As a subcontractor, I've been asked for labor quote on a CAT6
installation. Though I have never used CAT6 cable, I understand that
the cable construction and termination methods are different. I found
a reference in this group to a 15-55% increase in labor for
terminating CAT6 cable. Can anyone provide an experience-based
estimate of the increase in labor, with a narrower margin?
If it's you're first cat6 job, I would agree that yes, there will probably
be a little learning curve to deal with, for lack of a better term. But it
also depends on which brand of cable you are using. The cables that have
the hard plastic 'I' Beam or cross beam in the center, a definitely slower
to work with when it comes to terminating, though the brand of patch panel
and whether or not it's modular jack panels, or punch down style, will also
effect how much (or little) moving to Cat6 will effect your installation
time. But if the cable that you are using has the flat tape (General Gable
for example) or nothing for pair separation (most low end Cat6),
installation time won't be any different than Cat5.
I've found after about 2 small (less than 20 drops) jobs, my Cat 6 jack
termination regardless of cable, is just about the same as with Cat5. The
patch panel end is still a little slower, but I'm still working out some
issues with cable dressing on the back of the rack, so that was a factor.
To give numbers....hmmm....I don't think I'd put over a 15-20% premium for
Cat6, if that. I'd crack the whip on my installers to work more
efficiently; get the product reps out to do a little on-site training and
that kind of thing.
The cables are a bit thicker, so you may find it more labor intensive to
pull in tight spots. Otherwise, as far as pulling is concerned, there is
no difference. The jacks and patch panels are different though. Although
it depends on the actual jack design, it does take some extra time to deal
with tighter twists and maybe even bonded pairs. Some jack designs are so
horrible that you'd either have to pick another type or add significant
time premium, some do require more concentration as the color scheme is
different from a CAT5E jacks that looks the same, so figure some training
Patch panels are tight spots by design, so you'll spend more time dressing
the cables it as well as, again, dealing with the tighter twists or bonds.
In general, provided you have a good design jack, if you estimate your job
by itemized unit costs, don't add anything to pulling and throw an extra
25% time for your terminations/testing to compensate for slower
terminations and dressing up.