Data Computer Cabling in Chicago IL
Written by Stu Kushner

Backbone and Horizontal Cabling for Facilities Explained – Part 1

Cable installations for IT systems and networks can be complex. The two main cabling methods utilized for structured cabling are backbone and horizontal cabling. Even though they are different, backbone and horizontal cabling complement each other. Both can be required for various cabling specifications and environments


Backbone Cabling Overview


Backbone cabling is designed to provide the interconnections between the following three areas:


  • Entrance facilities
  • Equipment rooms
  • Telecommunication rooms


The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) provides the following definition of backbone cabling as set forth by the ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A standard:


“The function of the backbone cabling is to provide interconnections between telecommunications closets, equipment rooms, and entrance facilities in the telecommunications cabling system structure. Backbone cabling consists of the backbone cables, intermediate and main cross-connects, mechanical terminations, and patch cords or jumpers used for backbone-to-backbone cross-connection. Backbone cabling also includes cabling between buildings.”


Backbone cabling and wiring are differentiated by two types, intra-building and inter-building cabling. Intra-building is an installation between IT rooms inside one building. Inter-building is an installation between buildings.


Primary Backbone Components


The four primary components of backbone cabling are the following:


  • Cable pathways providing routing spaces for cabling, including conduits, floor penetrations, raceways, and shifts.
  • Connecting hardware, including connecting blocks, cross-connections, interconnections, and patch panels.
  • Backbone wiring, including coaxial, optical fiber, twisted-pair copper, or a combination of these types of cables.
  • Support facilities as needed, including cable support hardware, as well as firestopping and grounding hardware.


Fiber Optic Cabling


The emergence of Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet has made fiber optic cable the proper choice for backbone cabling. This is because they are capable of providing much greater bandwidth than traditional Cat5e, Cat6a, and Cat7 copper cables. One other benefit of fiber optic is its capability of running much farther distances than copper cables, making them quite useful for backbone cabling.


Part 2 will discuss Horizontal Cabling Overview, Cables Used for Horizontal Cabling, and Differences Between Backbone and Horizontal.


Progressive Office Cabling


Founded in 1986, Progressive Office’s success has been a direct result of years of commitment to seeking cost-effective solutions. Working together, Progressive teams are committed to getting your data cabling, access control, and telecom systems installed and operating while minimizing disruption and downtime. Call our toll free number (800) 614-4560 today.

About Stu Kushner

Stu Kushner earned an Engineering Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. From there he worked at Boeing Commercial Aircraft, Hexcel Corporation and Case-Rixon as a computer design engineer and systems manager. He now works as the marketing director and project manager here at Progressive Office since its founding in 1986.