What does Structured Cabling Installation Mean?

Cabling Structured

Structured cabling has two definitions: what it actually means and what a lot of people think it means. It is a phrase that is often thrown around as a buzzword, so it can be tricky to pin down what it really means. The industry definition reads: “structured cabling is building or campus cabling infrastructure that consists of a number of standardized smaller elements (hence structured) called subsystems”. As a whole, “structured cabling” refers to everything used to set up a network system (cables, racks, electronics, etc.). While the initial installation is important, structured cabling also includes planning room for growth. Leaving extra space will allow additional infrastructure to be added later as an organization grows or as new technology becomes available and is implemented.

Ethernet cables can be found on any modern structured cabling installation project. But structured cabling includes any cable that needs to run through the walls, floors, and ceilings to make a network operational. This can include fiber optics, coax, telephone cords, power lines, and more. Fiber may or may not be included depending on the age of the installation, budgetary restrictions, and/or the needs of the facility where the installation is taking place. Structured cabling installations also include the hardware that goes with those cables such as racks, cabinets, patch panels, servers, and computer work stations.

Cabling Wifi

Subsystems of a Structured Cabling Installation

No two installations are the same, for structured cabling or any other kind of installation project. Even if two buildings are constructed the same way, the needs of the people in those buildings may be different from unit to unit. Despite those differences, each structured cabling set-up can be broken down into a number of different subsections. Every structured cabling set-up starts with the entrance facility. This is where cables from utilities and service companies (power, telephone, television, Internet) come into the building. Cables from inside the building are connected to the larger grids and networks from here. Typically, the entrance facility can be found by locating the demarcation point (demarc).

The next subsection is the equipment room. This is where servers and other IT equipment is located, typically inside a temperature-controlled room with limited access. This has two uses: ensuring the temperature control stays in place to prevent equipment overheating and preventing unauthorized users from accessing any IT systems.

Then there is backbone cabling. These are the cables, wires, and lines running through the walls that connect the equipment room hardware to other subsections. Backbone cabling has two classifications: intrabuilding cable (cable inside a building) and interbuilding cable (cable running outside between multiple buildings).

Backbone cabling can lead to telecommunications rooms, which function like relay points for the equipment room. A telecommunications room will contain secondary equipment like Internet routers that route traffic between the equipment room hardware and end-user stations such as desktop computers.

Horizontal cabling is similar to backbone cabling. It refers specifically to cables running between the telecommunications rooms and wall outlets. These are the cables that allow end-user hardware access to the network. 

Work area components are cables out in the open that connect computers, printers, and other hardware to Ethernet jacks, electrical outlets, etc.

Advantages of Structured Cabling Installations

A centralized hub can manage data to ensure a network runs smoothly. Say a file needs to be moved from one work station to another. With a structured cabling system, the file starts at Work Station 1, moves through the network to the central equipment in the telecommunications room, and is transmitted to Work Station 2 from there. The file starts at Point A, moves to Point B, and ends up at Point C. In an unorganized network, there may be no direct path a file could take. If the hardware is crisscrossed together with a maze of cables, the file might have to jump through 8 or 9 machines to get where it is going. This uses additional network resources and makes moving data a lot slower.

Structured cabling networks are also easier to manage physically. A proper system will have cables neatly arranged, organized, and labeled. If a cable is somehow damaged, it becomes easy to remove and replace the defective unit.

Random Posts