Small businesses rely on cables to perform critical functions when setting up an office network. Cables serve multiple purposes, but are largely designed to carry power and data signals to the appropriate equipment. Office cabling can range from simple to complex depending on the size of the operation, the number of workstations, and the amount of equipment that requires installation.
Common Types Of Cabling For Small Businesses
Whether a business is moving to a new location or updating an existing cabling system, it is important to understand the types of network cables available and their functions.
Coaxial cables are commonly used by cable operators, and internet providers to aid in the transmission of voice, video, and data communications. This technology has been around since the early 20th century and continues to provide homes and businesses with reliable and accurate transmission.
The cable’s unique shielded design is what makes it so successful. Inside the cable is a copper core that quickly transmits data without interference or damage from external factors. There are several sizes of coaxial cables with the most common being RG-6, RG-11, and RG-59.
Fiber Optic Cable
A fiber optic cable is a type of network cable containing glass fibers covered with an insulated case. This type of cable is best suited for high performance, long-distance data networking and telecommunications. Today, fiber optic cables are used for much of the world’s cable television, internet, and telephone systems.
Compared to traditional wired cables, fiber optic cables provide a much higher bandwidth. These cables are also capable of transmitting data over long distances. There is less of a need for signal boosters as light can travel a long way over a fiber optic cable without losing strength.
Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable
Shielded twisted pair (STP) cables are a special type of local area network (LAN) and copper telephone wiring commonly used in business installations. STP cables contain a shield that acts as a ground to regular twisted pair wiring to minimize radio frequency and electromagnetic interference (EMI).
There are three main types of shielded twisted pair cabling options. These configurations include braided, which offers 90 percent EMI shielding, spiral, which offers 98 percent EMI shielding, and metal-coated mylar or foil, which offers 100 percent EMI shielding.
Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cables are some of the most commonly used network cables for businesses. This type of cable is a 100-ohm copper cable that contains two to 1,800 unshielded twisted pairs that are surrounded by an exterior jacket. UTP cables do not have a metallic shield which makes them smaller in diameter and unprotected against EMI.
UTP cables are one of the least expensive wires available and are suitable for basic phone systems. These cables have also been successfully used in video applications, such as security cameras, due to an improvement in bandwidth. UTP cables are made up of four components: conductor, insulator, twisted unit, and sheath.
There are several commonly used types of UTP cabling, including:
- Category 1 (Cat1) – Mainly used for telephone communications. Cat1 cables are not suitable for transmitting data.
- Category 2 (Cat2) – Can transmit data at speeds of up to four Mbps.
- Category 3 (Cat3) – Typically used in Token Ring networks. Is capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 10 Mbps.
- Category 4 (Cat4) – Typically used in Token Ring networks. Is capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 16 Mbps.
- Category 5 (Cat5) – Is capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
- Category 5e (Cat5e) – Commonly used in networks that run at speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps.
- Category 6 (Cat6) – Consists of four pairs of 24 AWG (American Wire Gauge) copper wires. This is currently the fastest standard for UTP cables.
Selecting the Right Network Cables
There are several things that small businesses should consider when setting up an office network. First, plan the layout of the office. Will there be a data center present and how many computer stations will the space include?
Consider if employees will be using desktops, laptops, or both to perform work. It is also important to allocate enough space for servers and other types of network equipment. Even if a small business plans to create a wireless environment, some cabling is still required to bring an internet connection into the office.
Schedule A Consultation With SeaGlass Technology Today
Technology is always changing and evolving, and small businesses must keep pace or risk falling behind their competitors. To keep equipment running at peak performance and ensure that the business has access to the data it needs, it is necessary to have the right cable systems in place.
SeaGlass Technology is a leader in networking, offering services like network installation, virtual phone systems, and structured cabling. To learn more about office cabling or to request a consultation with an experienced NYC IT services provider, contact the professionals at SeaGlass Technology today.