25 years' ...
Where it all started
Andrew started within the industry during August 1989, on a graduate training scheme with a supplier of cabling solutions that supported IBM mainframes.
The timing was ideal, as the first structured cabling system (AT&T PDS) using Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) was introduced into the UK to compete with the bulkier, shielded IBM Cabling System (ideal for the Token Ring networks), although Ethernet networks utilised thick/thin coax cabling.
CAT5 is introduced
To provide more services to a wider range of clients, including schools, Andrew then helped to establish a group of companies that then acquired a long established electrical contractor, to cater for the demand.
The next few years provided invaluable experience of working with schools, businesses and healthcare. Gradually the UTP systems replaced coax cabling, due to the introduction of hubs/CAT5 cable and the restrictions of Ethernet cabling and repeaters.
NGfL - the arrival of the internet
To support a desire to work with more educational clients, a move to a rival installer provided the basis of partnerships with local councils and schools and this period included the first few phases of delivering internet connectivity to Primary/High Schools with the NGfL project.
This included initial assistance that designed the framework agreement for the local schools to receive a flexible service that supported their individual requirements.
Following the survival of the computers in the transition from 1999 into 2000, schools with their limited resources and expertise, required assistance as they added more ICT suites.
New lower cost switches brought new technology such as Virtual LANs (VLANs) that allowed schools to securely share the infrastructure for the Admin and Curriculum networks. A close working partnership with the schools was essential to understand their requirements, but also to illustrate the benefits of all the networking options, that now included wireless technology.
Quality is always an important factor, so in addition to providing network services, new documentation was prepared including Quality Manuals and Installation Guidelines, for quality accreditation.
Which cable type?
Following the development of cable technology, schools face many decisions when choosing the optimum solution, including how much fibre optic or copper cable should be installed and what type?!
For fibre optic cabling you currently choose between OM3 and OM4 multi-mode or single-mode technology and that is before selecting the preferred connector type.
CAT5e provides Gigabit Ethernet copper cable based connectivity, with CAT6 or CAT6A options that increase performance but also costs. Most new buildings now standardise on CAT6, although the containment (cable trays and dado trunking) must have sufficient capacity and segregation.
"Best Advice" (normally wired vs wireless)
Several of the relationships with clients that started during this time are still going strong after over fifteen years and this has been achieved using a friendly, but professional service that delivers “best value” solutions, with advice and options.
To deliver the better levels of service, Topological Limited was established in 2006, with a great team that provides excellent service levels to a growing number of regular customers.
Current the hardest decisions are generally based around the amount of wireless that should be fitted to support the growing requirements for mobile devices (laptops, notebooks or tablets).
25 years later…
Now after nearly twenty five years within the industry and a close working partnership with HP Networking, Topological Limited is an ideal partner to assist with the planning (and implementation) of the network infrastructure and associated technologies.
As these services currently include mobility/BYOD, CCTV, telephony, digital signage and access control, we will be busy networking for another 25 years!