How Much Does Voice and Data Cabling Cost?
Last Updated: December 08, 2021
Fact Checked By: Ashley Smith
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Even the best communication system won't perform optimally without quality infrastructure in place. This is why a properly installed voice and data cabling is a must for your business. Professional voice and data network installation is a sophisticated process that creates an organized system of wires that connects a workstation (known as a "drop") with the server room or telephone closet. As the backbone of your networks, well-thought out network cabling ensures your company remains on the cutting edge of communication technology for years to come and makes it easier to deal with any problems that might arise. To help you get the best cabling for your business, this buying guide explains what you need to know and provides straightforward pricing information.
Voice and Data Cabling Average Costs #
You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 up to $500 per drop for voice and data cabling installation. Many companies will charge you a single price for the entire project (for example, $20,000 to install 75 drops). Generally, the bigger the project, the more your price will come down when getting competitive bids. Many other factors affect the cost besides the size of the job. Let's look at some of these major factors are below:
- The Building: Both the age and layout of a building can have a significant impact on data cabling costs. It's typically easier, and therefore cheaper, to wire a newer building or one that doesn't require running cables through difficult-to-access spaces. Also, depending on where the cable needs to be run, it might be pricier. For example, in so-called plenum spaces, (those that accommodate air-conditioning systems) plenum cabling (which costs more than non-plenum cabling) must be used.
- Number of Drops: Most voice and data cable installers charge for each location requiring network connections.
- Previous Infrastructure: Adding data wiring to a space with decent existing infrastructure or to new construction is less costly than trying to upgrade a problematic wiring installation. In fact, in the case of the latter, the system is often completely gutted and built from scratch.
- Quality of Materials: Cat (cable and telephone) cables are typically sold in three different gauges: Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6. Cat 5 cable is being phased out, and Cat 5e is sufficient for most businesses. Cat 6 offers more bandwidth than 5e but is twice as expensive, and there is also 10 Gig Ethernet cable, which is even more expensive and only necessary for data-intensive industries such as hospitals. Finally, at the top of the performance scale are fiber optics cables and coaxial wire, but they can double the cost of a data cable installation that uses copper wiring.
Voice and Data Cabling Sample Costs #
For a better idea of what network wiring installation might cost your company, take a look at what actual customers nationwide paid:
- A Texas manufacturer paid approximately $16,000 for a new system with 75 drops using Cat6 wiring, plus new patch panels, face plates, patch cables, racks, and more (approximately $9,000 for materials and approximately $7,000 for labor).
- A California MIS operator paid around $14,000 for a new system with 150 drops using 5e wiring.
- A Georgia telecom company paid roughly $7,000 for 58 new voice and 51 new data runs.
- One Arizona programmer paid $75 per hour, in addition to travel and material costs, for a cable installation upgrade.
- A California engineer paid approximately $3,500 to upgrade its system with 10 drops, 60 cables, and new racks.