What Is Structured Cabling?
Every IT professional and network administrator knows that structured cabling can make all of the difference when it comes to maintaining high-quality data flow. If you’re new to the field or want to learn more about what structured cabling is and how it can benefit you, we will be covering how to get started with structured cabling.
Defining Structured Cabling
Structured cabling is an organized cabling system that is professionally installed to provide you with a reliable infrastructure for appliances that require cabling. Instead of using point-to-point cables for connectivity, structured cabling utilizes patch panels that create ports for hardware connectivity.
Multi-fiber cables are then used to connect each patch panel for optimum performance. A professional, structured cabling system offers seamless changes and additions, while providing you with better system availability.
Structured Cabling vs Unstructured Cabling
The difference between structured cabling and unstructured cabling is fairly straightforward. An unstructured cabling system is less organized, with cables that generally get tangled together, making it difficult to decipher which cable belongs to which source in the case of a network issue. Structured cabling, on the other hand, utilizes an orderly infrastructure, making it much more functional.
Standards for the Best Structured Cabling
When considering a new cabling system, you will want to choose one that is in compliance with an organization that regularly reviews the standards set in place and makes adjustments as needed. This will help keep your structured cabling up-to-date so that it continues to have a high performance. It will also leave your structured cabling system open for improvements, revisions, or new technology.
The best structured cabling system is one that is in full compliance with one or more of these associations:
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
- Electronic Industries Association (EIA)
Each of these groups governs the use of structured cabling as used by telecommunications networks to ensure that functionality and safety regulations are met. From blueprints on how to lay structured cabling throughout commercial buildings, to installing cables in data centers, each facility is unique and therefore requires professional planning and guidelines for optimum structured cabling installation.
What are the Guides for Structured Cabling?
A structured cabling system is installed depending on the type of building that you’re in, the size of the network, number of users, and the specific functions your users will be performing. It’s best to work with a professional cable installer to help you configure the best installation plan for your facility’s infrastructure.
As a rule, here is the standard guideline in which cable installers go by when installing a structured cabling system:
The entrance facility is the area in which the private, outside network cabling system connects to the inside systems. The outside network transitions to your private usage at the entrance facility using hardware that converts this outside, external signal to the equipment inside of your building.
This cabling uses vertical cables to connect the cables in the entrance facility to the equipment rooms, telecommunications rooms, and telecommunications closets. Backbone cabling can connect floor levels, basements, and even different buildings to one another.
Horizontal cables are horizontally installed to reach floors and ceilings to send network signals to different floors in the facility. It does this by sending signals from the telecommunications rooms and closets.
Equipment rooms are climate-controlled and serve as hosts for additional cabling and installations.
A telecommunication room is, in some cases, more like a closet or cabinet. Nevertheless, this room is used to store telecommunications equipment to make everything easily accessible.
Lastly, the workstation area is the actual area in which your users will be working. Desktops, laptops, and teleconferencing equipment are able to connect to the network via ports.
How Does Structured Cabling Benefit You?
Structured cabling has numerous benefits, making it far superior to that of traditional cabling systems.
- It’s more time and cost effective. Structured cabling saves you time and money on troubleshooting network problems.
- You’re up-to-date. For your business to grow, you will need a solid and reliable structured cabling system to both utilize and keep up with new technologies that put your business at the forefront of your industry.
- It boosts productivity. Structured cabling allows for problems to be individually troubleshot, rather than having a systemic disruption that leads to downtime for your entire facility. This means your network users and team will be able to focus on their work, even if a single device is experiencing a malfunction.
- There’s more flexibility and potential. Structured cabling has the flexibility to be upgraded or improved in the future. You can also increase bandwidth, add workstations, and accommodate for new technology as your business grows, rather than be held back by limited cabling abilities.
- Signals are carried better. Structured cabling systems utilize a number of cable types, such as twisted pair, fiber, or short patch cables, to prevent outside crosstalk and electromagnetic interference.
- It looks better. Having organized cables with a system that is designed for smooth transitions looks more appealing than cables strewn in an unorganized fashion.
- There’s better documentation. Outdated cabling systems, especially in older buildings, are more likely to lack documentation of the original work. This means that it could be hard, if not impossible, to get into contact with the original installers in case of any technical issues. By having a professional, structured cabling installer come and install updated cables to your facility, the infrastructure and design layout are documented for future use.
- Your network is more secure. Since older systems are more likely to be outdated, there is an increased risk of infiltrations on your network, meaning your business is at risk of viruses, malware, and other widespread compromises.
Professional Structured Cabling Installation
The benefits of having a structured cabling system are insurmountable. For older buildings that are outdated and underperforming, installing a structured cabling system can give one’s facility the upgrades it needs to boost user performance.
Installing a new system starts with a structured cabling expert who knows exactly how to install your system with your facility in mind. Interested in finding out more ? Give Data Cabling Florida a call so we can help you with your structured cabling projects.