Case Study

Back in 1988 - Computer Cables and Boy George Connectors

Intrigued? You will be!

Back in the late 1980s we were working for a London based company that was providing IBM 36 and AS400 computer systems to the music and entertainment industry. This company's specialty was the provision of software relating to royalty systems and their client at the time was none other than the Royal Albert Hall. Our job was to install the computer cabling system, a very unusual bespoke system indeed.

We did a survey to establish where terminals were to go - these were just dumb monitors and keyboards, not at all like the computing technology we have nowadays. They also had printers for printing tickets at the box offices.

The IBM cabling system was bespoke and really very unusual. The computer cables all radiated out from a central frame and used an odd connector. The connector in question was hermaphroditic, and maybe because we were working closely with music industry professionals it earned a name in the trade as the 'Boy George' connector. Not at all politically correct, but then again, this was the Eighties!

Another thing that really stands out looking back were the size of the cables. We were using type 1 cables, and they were so big and inflexible they took up as much space as three Category 6 cables that we use nowadays - but the data speed was 100 times slower!

The survey was very interesting too. Computer cables had to be run around the building over several floors; vertical routes went up and down ancient ventilation shafts and they went through the bowels of the building where leather belt pulley wheels for the ventilation system lie derelict. The central frame, equivalent to the modern data cabinet, ended up being located directly below the toilet reserved exclusively for the Queen. That's how we came to nickname the frame the Royal Flush!

It was a huge privilege and extremely interesting to install the very first structured cabling system in such a famous and historic building as the Royal Albert Hall. It is definitely a project we look back on fondly, and with great respect for what we achieved - not to mention with a smile!

The Royal Albert Hall


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