Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

Dec 13, 2022, 8:15 AM | Updated: Dec 14, 2022, 11:32 am
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Photo: Adobe Stock

This article about structured cabling is presented by Les Olson IT, Your Office Technology Partner. 

Our world is becoming increasingly connected, with most businesses requiring Internet access and secure data management. While the Internet may seem invisible, it is held together by a system of cables and structures that can quickly become unorganized. A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable. 

Structured cabling is designed to support multiple hardware and software systems, and can easily be expanded, modified, or replaced as technology advances. Keep reading to learn more about how it works and how your company can organize your systems with the help of a certified IT team. 

What is structured cabling?

electric trays for electrical and data cabling on site

Photo: Adobe Stock

Structured cabling is a standardized approach to installing and maintaining a network infrastructure for communications. This includes fiber optics, Cat6 cables, phone cables, wireless access points, server racks, and cable management. It is designed to organize your computers and office space infrastructure, making it easier to maintain and upgrade. The system is flexible and scalable to adapt to changing needs over time.

How does structured cabling work? 

The main components of a structured cabling system include horizontal and vertical cabling channels, patch panels, and network equipment such as switches and routers. It includes the entrance facilities, equipment room, backbone cabling, telecommunications room, horizontal cabling, and work areas. Horizontal cabling channels consist of cables that run between individual workstations and the telecommunications room. Vertical cabling, also known as backbone or riser cabling, runs between floors.

The American National Standards Institute and Telecommunications Industry Association set a series of standards, ANSI/TIA-568, to ensure consistency of systems operations in different spaces.

What are the benefits of a structured cable system?

One of the biggest advantages of structured cabling is that it provides a consistent and organized approach to installing and managing your technology infrastructure. It’s easier to maintain and troubleshoot should an issue arise. This can save your company a lot of time and money by reducing the effort required to rewire or reconnect. 

What are the different types of structured cabling?

There are several types of structured cabling systems, including copper-based and fiber optic systems. Most systems use fiber optics, however, Cat6 (short for Category 6) cables are increasingly becoming the standard as they have higher bandwidths and provide power to endpoints such as telephones and security cameras. 

How do you install a structured cabling system?

Asian electrician wearing a mask installing cables

Photo: Adobe Stock

There are industry standards and best practices for installing a structured cabling system. If you are outsourcing this to an IT team, check to see if they are BICSI certified, whose standards are set by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). These guidelines ensure cable, connections, and systems performance functions properly. It also helps label and document systems clearly so any IT professional can modify, fix, or expand the network. 

When installing a structured cabling system, you should conduct a needs assessment to determine your organization’s specific needs. This will help you determine which systems are most appropriate and how much equipment you need to manage. 

As you design and plan your space, include the cable channels’ layout, patch panel placements, and where your equipment will be stored. Measure the size of your office space to help determine the cable’s length. 

Cables will run through horizontal and vertical channels during installation. You will want to ensure your cables are high quality and connections are secure to ensure your network reliability. Test it to verify the cables are properly connected and the system can transmit the data you need at the speed you need it to. 

Get a quote from the team at Les Olson today to see how they can help you build or maintain your network infrastructure.

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