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(2022)Structured cabling for networking: Everything You Need To Know

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n networking, ensuring your components and systems are wired up with each other correctly is crucial. Buildings and campuses are expensive to cable, so it’s imperative that your structured cabling meets the needs of both today and the future.

What is structured cabling? Why is it important? What are the most important components and considerations for this approach to network wiring?

In this article, we’ll tell you all you’ll need to know about structured cabling in networking.

What is Structured Cabling?

Structured cabling refers to the design and installation of network cabling systems that split a building or campus’s wiring requirements into specific sections or subsystems.

The idea here is to ensure complete compatibility and interoperability between different devices and hardware uses.



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In structured cabling, your network will be mapped out before installation. Network designers will usually split your network into zones based on rooms or hardware uses.

Key equipment can then be organised into component rooms where they can operate most efficiently – reducing component redundancy.

This approach differs from point-to-point cabling – where devices are hooked together in an unstructured fashion wherever needed.

What are the key benefits of structured cabling?

  • Improved efficiency: Ad-hoc, point-to-point cabling usually leads to a messy, inefficient network layout. Structured cabling avoids this.
    • Firstly, devices can be arranged to improve network performance.
    • Faults can be quickly detected and resolved, improving maintenance efficiency and reducing operational downtime.
  • Reduces your installation costs: Each subsystem can be designed and optimized to reduce wiring. Point-to-point cabling often leads to redundant cabling and unnecessary repetition of equipment.
  • Improved scalability for future needs: The rigid structure of this approach makes it easy to swap out components as your organization’s needs change.

What are the components of Structured Cabling?

There are six main components and areas that make up a standardized structured cabling system.

These are:

  • Entrance Facilities: This is where external wiring from a telephone company or network provider enters the building and is routed to your internal telecommunication cabling.
  • Equipment Room: Where your main network switches, servers and routers (or any other critical network equipment) are held.
  • Backbone Cabling: The wiring that runs across your building (or between buildings on a campus setup). This backbone carries all of your data and traffic, so these cables need to handle a large bandwidth.
  • Horizontal Cabling: This refers to the standard wiring that connects devices and individual workstations to the network. This is most commonly delivered through wall sockets.
  • Telecommunications Room: This is where the backbone cabling terminates. This room is essentially the interface between the high-bandwidth backbone cabling and the horizontal cabling systems.
  • Work Area: Individual workstations and end-user devices are hooked up to horizontal cabling.

What sort of cabling do you need for a structured system as specified above?

For backbone cabling, you’ll need wiring that can handle a large volume of data with no degradation or interference.

CAT6 or CAT6a cabling can handle 10Gbps at a maximum bandwidth of 500MHz, but many large structured networks use single or multi-mode optical fiber cables for backbones.

Your horizontal cabling choices will be dictated by your organization’s specific needs. CAT6 cabling is great here if you are looking to deliver gigabit and above speeds. CAT5e is still popula

n networking, ensuring your components and systems are wired up with each other correctly is crucial. Buildings and campuses are expensive to cable, so it’s imperative that your structured cabling meets the needs of both today and the future.

What is structured cabling? Why is it important? What are the most important components and considerations for this approach to network wiring?

In this article, we’ll tell you all you’ll need to know about structured cabling in networking.

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