T.H.E. Journal, June 1999, p.92

Here are eight keys to laying the backbone for your district’s technology program:

1. Assess your power needs. If you want a lot of computers, you’ll need enough power to run them, as well as the necessary cooling systems to keep your equipment happy.

2. Identify suitable places for your cable closets. Again, be sure these areas have enough power and cooling capabilities.

3. Build in surge protection. If planning a new building, be sure to have the architect include this feature, as well as color-coded outlets in the classrooms.

4. Have your network cabling done by a professional. Don’t leave this to an electrical contractor, or you might not be happy with the work.

5. Establish a single point of contact. One person should be the point person for all contractors, designers, and vendors. That person, typically the technology director, should have a firm grasp on how the network functions and how to manage it.

6. Install fiber cabling and hubs for each classroom. Using hubs or switches makes your network more flexible and is much neater in appearance than individual wire drops.

7. Get rid of extra (dark) fiber. Use the same contractor to terminate, install, and test all fiber running to classrooms to avoid conflicts later.

8. Have a comprehensive design document. Before taking bids for any work, have an independent designer create this document, which should include design overview, general specs, installation instructions, a component list, cable specs, test procedures, and completion criteria.