Choosing the right cable structure can directly impact the performance and efficiency of a business. The main idea behind structured cabling is that a single set of cables is able to support various types of hardware.
Structured cabling uses the same type of wall outlet and cable for both, allowing companies to easily move things without the inconvenience of running new cables. Of course, not all cabling structures are equal. It is important for businesses to match their cabling infrastructure to their unique needs to save time and money.
Main Types Of Cabling Infrastructure
Network cables act as a medium in which information can travel between network devices. When choosing a cable type, there are several things that a business will want to consider, such as network size, procedure and topology. The most common types of cables found in office environments include:
1. Coaxial Cable
Coaxial cables feature a single copper conductor in the center and a plastic layer that insulates between the center conductor and the braided metal shield. The metal shield is what blocks the outer interference from motors, other computers and fluorescent lights. Coaxial cabling is a popular choice of cable as it is highly resistant to signal obstructions and can remain effective even with long cable lengths between network devices. The two primary types of coaxial cables include thick coaxial and thin coaxial.
2. Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable
A shielded twisted pair (STP) cable refers to a type of copper telephone wiring commonly used in business installations. This type of cable features an external shield that functions as a ground and is added to a normal twisted pair telephone wire.
STP cables are frequently used in areas that encounter interference due to electrical currents. Shielded twisted pair cables may also be used in situations where the distance between cables needs to be expanded.
3. Fiber Optic Cable
Fiber optic cables contain a glass core center that is surrounded by layers of protective materials. This type of cable transmits light instead of electronic signals which helps to eliminate issues relating to electrical obstruction. Fiber optic cables are well suited for environments that encounter a large amount of electrical interference. It is also highly resistant to moisture and lighting, making it a great option for connecting networks between different buildings.
4. Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable
The unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable is one of the most favored in the business environment. It is used for both computer networking and telephone purposes because of its effectiveness and reliability. UTP cables may feature various types of wiring schemes, such as the following:
- CAT1 – Is used for telephone wires.
- CAT2 – Often used for token ring networks and can support speeds up to 4 Mbps.
- CAT3 and 4 – Used for token ring networks and can achieve higher network speeds.
- CAT5 – Has been replaced by the CAT5e wire which is designed to provide better crosstalk specification and can support speeds up to 1 Gbps. This is the most commonly used network cabling specification in the world.
- CAT6 – Supports speeds up to 1 Gbps for lengths up to 100 meters and up to 10 Gbps for lengths up to 55 meters.
- CAT7 – Supports speeds up to 10 Gbps with a length up to 100 meters.
Choosing A Cabling Infrastructure
When choosing a cabling infrastructure, there are several things that businesses will want to consider. Consider if the building is owned or leased. If a business owns a building and plans to remain there, then CAT6 cabling is often the best option. When thinking about the future of the business, consider if a CAT5e cable is capable of handling the company’s expected future infrastructure needs.
Another important aspect to think about when choosing a cable structure relates to industry. Some industries, such as the manufacturing industry, may require cables to be industrial grade. Hazardous materials can cause damage to the outer sheath of cables which can be a costly problem. Other extreme environments, such as walk-in freezers, will also require a sheath that is rated for that specific environment.
Also, consider when a fiber optic cable may be necessary. There are several key benefits to choosing fiber optic cables such as their ability to run for longer distances and take up less space in cable pathways. Fiber optic cables also offer remarkable bandwidth and have quality transmission speed capabilities. This can be useful in a wide variety of circumstances, especially for video applications.
Get Started With Structured Cabling Services Today
Technology is constantly changing and businesses must take the proper steps to keep pace. This often involves choosing a cable structure that will reliably run at peak performance for many years. For more information about cable structures for office environments or to speak with a managed network services professional, contact the experts at SeaGlass Technology today.