Cable management: Overhead or underfloor system?

One of the biggest considerations is whether you’re going to use an overhead cable management system, such as basket trays and ladder racks, or an underfloor system. This affects what you buy, how you install it, etc. A number of factors determine which system to choose.

One of the most important is budget. If your budget is tight, an overhead system is the better option. It’s less expensive to buy and much less expensive to install. Also, plenum cables may be required in an underfloor system. In an overhead system where the cabling is installed below the ceiling grade, plenum cables are not required. This results in cost savings.

Next is the size of the room and the cabinets. TIA-942 mandates a minimum ceiling height of 8.5 feet above the finished floor to allow for 7-foot racks and cabinets. In addition, TIA-942 also mandates a clearance of 18 inches above the cable pathways for sprinklers, etc. This could limit overhead cabling in low-ceiling rooms. Don’t forget to measure the cabinet heights as well to allow for these clearances. Also, if there are different size cabinets, you must be take that into consideration as well. If you have different height cabinets, you’ll have to design around that.

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