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The Secret To Your Successful Video Room Cable SetUp

We all spend a lot of time looking at features, specs and selecting the essential items that make up the video conferencing room solution we need.

We want to be certain that our decision of conference provider and connected room hardware is accurate and when we are satisfied we place the order and sit back and relax,  right? Well Maybe.

Let’s address an issue which doesn’t seen exciting, doesn’t get much press and if ignored can cause an S**T  load of problems –  The Cabling.

Those of you who know something about this are probably thinking something like:

“It’s just HDMI and USB cables how hard can it be?”  or;

“it comes in kit and all the cables are supplied so it’s just plug and play” or;

( my favourite) “nah  no need-  we will just use wireless or put in some USB extenders”

To which we say –  “thanks I’m so glad you have it all under control”.

Actually we don’t say that.

And that’s because almost always the cabling needs to be adjusted to suit YOUR room layout or we need to add something additional to what comes in the box.

Fast Track is a cabling company and we install over $50,000 of cabling every single working day so we really know everything about it. We have permanent teams in data centres, we install cable and fibre in commercial buildings, campuses, stadiums, auditoriums, schools, commercial cruise liners and schools. We are qualified to say that if the cabling is poor quality or not fit for purpose, then those beautiful components you spent hours researching and weeks waiting to receive just won’t work properly and you will be disappointed and frustrated.

 

So if our warning hasn’t put you off lets cover the basics here.

 

  1. Power cabling. This is easy –  every device that needs 240V will require a GPO (general power outlet) or plug base (ceiling) in easy reach.
  2. Speaker cabling. Amplifiers or mixer to the speakers will need a good quality figure eight cable (this won’t come in any kit).
  3. Cat5a or Cat6 cabling. This might already be installed in your office so a good tip is to match the brand and style of cabling and patch leads you already have. If what you have already is  a ‘certified’ solution with multiyear warranties then this is very important.
  4. HDMI cabling. HDMI cabling has maximum recommended lengths. They are different for 720p, 1080p and 4k resolutions. The higher the resolution required the shorter the cable length has to be.

This is where quality matters. Being blunt If you buy a cheap one you will get a crap result.

Joins in a cable shorten the effective length. 2 x 5m HDMI cables joined together are not the same as 1 x 10 metre HDMI cable. Wall plates with a through adapter are even worse because you have two joins, one on each side of the wall plate. Floor boxes – same.

The route the cabling takes is longer than the straight line distance. Your  PC and monitor maybe 5 metres apart but a good rule of thumb is to allow twice that length for the cable run in order to allow for drops to the floor or rises to ceilings etc.

 

USB cabling

Sounds simple except there is USB, USB 2 and now USB 3 cables. As with HDMI these have recommended lengths that are different for 720, 1080 and 4k resolutions. Can we just use an extender you ask?  USB and USB 2-  yes you can -to a certain point. USB 3, NO YOU CAN’T . Do an internet  search and see who guarantees their extenders for USB 3.   Usually the USB3 cables in the box from the camera to the Codec, PC or NUC are quite short and only just long enough for a huddle room.

 

Passive and Active extenders  (This means powered or unpowered )

We know this is a component not a cable but they can be (and often are) already built into a cable. Buy good quality within spec (cable length and resolution) and you will be fine. If you don’t you can expect flicker, drop outs and frustration.

Note: USB 3 only. The best way to extend a USB 3 cable is to replace it with an active (powered at least one end) and these work well, particularly at 1080P resolutions. These are  relatively expensive at between  $150 to $500 for a 10 metre cable.

Please don’t buy cheap –  it won’t work well or last long and will cost you time and effort to diagnose and replace it. Sadly, we see it all the time!

There are so many other things you need to  consider and these might include floor boxes, table boxes, wall mounts, cable adapters etc. If you are not sure about the cabling just call us.

It’s what we do!

Fast Track do this for a living and we love what we do. Talk to us before you start and save yourself some pain. If what you have needs fixing we will be happy to help. If you’d like to talk to one of our professional team members about the best solution for your requirements, then fill out the form here and contact us today, we are here to help!

We solve your cabling and communication problems

We take a consultative approach to each individual customer and tailor affordable solutions.