Archive for 'Network Wiring'

Multi-Location IT Service Providers

Multi-Location IT Services

Many IT Departments struggle with managing multiple locations nationally and internationally forming a demand for a multi-location IT service provider that acts as a single source point-of-contact (POC), offering a wide array of onsite computer, networking and data communications services in an ongoing day-to-day support capacity and as their IT infrastructure continues to develop over time.

Some of the ongoing operational onsite IT functions that need to be addressed are:

  • Ad-hoc break-fix computer and IT networking services (this ranges from very simple computer repair, installation and maintenance services such as hard drive, tower and monitor swaps, and actual computer repair to printer repair and more complex networking issues such connectivity issues, switches/racks/patch panels/firewall/routers and access points that are offline or need to be installed, reconfigured, moved, maintained and cabling may need to be re-run or re-terminated)
  • Server installation and maintenance
  • Wireless networks, smart buildings – installation, maintenance and expansion
  • Low-voltage data cabling services: Adding new cable runs within and office, upgrading cable (e.g. all types of Cat5 & Cat6 cable and Fiber Optics), new location hardware layer installation and maintenance
  • Telecommunication services: Maintenance of existing (analog or VoIP) phone system. Programming of phone systems when there may be a glitch and installation of new/upgraded phone systems (e.g. when moving from analog to VoIP)
  • A/V (audio visual) equipment such as TV’s, interactive whiteboards (e.g. Smartboards, Teamboards, etc.), video projectors, sound systems (including XM radio systems), surveillance systems, etc. installation and maintenance
  • Project management for upgrades (e.g the recent Windows 7 upgrades that many companies have already done or in process), new site builds, office moves and relocations, company and new site acquisitions (e.g. site surveys and then conforming the new locations to company standards) and mergers
  • IT staffing for longer engagements such as part or full-time help desk support, data center management, short or longer-term projects…

There are some multi-location IT service providers, however, one of the pain points we have recognized is the need for dedicated account managers and redundancy for the dedicated IT services account managers in case the primary account manager is unavailable (personal day, vacation, etc). At A+ Mobile Techs we have developed a system whereby we assign dedicated account managers from the beginning of a business relationship that truly get to know a client’s staff, general operations, and of course their IT infrastructure (hardware, software, service call workflow, operations, etc).

Another of the pain points we have recognized over time and addressed is the need for the dedicated and support account managers to actually be at least Level 2 to Level 3 technicians with years of proven field experience, excellent oral and written communications skills, be superbly organized, reliable, highly educated, excel in fast-paced environments and overall just easy to work and get along with (good people). These are qualities that we as a company look for when hiring account managers. When providing account managers to clients that are also technicians, we are able to minimize the amount of ticket escalation due to technical issues or other related technical problems that otherwise we may have to escalate within our clients’ organizations. This not only cuts down on the workload for our clients, but it speeds up resolution times increasing efficiency and ultimately saves money!

Additionally, when selecting a multi-location IT services provider with a dedicated account manager, there are many other benefits that speed up time to resolution such as ticket or work order routing and time until the technician is onsite. Lastly, when it comes to invoicing and payments, by receiving only one bill from one IT service provider, the time you spend to review the invoice (your IT department) and your accounts payable department will not have to spend nearly as much time processing payments – and if there are any questions they do not have to make multiple calls/emails, just one – which of course saves time and time is money!

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Commercial IT network installation spaces (e.g. data closets, server rooms) typically use a elevated flooring system for the server racks. This enables intensive cooling to be expelled through the space under the floor to cool the servers, switches, routers, etc. Cabling between the many devices and to the users runs through this open floor layout. This by definition is a Plenum Air space and requires Plenum Rated Cable.  Onsite IT Support.

Low Voltage Data cabling Serivces

Low Voltage Data Cabling Services

If there is no wall or ceiling return air grate; look closely at your fluorescent lighting fixtures to see if there is a gap around the edge of the fixtures and put your hand over the gap and you can feel air movement. Obviously your air conditioner should be running at the time! The lack of wall or ceiling return air grates is usually a sure sign that you require Plenum Rated Cable. If you have a large wall or ceiling return air grate; remove and see if there the air is channeled through sheet metal ducting. If there is no sheet metal duct; just the open ceiling or wall space, then you are required by law to use Plenum Rated cable.

How should the data cabling get installed?

Different companies have different needs, and this is also the same with structured cabling systems. So during your consultation with your chosen low-voltage data cabling services, you need to ascertain that they know your company’s particular needs and expectations; and they should also be aware of the local ordinances regarding the kind of project they will be undertaking.

This is an important issue related to the chemical composition of the cable and your building‘s construction, especially when it comes to your small business phone system and low voltage data/audio cabling.

Since both you and the Fire Department don‘t want you to die from breathing in toxic fumes from your cabling, code requires Plenum Rated cable installed through any plenum air return space. Our Installation Team is required run Plenum Rated cable if they determine the air space in not ducted.

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Plenum-rated data cable is derived from an old HVAC term referring to “plenum spaces”.  A plenum space is the division of a building that facilitates air circulation by providing pathways for heated/air-conditioned and return air-flows at a higher pressure than typical.

Simply put, plenum rated low-voltage data cabling has an extra fire retard applied to the shielding portion of the cable making it more resistant to heat and less likely to cause fires vs. non-plenum cable which does not have this extra layer of fire protection.

Plenum Cat5 Data Cable

Plenum Cat5 Data Cable for Low Voltage Data Cabling

The choices available for different cable products these days are very abundant. Everyday new options are being introduced into the electrical market. Whether it be from the parameters changing to the different variations, the choices are becoming more and more plentiful as time goes on. One option; however, which is usually the first thing a person takes into consideration when purchasing cable remains pretty constant. This is whether or not the cable to be used will need to be plenum rated or Non-Plenum rated.

There are two basic types of building construction as it regards the movement of heating, air conditioning and ventilation through office buildings. In these modern times, every business needs a reliable cabling system to handle their voice and data needs, and if you do not want any untoward delay in your operations due to a massive system failure then you should only get the services of reliable structured data cabling services. As the years pass, more and more technological innovations seem to pop out of the woodwork, and this is all the more reason why you should get a cabling system that can manage all of these new devices and infrastructures so your business can reap all of their benefits.

In newer construction and in most high-rise construction the architects save space and the cost of expensive sheet metal return air ducts by simply drawing the air back to the heating/air condition unit through the open spaces above the ceiling and between the walls.

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People attach sentimental value to almost anything that they feel changed their lives, and that includes even the most mundane of objects, like the old-fashioned analog landline phones. Most business owners just love using their trusty old landlines mainly because it is familiar, and they have already mastered its uses. Unfortunately, with all of the demands of the modern business world, the poor analog phones with their somewhat limited capabilities are struggling to keep up; this is where VoIP comes into play.

Global IT Services

Global IT Support

To convince you to switch on over to VoIP, here are some of the benefits that you can expect:

Crystal Clear Calls – The great thing about VoIP is that they use the same high bandwidth cable system that is used to connect to the internet, and this provides an almost perfect voice transmission. This is why national IT services are heaven-sent; now you can get quality IT personnel without all the usual hassles attached to them.

Cheap Long-distance Calls – How much do you pay for your long distance calls on your landline phone, around a couple of dollars a minute? Regardless of the poor call quality of landline telecommunications services, they still charge an arm and a leg for their services. Not only are landline long distance calls expensive, they are also unreliable, what with all the complaints about dropped calls and crossed lines. When you make the switch to use VoIP you can make overseas calls to other VoIP phones and you do not need to pay extra. Just think about the thousands of dollars that you can save every year and how productive your company will be because you can coordinate with your suppliers easily, even if they are halfway across the globe.

Bonus Features – What kind of features does your analog phone have? Does it have speed-dialling, or maybe you even have caller ID and call waiting features? Now, if you are not really looking for a permanent member of your staff, multi-nation IT services can still be of help. You can actually hire an IT professional for just a limited amount of time. With VoIP you have access to a whole multitude of uses, from getting your office voicemail through your email account, video conferencing; this means you can hold online video meetings with several other people even if you are in different states or even countries for that matter.

These are only a couple of the things that your company is missing out on, so you really should consider replacing your old, antiquated landline and go for the much more efficient and feature-packed VoIP telecommunications solutions.

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Global IT Services

Onsite IT Support

Onsite IT support for businesses that already have a nationwide (in USA) and/or global reach, there is an increasing demand for better, faster and more reliable data and voice communications networks. All of these networks are based upon a design that has many components and moving parts – all of which encompass the IT infrastructure from the low-voltage data cabling (Cat5, Cat6, Fiber Optic, coaxial, etc.) through the network hardware and software for any organization which ultimately have to be put in place and managed by live technicians, not just robots and scripts. Then once is place, there is a certain amount of automation that takes place, of course, why else would be have all these advanced systems if they did not make our business practices more efficient, cost effective and ultimately saving us time and money.  Still there is a need for boots on the ground IT techs at one’s business locations.

However, we still need the primary IT Services resource to make this all come together: Human beings. In the information technology world, for all the cash that large companies drop on hardware and software, still the most important asset remains to be their human assets – after all, we are not in the Matrix where machines run everything…yet.

In IT services there is a certain type of skill set required to pull all of your human assets together to manage large scale IT deployments that requires more than just account management skills. The need for level 1 (L1 being the lower level technicians) through level 3 (L3 being the most advanced technicians) that are not just the stereotypical “geek” types, but also have excellent oral and written communication skills, accompanied by proven technical knowledge, dependability and organizational skills are the ideal personnel for this account and/or project management positions. Finding these person(s) can be tricky.

Global IT Services

This can get extremely tricky and quickly develop into a logistical (and costly) nightmare if not managed correctly while anticipating future growth.  Many organizations still have multiple companies servicing their different locations which again can only add to the overall management costs and confusion.

As a multi-location IT support services company, A+ Mobile Techs™ (formerly A+ Mobile PC Doctors™) have been refining this practice of multi-location single source POC (point-of-contact) account management for over a decade. We have dedicated account managers that are at least Level 2 to Level 3 technicians with the required skill sets to act as more than just technicians, while at the same time knowing the technical details of any given project and the IT infrastructure of their clients on a technical level so when one of our field technicians calls in and may need additional tech support, we can provide it without escalating a ticket to our clients and in many cases are able to resolve any issues and move on.

The amount of time and money (and headaches) this save our clients is enormous. Additionally, the fact that you do not have to pass through a customer service rep to get to technical support since we are all techs makes our methods vastly more efficient.

From basic onsite computer services to more advanced business level IT services, we offer a wide array of data communications and network services such as break-fix, helpdesk support, data center management, computer networking, low-voltage data cabling, POS system installation and management, telecom services and solutions and more.

For more information about our National Computer Services or Global Computer Service offerings, please contact us at 866-417-3945.

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