What Is Structured Cabling and Why Does Your Company Need It?

Ensuring quality telephone service and data connection is vital in any business. This helps to improve communications and system availability to keep your business running seamlessly.

You can achieve this by using structured cabling to connect your telecommunication infrastructure.

But what exactly is a structured cabling system?

It may seem a buzzword, but it’s something that benefits many organizations. For that reason, this post is here to provide a clear view of structured systems and their importance to your company.

Keep on reading for more.

What’s Structured Cabling?

In plain language, structured cabling is a campus cabling infrastructure that contains several standardized smaller elements known as subsystems. This system provides a comprehensive telecommunications infrastructure for data connections and phone systems.

The goal of this cabling system is to ensure predictable performance and flexible moves, adds, and changes (MACs). It also helps to future-proof the usability of the entire system.

This system is different from the traditional point-to-point connections, which involves running cables directly from and to the hardware that needs connectivity. In a structured infrastructure, several patch panels and trunks are used to create the structure.

This structure allows you to connect hardware ports to a patch panel at the top of your rack. The patch panel then connects to another patch panel via trunk in the main distribution area (MDA).

In this cabling structure, the MDA is the key component. It allows you to make all the moves, adds, and changes using short length patch cords.

How to Plan Your Infrastructure Cabling System

Today, all cable designs and installations need to adhere to the high-performance cabling standards. You can find these standards in the Category 5 specifications of the Telecommunications Industry Association/Electronic Industries Association-568-A standard.

So, before installing your system, it’s essential to plan your design to ensure consistent and quality services for your organization and users. Crucial issues you should consider are:

  • Performance requirements and telecommunication industry standards
  • Design and installation specifications for your individual infrastructure
  • System tests for performance assessments

Design the Plant

It’s easier to plan when you start with the subsystems of your infrastructure. Define several subsystems for your cabling system. Ensure each of your subsystems has a few basic design rules and installation specifications.

This will allow you to maintain optimal performance and attain long-lasting serviceability. You’ll need to consider all the elements of a structured cabling system, such as:

  • Entrance facilities – Components for connecting outside service facilities to the premises cabling
  • Work area outlets – These are modular line cords and telecommunications outlets
  • Telecommunications closets – Small rooms that enclose your network systems and devices
  • Cross-connect facilities – These are the facilities in your data center and are usually connected using cables, jumpers, and cords
  • Vertical and horizontal backbone pathways – These are facilities for supporting, holding, and protecting backbone cables
  • Vertical and horizontal backbone cables – Cables are used to ensure connections between entrance facilities, telecoms rooms or equipment rooms
  • Horizontal cables – These cables provide a connection between the horizontal cross-connect and the work-area telecommunications outlet
  • Equipment rooms – This is the space or room within your building where you store your telecoms systems and devices
  • Multi-user telecommunications outlet assemblies (MUTOA)– This is a group of telecommunications outlets arranged together in a single box and connects to the work area
  • Transition points – Points where one type of cable connects to another type
  • Consolidation points – This is a distribution enclosure that allows a connection between permanent and movable horizontal cables

These are the key aspects of your cable structure you should consider during your design. Be sure to work with a professional telecommunications service, such as this company, to ensure adherence to the industry cabling standards.

Test Your System

Once you have designed and installed your system, it’s important to test it. This includes verifying that are cables are installed correctly.

You can use a simple wire mapping evaluation to test your installation. Also, advanced tests for noise, signal attenuation, and near-end crosstalk may be necessary. Troubleshooting your systems using time-domain reflectometer measurement tests is also helpful.

When testing your near-end crosstalk, be sure to measure both ends of a cable. This is because opposite ends of a cable usually have different measurements. If your measurements differ, then you should use the worst-case values during your analysis.

Importance of Structured Cabling

The structured wiring system offers a unified system for your data, voice, and video. This reduces the jungle of wiring associated with traditional point-to-point connections. Here are some of the benefits of a structured system:

1. Supports Future Upgrades

This system offers high bandwidth, which helps to support business growth. It is scalable and adaptable, and this will allow your company to adapt quickly to future changes. Your network won’t become outdated, and it will support new applications.

2. Cost-Effective

One aspect is that it reduces your amount of cabling. This means more savings for you when purchasing cables. Also, since it’s future-proof, you won’t need to buy new systems to support emerging changes and applications. The reduced cabling system also means low power and maintenance costs for you.

3. Improved Flexibility

A structured system consolidates your wiring system into a single infrastructure. This structure transports data in multiple formats. As such, you won’t need different cables for each data format. This makes it flexible for you, especially when relocating the system.

4. Reduced Downtime

Due to its simplicity, your IT support team won’t spend much time trying to figure out the source of problems. It also has a low risk of mistakes and human error since it’s organized. You can troubleshoot your system in no time and focus on your business growth.

Final Thoughts

Organizations and businesses are now depending heavily on telecoms systems to run their operations. This means there is a lot of cabling and wiring to make different connections.

With a structured cabling system, you can get a flexible and secure cabling infrastructure that supports your current and future needs. Most importantly, be sure to adhere to the recommended design and installation requirements, testing procedures, and industry standards.

If you have any thoughts or ideas of structured wiring systems, be sure to share them with us in the comments.