Cabling Healthcare facilities and the TIA-1179

Healthcare facilities are much different than an average workspace

Healthcare facilities have different needs than the average workspace so cabling telephone and computer networks in healthcare facilities have special requirements to ensure sufficient and sanitary access points to each work station within the facility. Telecommunication Industry Association (TIA) has created the TIA- 1179 which established standards for cabling in hospitals and other healthcare facilities which include standards for cable pathways, workstation definitions, cable enclosures, and access point density.


Cabling in an average workspace and finding a cable pathway usually is dependent on finding the shortest distance. Placing all the cables in the same pathway as much as possible is the best pratcice. However, in a hospital or healthcare facility TIA-1179 recommends using at least two diverse and redundant pathways from entrance facility to the equipment room. The reason for this is to have two paths so that if one path were damaged or out of service the second path would be able to serve as a backup or alternative. Also, keeping the voice and data cables separate from cables that would service medical equipment. The pathways cannot compromise any operations of the facility and all enclosed cable pathways are considered air handling spaces and need to meet Infection Control Requirements. Shielded cable is also highly recommended due to the high amount of potential alien crosstalk and EMI that can be created by equipment regularly found in hospitals and healthcare facilities.


The TIA-1179 has established 11 work area classifications characterized into low, medium, or high density work areas. Low density work areas require 2-6 ports; medium density work areas require 6-12 ports; high density work areas require 14 ports or outlets. TIA recommends a minimum of at least Cat6 Cable to be able to handle modern medical equipment. Equipment rooms and telecommunications rooms are recommended to have enough space to grow up to at least 100%. Meaning they can double in size; this is so that expansion will be able to occur in the future without impeding upon the healthcare professionals or their patients.


Nova Voice & Data Systems has performed structured cable installations and provided IT consulting services for medical organizations including Covenant Care, HealthSouth Hospitals, and a number of independent doctors’ offices.