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No matter what industry you work in, computers play an enormous role in a company's day to day operations! They perform such tasks as placing orders, scheduling appointments, and much more. Equally important as computing power, itself, is the ability of a computer network comprised of multiple, autonomous computers to connect employees. This allows them to easily share resources and network devices. But, the strength of a network is only as strong as the computer network cabling that connects it. In order to help your business create a powerful, reliable computer network this buying guide will explain what you need to know about computer network cabling and its costs.
The Basics of Computer Network Cabling
A typical computer network consists of interconnected computers plus devices such as printers and fax machines. As you determine your computer network wiring needs, you should also keep the following in mind:
- Peer-to-Peer vs. Client/Server: A peer-to-peer network is a simple arrangement in which each individual computer on the network holds files and resources that other network computers can access. A client/server network is a more secure setup where at least one computer (the server) controls the information sent between the other network computers (the clients).
- Types of Wiring: As the data pipeline of your network, cabling is the fundamental component of interconnected computers. The most commonly used types of cabling are unshielded twisted pair (UTP), coaxial, and fiber optic cables, though the advance of wireless technology has significantly reduced the amount of cabling needed for a network.
- Other Hardware: Aside from the computer network cables, other pieces of necessary equipment for a network are an Ethernet hub and a Network Interface Card (NIC) for each workstation. Other common hardware devices include routers, switches, network gateways, network firewalls, adapters, and bridges.
- In-House vs. Outsourcing: Using your company's own IT professionals to install computer network cabling can save money. Nevertheless, if you don't have one (or the scope of the job is beyond its ability), then you may have to hire an outside company to install computer network cable.
Computer Network Cabling Average Costs
If you outsource computer network wiring to a private company, you can expect to pay somewhere around $40 to $70 per hour, plus the cost of hardware.
Purchasing the necessary equipment through computer network companies generally costs the same or less than retail. These companies buy their cabling and equipment in bulk. They may mark it up from their cost. However, it will still be less expensive than what you can purchase them for.
Other factors that affect the price of computer to computer network cable are:
- How many computers need to be interconnected
- The arrangement of your workplace and how difficult it is to run wiring
- Your current wiring. Fixing a messy setup is generally much more expensive than having computer network installation done in new construction or an office with a sound infrastructure in place.