety of aircraft. You may have noticed this if you have taken a recent flight. There is now no need to turn off your mobile phone, and you can access wifi throughout your time in the air. The use of fibre optics enables a smooth in-flight entertainment experience without risking any compromise to the complicated electrical systems installed in the aircraft. 5G – A CRUCIAL PART OF THE FIBRE OPTICS FUTURE With the recent successful launch of the Starlink satellites, 5G will soon succeed 4G telecommunications which currently offer connectivity to most mobile phones. Although there is a widespread assumption that 5G will replace cabled networks, the revolutionary aims of 5G would be impossible without the terrestrial infrastructure provided by fibre optics. The two technologies will complement
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