03 August 2010

More data jacks, please..

Not sure what I'm referring to? Well, what has kept me busy as of late (and why I haven't posted up until now) has been the build out of new dental offices. Outfitting new dental offices with new and existing equipment is one of the more enjoyable parts of this job. Everything goes in looking and working properly from the beginning. However, the planning and implementation takes a significant amount of time. And each project has revealed the same issue overlooked from the beginning, not enough data jacks for networked equipment.

I'm talking about the outlets in the wall that look like oversized phone jacks. These are used to allow networked equipment to talk to each other. The typical means of determining the necessary amount and location of data jacks have been to outline where computers will go and count them. What is missing in this equation are networked printers, cameras, scanners, and now digital x-ray sensors. When building a new office, all of this should be taken into consideration to provide enough data jacks to accommodate all of this equipment.

So how do you know the proper amount of data jacks needed? Plan on more than you think. In busy areas (e.g. reception and consultation), add a few extra beyond what has already been outlined on the blueprints. In operatories, consider if you will be making equipment upgrades in the next three years that may necessitate network connections (e.g. those new digital x-ray sensors). It's easy to say no to save a few dollars now. It's more expensive to learn you need additional data jacks after the office has been completed.