With 3.4 million customers and 17 cable systems throughout the United States, Cox Communications (NYSE: COX) is among the nation's largest cable television operators. Operating since 1962, it leads the industry in the deployment of fiber optic cable with 187 miles of fiber and 5,395 miles of cable already laid in San Diego County alone.
One of the key ingredients in fulfilling its commitment to customer service is Cox's ability to depend on its communications infrastructure vendors. These vendors are responsible for the design, installation and upgrades of the structured cabling, network systems and local area networks that keep Cox's busy facilities humming and its customers satisfied.
According to Bill Hulsey, Cox's San Diego-based manager of information technology, Rancho Santa Fe Technology has made a significant contribution to Cox Communications' ability to fulfill its commitment to its customers both locally in San Diego County and nationwide.
Migration to a new facility
One of the more aggressive projects for Cox Communications was a relocation of some of its operations from a facility in Vista to a smaller, more efficient facility in Oceanside -- about seven miles west of Vista. There were two overriding purposes for the move. First, the old facility in Vista was too large. Second, the new 40,000-square-foot Oceanside facility -- in addition to being smaller and more efficient -- would offer an upgraded network infrastructure and equipment.
Consultation and design
Cox retained Rancho Santa Fe Technology to provide consultation and design services for the Oceanside facility, and the scope of work included both data and voice wiring. When embarking upon consultation and design projects of this type, the chief priorities are that the structured cabling and network systems are properly conceived and executed so that they do not become a source of recurring costs and inconvenience in the future.
The strategic goals and requirements of a system also must be reflected in the budget for the project, and the system must meet the company's voice and data requirements such as maximizing transfer rates, achieving network efficiency and meeting industry standards and manufacturers' technical guidelines.
The satellite office
The Oceanside facility, however, had an aspect that was of particular concern. Located approximately 2,000 feet away from the main facility was a small satellite office that had to remain operational at all times during the relocation to the new facility. In addition, this satellite office required access to both the local area network and phone services.
Consequently, Rancho Santa Fe Technology recommended a solution that included using a single-mode fiber to extend the LAN and conventional copper wire to extend the phone system service.
"It was nearly half a mile between the main office and the satellite office, and RSFT had to prove to me that their plan would work," Hulsey said.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of its recommendation, Rancho Santa Fe Technology quickly tested the links, and the satellite office remained operational during the entire relocation process.
Move-in services typically include overseeing the entire sequence of steps for taking apart the equipment at the old facility and reassembling the system at the new location to ensure that it is up and running on time and will not cause an interruption of critical business operations.
During the upgrade and move-in to the Oceanside facility, as an additional part of the move-in activities, Hulsey relied on Rancho Santa Fe Technology to install and configure the personal computers that ran off the network. This was followed by a request that it complete the phone installation as well.
"This is typical of working with Rancho Santa Fe Technology," Hulsey said. "I can always count on (it) to go beyond wiring if it is necessary to finish a move."
According to Tres Conrique, Rancho Santa Fe Technology's director of the communications infrastructure group, "We know there is no second chance with mission-critical systems such as those installed for Cox Communications. Before we get involved with a project, we make sure that our team has -- in effect -- taken a walk in the customer's shoes."
Conrique explains that this requires addressing every detail so that there are no surprises later on down the line.
"Cox Communications is a valued customer of ours, and everyone on our team is fully aware of the high priority that Cox places on maintaining their reputation for high-quality customer service," Conrique said. "So each time we go in there to work on a Cox project, their particular concerns are uppermost in our minds."