Historically when building out office spaces the only option tenants had for their office space network setup was to use data cabling. For every employees telecommunication needs such as phones, computers, printers, fax machines, etc. data drops were necessary. Connections are installed at the wall and from there the data cables are run up the wall, over the ceiling grid and to the spaces server/phone room. Sometimes they are run to the building phone/data room.
In most cases CAT5E or CAT6 data cabling is used.
- CAT5E requires you to run a cable for each device
- CAT6 is the newer cabling that allows you to run multiple devices on on cable, thus decreasing the number of data drops needed. These are typically a little more expensive however since fewer cables are needed your overall prices may still be lower.
How Much Does Office Space Data Cabling Cost?
In most cases you need 2 data cable drops for each employee. One for the computer and one for the phone. At $100 to $175 per drop it can get pretty expensive especially when you have a lot of employees and a lot of rooms (e.g. conference, workrooms, offices, etc. If your company has 50 employees then your looking at $10,000 to $17,500. Also in some markets such as when leasing office space Austin tx office building owners will require that you remove your data cabling before moving out of the space. These costs can run from $25 to $75 per line as well which depending on the size of your space can be thousands.
Advantages of Wireless (WiFi) Office Network Setup
Rather than spending thousands of dollars on hard wired network connections many companies are turning to wireless (WiFi) office network setups. With the advances in internet speeds many companies switch to wireless networks has not slowed down their productivity at all.
Also more and more tenants are using mobile phones and laptop computers in Lieu of landlines and desktop computers which decreases their reliance on data drops. Rather than pay all the money for data cabling they are using that money for robust WiFi networks and mobile phone reimbursement plans for their employees. Even with spending money to beef up the routers, internet speed, and more bandwidth they still save money in the long run.
Your company may still need a few data drops for your Wireless Access Points (WAPs) and for a few other needs (e.g fax machines & printers).
With the increase in demand for creative office spaces wireless office space setups are becoming more popular. A wireless network setup allows your work areas to be easily reconfigured allowing your employees to move from desk to desk & room to room as they collaborate and brainstorm with fellow coworkers. Also having a wireless office makes it easy for your company to grow and expand. With data cabling you would have to modify your furniture layout, reconfigure the work area, and potentially install new hard cables. Being wireless you just need to give them a laptop and a desk, and they are up and running in no time.
With a wireless network set up in your office you will avoid paying money for data drops and your company will have the flexibility to grow and scale. With fewer needs to house switches, cables, & racks you will have more usable space and potentially eliminate the server room altogether.