Structured Cabling: Building Future-Proof Networking Infrastructure

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In the corporate setting, we often find ourselves surrounded by a multitude of cables and wires, unaware of their specific types and specialized purposes. In the field of networking and communication, the term “structured cabling” is frequently used. It is often considered a buzzword, but its actual meaning and definition are often misunderstood.

So, what does this cabling entail? In this blog post, we will explore the predominant types of cables used in a networking setting.

What is Structured Cabling?

Structured cabling, or infrastructure cabling, refers to a standardized approach to installing a comprehensive telecommunications infrastructure in a building or campus. It involves the installation of a complete system of cabling and associated hardware that provides a reliable and consistent infrastructure for transmitting data, voice, and other telecommunications services.

Structured cabling is based on a set of standards that define the components and design principles for the cabling system. These standards ensure compatibility, interoperability, and scalability between different systems and devices.

6 Main Components of Structured Cabling

Infrastructure cabling is based on a set of standards that define the components and design principles for the cabling system. The six key components of infrastructure cabling include:

  1. Entrance Facilities: The point where the external cabling connects to the building’s cabling infrastructure.
  2. Equipment Rooms: Spaces where active network equipment, such as servers and switches, are housed.
  3. Backbone Cabling: The cabling that connects the equipment rooms to the telecommunications rooms or work areas.
  4. Telecommunications Rooms: Spaces where the horizontal cabling connects to the backbone cabling.
  5. Horizontal Cabling: The cabling that connects the telecommunications rooms to the work areas.
  6. Work Areas: The spaces where end-user devices, such as computers and phones, are connected to the cabling system.

How does Structured Cabling Benefit Businesses?

By implementing infrastructure cabling, businesses can achieve the following advantages:

  • Simplified Infrastructure: It reduces the number of cables required and provides a more organized and manageable cabling infrastructure.
  • Future-Proofing: A well-designed structured cabling system allows for easy expansion and modification as technology needs to evolve.
  • Cost Savings: With a standardized approach, structured cabling reduces installation and maintenance costs.
  • Improved Performance: Properly installed infrastructure cabling ensures reliable and consistent performance for data, voice, and other telecommunications services.
  • Enhanced Flexibility: Infrastructure cabling enables the easy relocation of devices and the addition of new equipment without major disruptions.
  • Increased Scalability: The modular nature of infrastructure cabling allows for easy scalability to accommodate future business growth and technological advancements.

Types of Structured Cabling

Below are the main types of infrastructure cabling:

●     Twisted-Pair Cabling

Twisted-pair cables, such as Category 5e (Cat5e) and Category 6 (Cat6), are commonly used for Ethernet networks. They are made of pairs of twisted insulated copper cables to minimize electromagnetic interference.

●     Fiber-Optic Cabling

Fiber optic cables utilize various thin strands of glass or plastic to transfer data as pulses of light. They offer high bandwidth and are suitable for long-distance and high-speed data transmission.

●     Entrance Facilities

Entrance facilities serve as the entry points for external cabling into a building or campus. These include the necessary equipment and protection devices for grounding, shielding, and lightning protection.

●     Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable, also known as co-ax, is a type of cable with an insulating layer surrounding an inner conductor and a conductive shield. It transmits data faster than telephone wire and offers greater bandwidth capacity in both indoor and outdoor environments.

●     Telephone Wire

Copper telephone wire is a cost-effective alternative to coaxial or fiber optic cables for companies with a limited number of devices requiring network connections. Copper wire is suitable for legacy telephone systems or fax systems.

Top 3 Structured Cabling Companies in 2024

Various companies offer infrastructure cabling solutions. Below are three prominent players that you should consider in 2024.

1.   Nexans

Nexans is a global company headquartered in Paris that offers cabling and fiber optic services to the communications, ICT, and data center industries. They provide high-end LAN infrastructure solutions with complete end-to-end copper and fiber solutions. From micro-cables to aerial cables, the Nexans product line encompasses a variety of cabling solutions.

2.   CommScope Holding Company, Inc.

CommScope is a leading provider of structured cabling solutions. They offer a comprehensive portfolio of copper and fiber cabling products for data centers, enterprise networks, and telecommunications. CommScope has a strong presence in the market and caters to the requirements of its customers by providing technologically advanced structured cabling solutions.

3.   Panduit

Panduit is another prominent infrastructure cabling company. They offer a wide range of structured cable products for data centers, including copper and fiber solutions. Panduit positions itself as a high-quality LAN infrastructure vendor, providing complete end-to-end solutions for various industries.

Bottom Line

Structured cabling provides businesses with a reliable, flexible, and future-proof telecommunications infrastructure. From reduced installation and maintenance costs to improved performance and reliability, infrastructure cabling offers numerous benefits. With its neat and organized design, infrastructure cabling minimizes cable clutter and ensures consistent connectivity.

This cabling system is available in a variety of types, catering to various business needs. The modular cabling enables easy expansion and integration of new technologies, allowing businesses to adapt to evolving changes.

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