Plant Engineering (Plant) is responsible for the telecommunications cable plant that exists on the University of Illinois campus. Plant is principally concerned with the physical media design, e.g. copper, coax, single and multi-mode fiber, of the in-building and interbuilding wiring over which network and voice communications are transported.
Inside Plant Information
One of the services Communications Plant Design performs is to keep detailed building standards updated and available for campus units and outside contractors. Technology Services engineers document the configuration and evolution of outside and inside plant telecommunications systems using the computer-aided design (CAD) software AutoCAD. Inside plant CAD drawings are maintained for every campus building showing jack locations, conduit routes, and network Communications Equipment Rooms.
As telecommunications systems are changed or updated, the AutoCAD drawings are modified to reflect their most recent state. NDO staff rely heavily on Technology Services Communications Plant Design's drawings to determine whether the existing cabling infrastructure is adequate or must be reinforced for the in-building network and whether and where special hardware will be required to handle distance problems.
Building standard documents are available online in a printable format from Facilities & Services.
Outside Plant Engineering
Outside Plant Engineering (Plant) maintains drawings of outside plant systems that show the main wiring distribution centers (called nodes), the conduit paths that connect one node to the next, and the paths that connect the nodes to the various buildings they service. They work closely with Facilities & Services to accurately maintain these drawings that are broken down into grids of campus. For more information about Outside Plant Engineering, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Developing Communications Standards
Another critical function of the Communications Plant Engineering group (Plant) is the development and enforcement of standards for campus-wide telecommunications systems. Their current standards, set forth in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Building Standards, deal primarily with voice and data communications. The group is now in the process of revising standards to include specifications for the installation of coaxial cable, multi-mode fiber and single-mode fiber.
With these standards in hand, Technology Services engineers work with architects, engineers, and outside contractors to ensure that new construction and remodeling projects conform to existing guidelines and take newer technologies into account in terms of the overall project design.
The Technology Services Plant group also works with outside agencies such as the City of Urbana to make sure that all installations conform to city engineering codes. Where two different standards exist (one for the city and the other for the university) generally the more stringent specification is applied.