Ceiling Entry

Data cables are often routed horizontally through the ceiling plenum. Fire-rated jackets may be required by building codes. The cables are supported in trays or cable managers. They must be more than 30 cm (1 ft) from fluorescent ballasts to avoid EMI. Ceiling cables gently drop vertically into the furniture through a conduit housed in a pole or ceiling feed (Fig. 40-4), which is usually integrated into furniture and which may be supplied by the furniture manufacturer. Ideally, all panels should be able to accept a ceiling feed. When

the ceiling feed is restricted to a dedicated panel, corner connection point, or end of panel run, flexibility is limited. For example, the entry point may end up directly below a ceiling light fixture, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) register, ceiling support, or other obstacle. Entry near one end of a panel allows the panel to be turned 180 degrees to give a choice of two positions.

Apertures (portholes) in ceiling tiles and panels can kink or stretch cable, even when grommets are used. The number of openings needed to avoid tight entries must be carefully considered. A lay-in cable entry using poles with snap-off covers avoids this problem and also helps with preterminated cables with jacks or boxes. Poles must include a physical barrier between power conduit and communications cabling.

One way to get wiring from the ceiling to the desktop is through stacked sections of frames that rise to just below the ceiling. This offers a very large area for cable to enter the panels. Well-designed stacked panel sections can be installed around the existing ceiling feed pole without having to disconnect communications and power cables. Selecting furniture systems with good ability to distribute cable horizontally and vertically can minimize the number of ceiling connections, allowing large clusters to be fed from a single pole.

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