What is Structured Cabling?

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What Is Structured Cabling?

In this blog post, we’ll provide a basic overview of what structured cabling is and how it works. We’ll also discuss some of the key benefits a structured cabling system can provide your business.

What is structured cabling?

“Structured cabling” describes the system of cabling used to connect computers and other devices within a building. The term is often used in the context of business or office settings, where multiple devices need to be connected in a way that is both efficient and reliable. A structured cabling system typically consists of three main components: patch panels, data cabling and networking hardware. Patch panels are used to connect data cabling to networking hardware, while data cabling carries signals between devices. Networking hardware includes switches, routers, and other equipment that helps manage the network traffic. A well-designed structured cabling system can help improve network performance and provide greater flexibility for future expansion.

The six subsystems of structured cabling

Structured cabling is a system that uses a standardized approach for connecting electronic systems and devices within a building or campus. That standardized approach includes six subsystems that make up a complete structured cabling system:

  1. Cable infrastructure: This is the physical layer that consists of the cabling and components used to connect the various devices and systems. This includes the media (copper or fiber), connectors, jacks, patch panels, and cross-connects.
  2. Connectivity devices: This is the hardware used to connect the cabling to the equipment. It includes wall plates, patch panels, and cross-connects.
  3. Equipment devices: These are the active components that generate, receive, or terminate signals within the system. This includes computers, servers, storage devices, printers, and copiers.
  4. Workstation cabling: This portion of the system connects individual workstations to the network. This includes desktop computers, laptops, and other devices that require a connection to the network.
  5. Patch cords: These connect equipment and workstations to patch panels and cross-connects. They are available in various lengths and types (copper or fiber).
  6. Cable management: This is the process of organizing and routing the cabling within the system. This includes cable trays, raceways, and cable ties.

What are the three categories of structured cabling standards?

There are three main categories of structured cabling standards:

  • Telecommunications infrastructure standards: These standards cover the infrastructure used for telecommunications, including copper and fiber cabling, connectors, jacks, and patch panels.
  • Local area network standards: These standards cover the cabling used for local area networks (LANs), including twisted pair, coaxial, and fiber-optic cable.
  • Building infrastructure standards: These standards cover the infrastructure used for buildings, including wiring systems, fire safety, and security.

ANSI/TIA-568-C is the most common standard in use today. It covers both commercial and residential applications.

Benefits of structured cabling

In contrast with traditional point-to-point cabling systems, structured cabling systems reduce wiring complexity and provide increased data speeds at the highest volumes. This is very important in the communications infrastructure.

There are many benefits of structured cabling, including:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity: Structured cabling provides a consistent and reliable network that helps increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Scalability: Structured cabling is scalable, meaning it can be easily expanded or upgraded as needed. This makes it ideal for growing businesses.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Structured cabling is more cost-effective than traditional point-to-point wiring. It is also easier to install and maintain.
  • Improved performance: Structured cabling provides improved performance by reducing crosstalk and interference.
  • Enhanced security: Structured cabling can help enhance security by providing physical protection for the cabling.

Maintenance and troubleshooting of a structured cabling system

As with any system, it’s important to do regular maintenance and updates. Here are some tips to ensure your system continues running smoothly:

  • Inspect the cabling regularly for signs of damage or wear.
  • Test the cabling regularly using a cable tester.
  • Keep the cabling organized and tidy to avoid damage and interference.
  • Use cable ties and other management devices to keep the cabling in place.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installing and maintaining the cabling.

Do you need structured cabling for your installation?

Vextra® is a manufacturer of network and building connectivity solutions, and we are headquartered in the United States. Whether you are upgrading your network or building a new one, Vextra provides a complete toolbox of reliable, high-quality, simple connectivity products that are available, perform reliably over the long term, and are within your deployment budget.


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