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Calculating Cable Drops

To produce an accurate bid, your contractor has to know how many cable drops—that is, how many lines to each station—you need. If you install one voice and one data cable to each station, for example, you need two drops per station.

My calculation worked like this: Every employee would have a PC and a phone; therefore, I started with two times the total number of employees. Then I added drops for printer locations, conference rooms, kitchen, training room, guest phone, etc. Not only do you need to install network jacks in every place that you will occupy on move day; you also should prewire any locations that you anticipate occupying in the future. It's much cheaper to install cable with the initial job than to bring the contractor back in later for piecemeal work.

TIP

I found it easiest to indicate on a blueprint where I wanted the jacks to go. The triangle is the architectural symbol for voice/network jack. Draw small triangles with one point touching the wall at the precise location where you want to install a jack.

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