5. Incomplete Testing
It is not uncommon for many network links to go unused for certain periods of time after their installation, especially in structured cabling designs. This is especially true of the final stages of cabling, which are closest to the user equipment – some of which may not be initially installed.
This means that, if any of these links are faulty, the faults are discovered only much later. Unfortunately, this also tends to happen in the most embarrassing moments: the conference room projector connection is found to be faulty when a client is visiting, bad connections in the office are found by new employees on their first day and so on.
It is therefore very important to make sure that all links are correctly tested, even the ones that will not be in immediate use.
Furthermore, it is essential that all links, from every network section, be tested at the same time. That is because structured cabling is usually installed in phases, over long periods of time; some of its components are installed early, while an office is being built or refurbished, weeks before the user-facing sections are installed. Sections that worked fine when they were first installed can be damaged during construction, or can turn out to have integration problems when the entire ensemble is finished.
Testing should be a part of every hand-off procedure, but it can offer quality guarantees only if it is treated as a way to confirm that requirements are met, not just a set of checkboxes.