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Why training is so critical

The cabling is what a client sees and ultimately uses. It is critical that some form of training takes place, preferably before a job actually begins.

May 1, 2005  

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As the information transport systems (ITS) industry evolves and changes, cabling installation practices take on an important role in overall system performance. After all, even the most carefully designed system cannot function optimally unless it is properly installed.

The typical ITS design professional (including a Registered Communications Distribution Designer is a designer or administrator and, as such, tends to focus on the job at hand, which is designing a network or ensuring that a design is implemented.

The final product

In many cases, the design professionals may be unaware of what happens when a design is passed over to the installation department, or they may simply not have the time to monitor the progress of a design through that process.

Yet installation is one of the most important elements of a project — if not the most important. The installation is the final product. Many designers are fortunate in that their career path led them through installation to design. For the rest, understanding exactly what an installer does can be difficult.

I am not suggesting that all designers must know installation, but in order to ensure that installation is done correctly, comprehensive training is crucial.

Many design and integration companies realize this fact of business and either train their own installation staff or demand that subcontractors have appropriate installation training. This training can be done in a number of different ways:

On-the-Job Training (OJT): In OJT, a lead hand or colleague does the teaching during the installation process. OJT can be effective as it typically passes on “tricks and tips” that one has learned through experience.

However, OJT by its nature is limited to the job at hand and can often miss the theory and overview of installation procedures.

(After all, if your company designed and installed six data centres in the last year, that OJT will not necessarily equip your installation team to handle a K-12 network.)

Understanding installation theory and overview not only helps in troubleshooting, but also in understanding why certain procedures are required in different instances.

Manufacturer Training: This is very specific training on a particular manufacturer’s product. Rather than learning how the system operates, you learn how a specific vendor wants it to be installed.

In some instances, manufacturers’ training will provide the generic understanding of networking fundamentals behind installation procedures, but in other cases, time and costs pare down the training to the actual process.

Generic Training: Training from colleges, technical schools and BICSI provides comprehensive training from theory to practice.

This is typically vendor-neutral and generally will incorporate a broad scope of many manufacturers’ products as examples of differences in approaching technological solutions.

BICSI established its installation training in 1996 as the Telecommunications Cabling Installation Training and Registration Program.

Last year, the name was changed to the ITS Installation Training and Registration Program to reflect both the industry phenomenon of convergence and the widespread use of Internet protocol (IP) in many building devices.

Vendor-neutral program

The goal of the program is to produce highly competent cabling installers in a minimal amount of time and at a reasonable cost.

Upon completion of BICSI’s training, participants should be able to conduct site surveys, pull wire/cable, and terminate and test copper and optical fiber cable to the highest level of specification (currently category 6).

BICSI’s program provides three levels of increased knowledge and experience: ITS Installer 1, ITS Installer 2, and ITS Technician.

The program offers core skills training, registration examinations, structured OJT, and required continuing education to meet the diverse needs of the industry.

To keep up with the rapid changes in the industry, the program and the ITS Installation Manual are updated on a regular basis.

As with all BICSI courses, the program is vendor-neutral and standards-based making

“Knowing that a BICSI Registered installer or technician is on a job site makes us breathe easier because we know that the installation will be done right,” says Colin Padley, technical sales representative with Cabletalk Systems Inc. based in Brampton, Ontario.

For a course schedule and for more information about BICSI’s ITS Installation Training and Registration Program, visit or call 800-242-7405.

Roman Dabrowski, RCDD, is the Canadian Director of BICSI and a Director of Product Management with Bell Canada. He can be reached via e-mail at