All posts tagged Design

Building an ICT suite in pictures.

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How to build an ICT suite

Cablers Network & AV Solutions are experienced, trusted education technology suppliers and Cablers have been providing education technology solutions to schools in the South East for many years. During that time we have developed a few skills that many of our competitors do not come close to matching. One of the skills Cablers  have developed is the ability to work with schools and colleges to design bespoke solutions that fit their education technology needs perfectly and the capability to bring those designs to life using only our own in house installation engineers who build and commission designs. Cablers can also supply all the hardware and incorporate the network infrastructure to make everything work seamlessly.  This is great news for a school or college who can work with just one company throughout a whole project from conception to delivery making the whole process less complicated and more manageable than dealing with multiple contractors. It also makes us a more cost effective option for most projects.

We have been asked to create many bespoke solutions that incorporate technology for the education sector including Learning Bubbles, Science Lab’s, Observatory’s, Exclusion Units, Mac Suite Music Rooms and of course ICT Suites.

Here’s one we prepared earlier…..

We were asked by a primary school to design and build a bespoke ICT suite to fit 32 students, one teacher, one teachers desk, a Smartboard and a mobile laptop trolley. They also wanted to keep some of their existing furniture in the room.

Quite a tall order considering that the room was not huge.

The design started with conversations between Cablers, the head teacher and  all staff at the school who would be use the new suite everyday. Cablers assigned a project manager who got to know how they wanted to use the space and we were then able to provide a proposed design that fitted the senior leadership teams requirements and specifications  including everything on their wish list.

This is how it came together.

After the design has been approved its time to start construction.

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The first job is to bring the tools in and lay everything out. Of course we also cover the floors in plastic sheeting so they are not ruined.

 

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Getting the custom built central support structure right is key as this is what will give the benching its structural integrity and house the connectivity. Our installation engineers then install the worktop for the benching which is supported by substantial chrome legs that not only look good but serve the essential purpose of holding it all up. The holes for the grommets are bored out and the plastic inserts fitted to ensure tidy cabling for the work surface. The bench edges are shaped to make the suite more pleasing to the eye and ensure children wont catch themselves on prominent edges.

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We installed power pole’s which bring the electrical and network connections down from the ceiling before incorporating them neatly into the body of the ICT benching. In the absence of conveniently placed floor boxes this is a ideal solution for running data and power without lots of unsightly trunking.

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The electrical and data points are installed and tested by our certified engineers and the face plates are fitted to the back boxes which were designed to be incorporated and hidden within the body of the benching.

I missed out on taking pictures of the finished suite before the school started using their new ICT space. However it was nice to pop back and take some pictures. I had a great deal of positive feedback from the staff and students on how having a dedicated area for desktops has enhanced their ICT provisioning and changed teaching practices for the better. It works perfectly in tandem with their site wide managed wireless solution, laptop trolleys, and tablets which we also provided to the school.

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We finished the benching off with some end plates cut and shaped on site to suit the overall look the school wished to achieve.

On this occasion we did not specify the desktop computers or supply them, nor did we need to supply the school with a new SmartBoard and projector. In order to save the school money we agreed to relocate an existing Smartboard and projector which they had stored in a cupboard for which we installed new looms and a control faceplate with their favored connections for VGA, HDMI, USB and volume controls. We still managed to find enough space next to the teachers desk to install the interactive whiteboard.

All in all we were very pleased with the results and we are confident that the ICT benching and all of the associated cabling will outlast the technology that its currently playing host to.

 Give our education team a call if you have a project you feel we can help you with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why you need a wireless survey before you spend money on a wireless network?

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Why do we carry out wireless surveys? 

Cablers Network & AV Solutions provide a complete range of services to organisations planning to implement wireless and mobile network solutions.

The best piece of advice i can give you before you embark on your wireless adventure is to do some homework on the company or consultant you plan to work with. Ask for testimonials and case studies, these will always be provided by businesses with a proven track record. Unfortunately we visit too many organizations that have had wireless networks installed which have never worked properly or were not fit for purpose. Cablers have consequently improved these networks beyond measure for the end users but problems are easily avoided in the first place if you choose the right installation partner and you take advantage of a comprehensive wireless survey.

What is a Wireless site survey?

A wireless survey is the necessary first step in the deployment of any wireless network. It is the most essential element for providing the wireless coverage you are expecting and it will ultimately help you avoid any disappointment with its desired operation.

All wireless signals are broadcast as radio frequencies (RF). A wireless survey is a process by which a surveyor studies your building to understand the behavior of the radio frequencies. (RF)  The purpose of a wireless survey is to make sure that the wireless you have in place or the wireless you will order is fit for purpose.

Through the process of RF testing we are able to build a detailed picture of your site. Signal information is collated onto a map which shows the behavior of the RF signals. The testing will have taken into account the fabric of your building, routes for additional cabling (if required) and signal strength in detail. It will pinpoint any areas prone to interference and will help determine the appropriate placement of wireless access points to provide the best coverage.

Signal Strength is most commonly known as ’coverage’ and it is the basic requirement for a wireless network.  As a general guideline, low signal strength means unreliable connections and low data throughput. This will have a direct bearing on the way any device connected to the wireless network performs. Therefore a survey such as this is a great way to check the health of your existing network and asses any negative interference and/or Access Point connectivity.

The results of a proper site survey provide the detailed information that addresses coverage, interference sources, equipment placement, power considerations and cabling requirements. The site survey documentation will also serve as a guide for the network design and for the installation of your wireless infrastructure.

Be careful not to underestimate the effort and resources required to properly survey, design and deploy a wireless network. We have seen experienced IT professionals make the same mistake. You cannot just throw a few access points where you think they are most needed, or that the managed wireless controller that is sitting in your communications cabinet will take care of everything. Your wireless signal is impacted by many elements including neighboring wireless networks, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, microwaves, alarm systems and even plumbing.

Not all wireless surveys are equal and it can be quite difficult to tell if that person walking around your site knows what they are doing. Here are a few things to look out for:

  1. Make sure they want to attend site to carry out the survey. If your offered a remote survey without the vendor ever visiting site be aware that a remote survey will not answer any of the questions needed to design a robust wireless network.
  2. Hopefully you are asked pertinent questions relating to you current number of devices and usage patterns and your aspirations for the future use of your network. This shows that the company you are dealing with is consultative and your not just going to get a prescriptive solution. One size does not fit all!
  3.  You have been asked for a plan of your building so that it can be incorporated into the software package that tests you RF coverage.
  4.  Make sure they take their time and check your whole building, they should also check the communications cabinet to make sure you have space for the supporting infrastructure requirements such as available switch ports, power over ethernet (POE), electrical power, and rack space needed to support the installation. They may also want to test existing cables that you plan to utilise or look at potential routes for new cabling and containment.

These are just a few things to look out for when choosing who provides your wireless solution. You will pay for a properly designed network with your time or your money when you have to redo the work. Our customers save time and money by avoiding poorly designed and deployed wireless networks. They have Cablers experts on hand providing radio frequency & interference analysis, cabling, coverage and all the capacity information needed to deploy a high performing, secure and reliable wireless network.

The moral of this story is to “Get a Survey, before you go wireless.”

We are easily contacted if you wish to discuss a wireless solution or BYOD deployment.

Why not take advantage of some  good advice and contact our team.

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