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15 May, 2023

DfE School Guidance – Meeting Network Cabling Standards

15 May, 2023

Is your school meeting the DfE’s Network Cabling Standards?

In January 2024, the Department for Education updated their guidance to schools regarding how to meet digital and technology standards. This standard specifies the minimum requirements for copper cabling, optical fibre cabling and installation.

Network cabling is the backbone of your network, connecting your infrastructure and devices together. The DfE has issued the minimum Network Cabling standards relating to the specification of your network cabling.

  • Copper cabling should be Category 6A (Cat 6A).
  • Optical fibre cabling should be a minimum 16 core multi-mode OM4.
  • New cabling should be installed and tested in line with the manufacturer’s guidance, warranty terms, and conditions.

The DfE set out three requirements your school needs to meet:

DfE Network Cabling Standards for Schools- Tel Group

1. Cat 6A

This guidance highlights the importance of upgrading to Category 6A cabling. Your school will benefit from greater data capacity than previous copper cabling standards, providing the flexibility to increase the volume and specification of the technology your school requires to connect networks.

2. Optical Fibre Cabling

OM4 optical fibre cable has the capacity to transfer data over greater distances and is crucial in ensuring that data is effectively transferred throughout the school. Faulty or inadequate cabling will have a negative impact on network performance quality.

3. Cabling Installation

You should meet this standard when you need to replace your current solution that is underperforming as well as in new school builds. All new cabling should adhere to the relevant British Standards, which cover network cabling specification, installation, operation, and maintenance.

When should you meet the standards?

You should meet the standards when you need to replace your current solution that is underperforming, in new school building projects, or when you upgrade your wireless network.

How can we help?

At Tel Group, we offer network cabling services for upgrades as well as new school builds. We will meet the recommended DfE standards and assist in the design and deployment of network cabling projects for your school.

Whether that be working on ICT infrastructure projects for new build schools, or integrating our solutions into existing premises, we pride ourselves on improving learning outcomes through the use of technology. Our standards compliant network cabling services are designed to meet your exact specification, budget and timescale.

The DfE set out eleven categories your school needs to meet: