Telecommunications Spaces and Cabling

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University Policy Number 1303


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This policy applies to all University owned buildings or leased spaces requiring installation of communications cabling, and all University faculty, staff, students, corporate partners, and contractors.


Secure and reliable data and voice communications networks are critical components of the University’s infrastructure.  However, the security and reliability of these systems cannot be ensured if they are not installed and maintained in accordance with accepted industry standards. Additionally, materials and configurations that do not conform to University standards and practices can create long-term maintenance problems, and significantly increase cost of ownership over the lifetime of the cable – typically ten years or more.  This policy defines the roles and responsibilities of the Information Technology Services (ITS) and the University community with respect to planning, installing, and maintaining communications cabling within and between University occupied buildings.


Communications Cabling: A generic term for wire or optical fiber cables intended to be used in the transmission of voice, video, or data signals.

Telecommunications Pathways: The physical path and supporting structures through which inter-building and intra-building communications cabling is routed.  Pathway components may include cable trays, conduits, raceways, “J-hooks”, manholes, duct banks, and other facilities installed for the protection, concealment, and support of communications cabling.

Telecommunications Room: An enclosed area housing telecommunications cabling, patch panels, and interconnections, sometimes referred to as a “telecommunications closet.”  Generally, one or more telecommunications rooms on each floor of a building serve as distribution points for communications cabling installed to locations on that floor.  These intermediate rooms also serve as a demarcation point between the horizontal cabling for end-users and the building’s backbone cabling system.


The Commonwealth of Virginia has published policies and minimum standards to be followed by all state agencies during the installation of data and voice communications networks.  Responsibility for electronic communication resources at all campuses of George Mason University resides with the Vice President for Information Technology.  Information Technology Services’ Network Engineering group, under the direction of the Vice President for Information Technology, is responsible for setting local standards and policies for the installation, maintenance, and usage of all telecommunications pathways, rooms, and cabling.

Requests for access to, or usage of, University telecommunications rooms and facilities must be approved by the Director, Network Engineering and Technology.

All University employees, contractors, and business partners are responsible for contacting ITS Network Engineering in advance of any communications cabling installations.

New Installations

Installation of new communications cabling in University occupied spaces must be performed to current University and industry standards, and must meet all state, federal, and local regulations including fire codes.  ITS Network Engineering shall be consulted in advance of any installation of new communications cabling, in new or existing telecommunications pathways.

Exceptions: Communications cabling installed on behalf of, and strictly for use by, outside organizations or business partners occupying University facilities may not be required to meet all University standards for materials or installation techniques.  However, ITS Network Engineering must review and approve all installations since they involve University telecommunications spaces and facilities.  If a proposed installation would have a negative impact on the availability, maintainability, safety, or security of University facilities it may be disallowed until the deficiencies in the plan are corrected.

Access to Telecommunications Rooms

Telecommunications rooms often house critical data networking and/or voice equipment, and provide interconnection points for many end users. Improperly secured telecommunications spaces can compromise the security and performance of the University network by providing access for intruders to steal passwords, destroy data, or use University network and Internet resources for unauthorized purposes.  Even if no harm is intended, a single error in connection can cause service outages for large areas of the campus.  For these reasons, access to telecommunications rooms must be restricted to persons authorized by ITS Network Engineering.


All persons installing communications cabling in University owned or leased spaces, or accessing University telecommunications rooms shall comply with this policy.  Grievance matters with this policy are directed to the Executive Director, ITS Enterprise Infrastructure for resolution.  If the conflict is not resolved to the satisfaction of Network Engineering or the complainant, the matter may be escalated to the Vice President for Information Technology for further review and action.


The policies herein are effective November 1, 2004.  This Administrative Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.


Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President

Peter N. Stearns

Date approved: 11/2/04

Date of most recent review: January 29, 2013