Structured Cabling

The benefits of structured cabling


By Justin Ellis, Senior Data Specialist at Comms Express There are six main parts of a structured cabling

ffice cabling systems used to be relatively simple. All you needed was a phone on the desk which was

connected by a thin multicore cable. Then along came computers and it all became rather more complicated. First, there were terminals for mainframes which usually needed some form of co-axial connection. Then PCs started to be networked together which also needed a co-ax or multi- core connection. This meant that for one office, you might have two or three different cabling standards in use and things could get messy. Then someone came up with the idea of using the same twisted pair cable for everything, so that you could use the same conduits and sockets and cables for anything depending on what you connected to the patch panel at the other end. This is known as structured cabling.

What is a structured cabling system? So, what is structured cabling and what are its six components? Structured cabling allows you to use the same cables for all of your IT and telecommunications needs. This makes life much easier when rearranging the office or moving staff to different desks because you can easily plug in equipment without having to run new cables.

system which are as follows: 1: The entry point - As the name suggests this is where outside telecommunications - your broadband and your phone lines - come into the building. There will usually be some form of termination point and perhaps some equipment, such as a fibre modem, provided by your telecoms supplier. 2: The comms cabinet - This is the heart of your structured cabling system. All of the cables to different parts of the building come together here in patch panels. It’s quite likely that the same cabinet will also house your entry point equipment and any network switches or telephone exchange equipment. 3: The equipment room -This is where your servers and other IT equipment reside. It will often house your comms cabinet too, although depending on the installation, you may have multiple comms cabinets in different parts of the building. This will usually be a secure location with access restricted to technical staff. 4: The backbone - If the comms cabinet is the heart of your system then the backbone is the main arteries. These are the cables that run between comms cabinets or from equipment rooms to comms cabinets. It’s increasingly common for these to be fibre optic connections.

5: Office cable - Okay, stretching the medical analogy a little further, these are the individual veins, carrying the cabling to different parts of the building where it terminates in wall sockets. These will run in trunking around walls or under floors, or in conduits above suspended ceilings. Each port is numbered and linked back to a corresponding port on the patch panel. 6: Patch cabling - Finally we come to patch cabling - we're running out of circulatory comparisons, capillaries, maybe? These are the cables that connect between your desktop PC or phone and the wall ports.

Why have structured cabling? There are some compelling reasons for adopting a structured system, the following being just some examples: ●It’s neat, tidy and easier to administer. ●There’s no need for multiple different types of cable and things are simple when you need to rearrange the office.

●This gives you a good return on investment because you won’t be constantly having to make changes and run new cables.

●It also means greater reliability because you’ll spend less time tracing faults.

●In addition, if a particular cable does develop an issue, it’s easier to re-route the link elsewhere.

●Continued over October 2019 electrical wholesaler | 27

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