Structured Cabling Solutions
Structured cabling is the design and installation of a cabling systems that will support multiple hardware uses and be suitable for today’s needs and those of the future. With a correctly installed system, current and future requirements can be met, and hardware that is added in the future will be supported.
Structured cabling design and installation is governed by a set of standards that specify wiring data centers, offices, and apartment buildings for data or voice communications using various kinds of cable, most commonly category 5e (Cat 5e), category 6 (Cat 6).
These standards define how to lay the cabling in various topologies in order to meet the needs of the customer, typically using a central patch panel (which is normally 19 inch rack-mounted), from where each modular connection can be used as needed. Each outlet is then patched into a network switch (normally also rack-mounted) for network use or into an IP or PBX (private branch exchange) telephone system patch panel.
Lines patched as data ports into a network switch require simple straight-through patch cables at each end to connect a computer.
It is common to colour code patch panel cables to identify the type of connection, though structured cabling standards do not require it except in the demarcation wall field.
Cabling standards require that all eight conductors in Cat 5e/6/6A cable be connected. IP phone systems can run the telephone and the computer on the same wires, eliminating the need for separate phone wiring.
Regardless of copper cable type (Cat 5e/6/6A), the maximum distance is 90 m for the permanent link installation, plus an allowance for a combined 10 m of patch cords at the ends. Cat 5e and Cat 6 can both effectively run PoE applications up to 90 m. However, due to greater power dissipation in Cat 5e cable, performance and power efficiency are higher when Cat 6A cabling is used to power and connect to PoE devices
Structured cabling falls into six subsystems:
Equipment rooms house equipment and wiring consolidation points that serve the users inside the building or campus.
Backbone cabling is the inter-building and intra-building cable connections in structured cabling between entrance facilities, equipment rooms and telecommunications closets. Backbone cabling consists of the transmission media, main and intermediate cross-connects and terminations at these locations. This system is mostly used in data centers.
Horizontal cabling wiring can be IW (inside wiring) or plenum cabling and connects telecommunications rooms to individual outlets or work areas on the floor, usually through the wireways, conduits or ceiling spaces of each floor. A horizontal cross-connect is where the horizontal cabling connects to a patch panel or punch up block, which is connected by backbone cabling to the main distribution facility.
Telecommunications rooms or telecommunications enclosure connects between the backbone cabling and horizontal cabling.
Work-area components connect end-user equipment to outlets of the horizontal cabling system.
The Basics of Structured Cabling
A structured cabling system is a complete system of cabling and associated hardware, which provides a comprehensive telecommunications infrastructure. This infrastructure serves a wide range of uses, such as to provide telephone service or transmit data through a computer network. It should not be device dependent.
We further define a structured cabling system in terms of ownership. The structured cabling system begins at the point where the service provider (SP) terminates. This point is the point of demarcation (demarc) or Network Interface Device (NID).
For example, in a telephone system installation, the SP furnishes one or more service lines (per customer requirements). The SP connects the service lines at the point of demarcation.
Every structured cabling system is unique. This is due to variations in:
• The architectural structure of the building, which houses the cabling installation;
• The cable and connection products;
• The function of the cabling installation;
• The types of equipment the cabling installation will support -- present and future;
• The configuration of an already installed system (upgrades and retrofits);
• Customer requirements; and
• Manufacturer warranties.