A structured cabling system is a type of open network structure utilized by data, telephony, access control, building automation, and other systems. Its advantages are operational flexibility and economy. A structured cabling system is typically divided into these six subsystems: 1) Entrance Facilities, 2) Equipment Room, 3) Backbone Cabling, 4) Telecommunications Room, 5) Horizontal Cabling, and 6) Work Area.
Structured cabling is the design and installation of a cabling system that can provide support to several hardware use systems, and be suitable for both the needs of the present and the future.
Governed by international standards regarding the wiring of data centers, offices, and apartment buildings for data or voice communications, structured cabling design and installation utilizes several types of cable. These are typically CAT5e and CAT6, along with fiber optic cabling and modular connectors.
Defining methods and specifications for the laying of cabling in various topologies for meeting customer needs, standards typically require the use of a rack-mounted central patch panel from which modular connections can be used as required. Every outlet is then patched into a network switch for network usage or into a PBX (private branch exchange) or IP telephone system patch panel.
The use of color code patch panel cables is common for identifying the type of connection. However, it is not required by structured cabling standards with the exception of the demarcation wall field.
Cabling standards require that all eight conductors of CAT5e, CAT6, and CAT6A cable are connected to discourage "doubling-up" or the use of one cable for both data and voice. However, IP telephone systems are capable of running both telephone and the computer on the same wire.
When copper cabling, CAT5e, CAT6, or CAT6A is used, the maximum distance is 90 meters (98 yards) for the permanent link installation, along with an allowance of 10 meters (11 yards) for patch cords at the combined ends. Both CAT5e and CAT6 are capable of running Power over Ethernet (PoE) applications up to 90 meters. Due to power dissipation, CAT6A performs better and more efficiently.
Part 2 will summarize each of structured cabling's six subsystems.
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