Do we need new wiring in our office when we upgrade to a VoIP Phone System?
We will explain when you need new wiring in an office to upgrade to a VoIP Phone System.
There’s one part of a VoIP system that’s often overlooked, but extremely important. I’m referring to the physical wiring in an office building. While many customers don't usually place too much forethought into the idea of wiring, there are some who seem to think they automatically need new wiring throughout their office when they upgrade to a VoIP phone system.
It’s a great thing to hear that customers are at least aware of the issues and challenges that accompany setting up a VoIP phone system in offices or buildings where wiring may be an issue. While this isn’t something we hear everyday, wiring is something that needs to be addressed immediately, especially for larger, or more robust VoIP installs. So, let’s dive into the subject and talk a little bit about wiring!
Do we need new wiring in our office when we upgrade to a VoIP phone system?
The quick answer is no, you probably don't. If necessary, we can install a piece of equipment called Phybridge that allows you to continue to use your cat3 or normal UTP cabling over a single pair of wires. This has the added plus of letting you also use the same cable to power the phones on the cable, up to 1200 feet.
So I NEVER need new wiring in my office when upgrading to a VoIP phone system?
Never say never! There are time when it depends.
For example, you literally need wiring throughout your office. Some offices literally don’t have cables since they were designed to be a wifi only location. In that instance, yes, you’re going to need new wiring, since you don’t have any!
But, if you do already have some sort of wiring, there are best practices that can be put into place to eliminate the extremely costly need to rewire an office. For example, separating your phone & computer network can help avoid congestion over your network. You can reuse certain parts of your existing infrastructure, eliminating the need for costly hardware. Both of these methods reduce implementation time & cost since you’re not running new wiring or buying a ton of new equipment.
We see this as an issue in large environments, such as organizations within warehouses due to the fact that cat5e or cat6 cable power transmission is usually only around 300 feet. In an instance like this wiring won’t be necessary, but you may have additional hardware expenses.
And, if you’re absolutely 100% stuck using just one cable, or don’t or can’t afford new wiring, you can use a single cable for a VoIP system if necessary. In instances like this, you physical phone acts as a network switch, and we would normally recommend what is referred to as a ‘gigabit’ phone. Different makers of phones have different models and methods of switching within the phone. This is done because we don’t want to create a bottleneck with any hardware that may slow anything down or cause internet speeds to suffer.
When should I consider getting new cabling for a VoIP phone system?
You can only apply so many band aids to a broken arm. At some point you may need to consider getting new cabling.
If you’re upgrading from a single line, or were using something purchased at Staples or Costco, something like cordless lines, with no dedicated cabling for each phone, you might be overtaxing your existing cabling and not even realize it. I call this a Christmas light scenario since phones are daisy chained throughout the office like lights on a Christmas tree. In these scenarios, either install new cable or install a Phybridge solution. The Phybridge solution is cheaper and usually works, but sometimes it’s necessary to get new cabling.
Why do I need good cabling for a VoIP phone system?
Your cabling needs to be strong enough for your system, or else it can become a digital trainwreck. Many people overlook the obvious and automatically assume their “newer” office building will have what we need for install a VoIP system. Simply put, this often isn’t the case. Without good wiring and a solid network, you could experience issues with audio qualtiy over VoIP, making it sound like you’re talking on a tin can underwater.
Not only that, but when we visit offices with networks that weren’t properly designed, we run into additional issues that the customers doesn’t even know they have. When customers just plug stuff into a network with no thought it can easily lead to a disaster. We’ve seen network loops that can take down an entire network, which can take hours to fix the issue, customers incur lost revenue and time, and take on unwanted IT costs, usually because they got a low-ball price to have their network put together in the first place. Or, businesses that expand rapidly without foresight can cobble together networks that might not work in the long run.
At the end of the day, the cold hard truth is it depends on your office. Your best bet is to hire an expert to come in and discuss with your management the need for wiring, and to examine your operation. When we conduct site visits, our experts come onsite and conduct an inspection of your office and provide either a Site Survey or VoIP Readiness assessment. Both of these services are designed to let you know where you stand with your existing cabling, network, and what you need in order to successfully rollout a VoIP phone system at your office.
By Mark Johnson
Director of Operations, Tele-Data Solutions
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Direct Line: (908) 378-1203
I'm responsible for the daily operations of Tele-Data Solutions, and I'm proud to bring over ten years of experience to this position. I'm all about building relationships with my clients and applying technical expertise to solve their problems. I currently live in Basking Ridge with my wife, Linda, and our twins.