Let’s share some of our policies and philosophies. I’ll start.

#1 - NEVER upgrade software after a major revision if the equipment is working on the previous version (not a new policy based on 8.x)

#2 - NEVER make a major system change prior to going on vacation unless absolutely necessary.

#3 - NEVER make a major change going into winter unless absolutely necessary.

#4 - Plan all major upgrades and changes 6 months out.

#5 - Simplicity - use the minimum number of systems to achieve the desired result. Don’t add systems that are not absolutely necessary.

#6 - Don’t over-engineer beyond 2 years unless it’s clear that growth will require it.

that should be a good start

When installing temporary equipment, make sure you install it as if it were permanent.

Label EVERYTHING cabling, “to, from” or have some sort of method of identifying where it is going and where it is from. Duplicate this exactly the same at every site.

Color coordinate cables. I like to use specific colored cables for outdoor runs, indoor runs, GPS, ETH, cross-connects, etc. Use the same color coordination at every site on the markings at minimum. I try and use the same colored cables but this doesn’t always happen. At least the markings are consistent. I use 3M colored marking tapes. Everything gets marked. Period.

Do not skimp on your grounding and lightning protection. Failure in this area ensures you will perish… Why bother putting anything on the air if you do not take the proper steps to protect it. If it leaves the building or enters the building it gets protected.

Test each and every Ethernet cable and sync cable with a cat5 tester. If you have a more advanced LAN tester, sweep each cable and store the results in your documentation.

If you have the correct tester for coaxial cables, sweep them and document the results.

Document EVERYTHING on PoP’s: what frequencies are in use, color codes, sector directions, how the cables are labeled, who was on-site performing maint. last and what date, when UPS batteries were installed and/or changed.

Once a year, after the winter, visit every PoP and ensure coaxial cables are still sealed tight (weatherproofed), antennas are securely mounted, cabling is not damaged, grounding system is in proper operation, equipment with fans are blown out/clean, UPS batteries are functional or replaced if needed, wet cell batteries tested and filled if required or replaced. Ensure the inside lighting is in proper operation: replace light bulbs or fixtures if required.

Check the tower structure over top to bottom if you own it to ensure it has not been damaged from ice or other elements.

Before you leave, sweep the shelter out so it is spotless.

If there is rat or mice droppings on the floors, take preventative measures to ensure you are not exposed to Haunta virus when cleaning.

  1. Expect the unexpected

    2) RF analysis prior to POP setups, post POP setups

    3) Equipment pre-provisioning/testing before POP setup including cabling (when applicable). Saves you hours in the event you didn’t follow #1

    4) Color coded cabling (I use tiny neon zip-ties around cat5 at each end, tape works too but can rub off over time)

    5) Vapor wrapping connectors, water tightening anything/everything that can be potentially exposed. I use: Electrical tape, Vapor, Electrical tape in that order on N connectors that connect Motorola radios to Yagi/Dish antennas.

    6) Double checking cat5 connectors with testers

    7) Measure 3x cut 1x. =)

    8) ORGANIZE. I HATE messes at towers/customer installs. Nothing ticks you off more than trying to follow a single ethernet cable that is the same color as the other 3 or 4 or 10 that are twisted up and go every which way. Spend the extra 10 minutes and make it NICE and organized. I usually have an organization plan before deploying POPs so things go where they are intended to go.

    9) Bind ethernet cables before they go in the conduit up the tower. I use electrical tape. It makes it very easy to add more in the conduit and less mess!

    That’s off the top of my head, probably have more but it’s just habit and not something I remembered right now. =)