North Georgia Cabling, Progressive Office Cabling
Written by Stu Kushner

Backbone vs. Horizontal Cabling

Networking will typically require complex cabling. Structured cabling systems contain two chief types of cabling: backbone and horizontal. Both types are needed for the development of a network that is functional for all types of organizations. The following will discuss the differences between backbone and horizontal cabling.

Backbone Cabling

Occasionally termed vertical cabling, backbone cables provide the interconnections between buildings, entrance facilities, equipment rooms, and telecommunication rooms.  The cables form the “skeleton” of a network, running from floor to floor to deliver connectivity. Although backbone cabling can be built with various types of cables, such as coaxial, fiber optic is the best choice technically because of its superior bandwidth to  Cat5e, Cat6a, Cat7, or Cat8 cables.


Backbone cabling’s essential components are as follows:


  • Cable pathways providing routing spaces for cables. This includes conduits, raceways, and shafts. Floor penetrations like slots and sleeves can also be utilized.
  • Connecting hardware includes connecting blocks, cross-connections, interconnections, and patch panels.
  • Backbone wiring, which can be coaxial, copper, optical fiber, twisted-pair copper, or combined usage of these various types of cables.
  • Required support facilities as necessary, including cable support hardware or firestopping and grounding hardware.


Horizontal Cabling

In contrast to backbone cabling, horizontal cabling is installed to run from a telecommunications equipment outlet to a telecommunications room or enclosure. This configuration can be utilized for connecting various devices and workstations to information outlets, which run to a telecommunications room.


As determined by your requirements, gigabit Ethernet cables might be adequate, but fiber optic cables may be preferable because of their higher performance. The use of fiber optic cables for your backbone while using Ethernet cables for horizonal cabling is like building a high-speed freeway with on-ramps that only support narrow dirt highways.


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.