Cabling and Wiring

Cabling and Wiring

Understanding Structured Cabling and its Benefits

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As a business grows and changes, it typically will add new voice and data lines, but this can be a time-consuming and costly process depending on how the office was originally wired. Switching to structured cabling can reduce the long-term expenses involved with upgrading your network.

Cat 5 Data Cabling

A standardized approach to cabling

Developed through the efforts of the Electronics Industry Association (EIA) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), structured cabling is, by definition, a set of standards that can be used when installing network cables.

Using the structured approach, every office in your building or suite is wired the same way, with multiple ports for voice, data and video transmissions. All these cables lead back to a centralized "patch panel," which makes it easy for a technician to repair or replace defective cables and redirect data.

The rise of TIA/EIA 568

In 1991, the two industry organizations released a structured cabling standard, which became known as TIA/EIA 568. Since that time, changing technologies prompted the TIA/EIA to regularly upgrade their standards to meet the needs of the modern business world, including the growing popularity of fiber optics.

Many structured networks these days utilize Category 5 (Cat 5) or Category 5 Enhanced (Cat 5e) cabling for voice and data transmissions. Structured Cat 5 cabling can be used for phone systems or the now outdated token ring. Replacement cabling for both phone systems and token rings solutions is often Cat5e, this allows the possibility of future upgrade.

Benefits of structured cabling

Though these cabling standards are not required by law, the structured approach makes good business sense for a number of reasons:

Overall, Cat5e is the industry standard but with the recent advances in high speed technology, Cat6 is being installed more and more. The costs of a Cat6 are typically 50% greater than those of a Cat5e solutions. For PCs, voice over internet, and other basic network devices, Cat5e does the job when properly installed and shows no sign of going away any time soon.

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