A Network Cable Technician’s job entails building the infrastructure of all telecom networks, such as Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs), and Cable TV (CATV). As the functions are very technical, applicants for this job must have expertise in designing and installing networks to meet the clients’ requirements and comply with the designated industry standards. Known also as Networking Cable Installers, they must install, troubleshoot, and maintain video and data cables and copper and fiber cabling infrastructure as per the standards of the organizations where they work.
They must be willing to work overtime and be ready to travel as the need arises. Technicians must be able to lift and carry equipment weighing about 30 lbs often. At times, they may have to lift heavier equipment. Additionally, they should be able to work in small spaces and at varying heights and be required to climb ladders.
They should have strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
Network Cabling Technicians assemble and arrange material and equipment, explain and verify service orders, drawings, specifications, particular needs, and instructions, run, pull, stop and splice copper and fiber optic cables, such as CAT5, SE, CAT6, low voltage cables, and fiber, mount telecom equipment while adhering to best practices, industry standards, and manufacturer requirements, aid in arranging routers, hubs, install support structures, including racks, ladders, and j-hooks, and switches using data provided by all teams within the organization, install access control systems and surveillance cameras, and maintain good relations with clients by listening to and then sorting out their issues or escalating the same to their seniors.
They should also choose and verify cable pathways, conduct site surveys for clients, assist in designing, creating and implementing standards and specifications, oversee the progress of cabling projects outsourced to third-party contractors, maintain all documents related to cabling infrastructure, carry out installation of cable supports and pulling network cable pathways, testing and troubleshooting correctly copper installations, troubleshoot attendant cabling AV issues, install IP devices, terminate phone jacks and distribution frame, establish and troubleshoot video, audio, and IP networks, and provide to the organization’s sales team material and labor estimates.
Technicians should manage and maintain exact inventory for parts, tools, and supplies.
They need to be experienced in the cabling system and be conversant with the installation of copper and fiber optic cables.
Technicians must install closet hardware, including connecting blocks, fiber enclosures, racks, backboards, and patch panels. They should be able to work on all aspects of telecommunication industry when required, such as wiring practices, underground work, color code and terminations, the ability to understand signal flow and signal path, and DSL and Ethernet connections.
Technicians should attend training meetings and learn the measures explained to them to use the essential personal protection equipment.
Prospects for Network Cable Technicians
Although Network Cable Technicians are employed mostly by IT companies, wholesale traders, construction firms, electric power utilities, and other non-technical firms also hire them.
If the Network Cabling Technicians keep themselves in touch with the latest trends in technology, new equipment, and change in work roles, and also acquire better academic qualifications, they can advance to executive or managerial roles.
BLS says that jobs for line installers and repairers, including for those from telecommunications field, are estimated to grow eight percent during 2016-2026.
In the future, fiber optic cables will take the place of coaxial cables. One of the reasons is that the cost of copper is rising and the cost of optical fiber is decreasing. Another factor in favor of optical fiber cable is that they do not degenerate as much as copper cables. The quantity of data that can be transmitted across copper cables is also limited. Importantly, signals can travel much longer distances on fiber than on copper, suggesting that the equipment quantity required can be reduced.
Educational Qualifications and Other Requirements
Candidates with a high school diploma or a G.E.D. can become Network Cable Technicians. But since it involves physical work, applicants would need to be physically fit and also must possess excellent communication skills, as they would interact with vendors and clients. If they have one or two years’ experience of working with low voltage installation services, it would be beneficial.
Other requirements for Cable Technicians are as follows:
They should have experience bending and running conduit, with digital multi-meters, should be conversant with EIA, BICSI, NEC or TIA standards, must be able to fix networking issues, must put together server racks, rack and stack work, patch panels, and closet work, have experience in fiber, including SC and LC Connectors, anaerobic terminations, and splicing, are capable of reading and comprehending schematic and line diagrams, and have their own telecom tools, including snips, punch downs, cordless drill, wire strippers, PPE.
They should be familiar with CCTV Security, TCP/IP Networks, wireless solutions, and access control.
Finally, they should consent to a drug and pre-employment background screening tests.
But, the advent of 5G, which is mostly used for internet and videos that currently have a basic speed of 125Mbps, is expected to affect the cable TV industry.
The annual median salary of a Network Cable Technician is $44,601 in the United States. An individual with this profile earns $20.08 on an average per hour, according to payscale.com.
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