Network Cabling Costs & Benefits for SMBs
A working IT infrastructure is a must-have for any SMB to operate efficiently and continue to grow. While quality network cabling seems pricey upfront, we can help to break down those costs for you and explain why they’re worth paying for.
Cat6 Cabling Requirements and Cost
Cat6 Cabling is the only cabling guaranteed to provide your network with 200Mhz bandwith. While it isn’t the highest end of the cabling spectrum, it is definitely the go-to for all modern infrastructure needs.
Typically, Cat6 Cabling will set you back $250 per every thousand feet. Cat6 Cabling cannot be bent or twisted without experiencing service degradation, so cost estimates must take into account that it will need to run in longer straight sections instead of any shortcut that might require bending. Moreover, Cat6 network cabling can only run up to 330 feet at a time.
Restrictions like these mean that your best bet for the installation of Cat6 cabling is to utilize a licensed low-voltage cabling provider to lay the cable and make the needed connections.
Cost: If you round your need to ten cables at 200 feet per line, you are looking at a minimum of $500 for the cables alone.
Cabling Connection Requirements and Cost
To keep the numbers fluid, let’s continue with the idea that you need ten Cat6 cables at 200 feet per line — a cost of $500. It may seem easier and cheaper to install your own cabling, but lack of experience may lead to an imperfect install which will require a professional repair and cost more than the original installation would have in the long run.
You’ll want to hire a trained electrician or a company like BACS for installation. Typically, a trained electrician will charge cable installation based on connection points (or how many locations in your network have two cables that require connection.) Keeping with the above numbers, if you need 10 connection points you are looking at another $500 ($50 per connection point).
Cost: $500 for ten Cat6 cables at 200 feet per line + $500 for cable connection points: $1,000.
If you hire a trained electrician to install your Cat6 cables, not only is that electrician going to charge you per connection point, they will also charge you for hours worked. While rates in different areas of the country vary, in the San Francisco Bay area a decent electrician will charge $60 – $100 per hour.
Taking the mean, if your installation takes ten hours at a rate of $80 per hour, you are looking at an additional cost of $800. Please note, in most cases an IT specialist who deals with network cabling will charge more than a trained electrician.
Cost: $500 for ten Cat6 cables at 200 feet per line + $500 for cable connection points + $800 for man hours: $1,800.
Other Cost Considerations
During the course of your installation, the following additional cost considerations will come into play:
- Replacing legacy cabling.
- Ensuring all Cat6 cabling does not run parallel with any power lines. Avoiding EMI within your cabling is of paramount concern.
- Ensuring all Cat6 cabling is measured out properly. Remember, Cat6 cannot and should not run over 330 feet per line.
- Ensuring all wiring is to municipal code.
All these things may come into play, especially if installation is done by someone who is not experienced or knowledgeable about network cable installation. These services will run you another few hundred dollars depending on the size of the job.
Cost: $500 for ten Cat6 cables at 200 feet per line + $500 for cable connection points + $800 for man hours + Additional Unstated Cost ($500 and upwards): $2,300 and up.
For a Small-to-Medium Business owner, $2,300 is not likely to be pocket change. It’s not worth paying more for a job that a qualified professional can perform more cost-effectively and with the added incentive of continued support and maintenance even after the installation is finished. Bay Area Computer Solutions is happy to install and maintain your network cabling, for as long as you need us. Interested in learning more? Check out our network cabling page or read about our network management services. Contact us by phone at (650) 887-4601 or contact us online today to schedule your consultation.