Structured-Cabling,Data Cabling
Written by Stu Kushner

What is “Structured Cabling”?

Structured-CablingStructured cabling is a telecommunications cabling infrastructure consisting of a number of standardized smaller elements called subsystems.

Structured cabling falls into five subsystems:

  1. A Demarcation point is the connection point where the telephone company network ends and the customer’s on-premise wiring connection begins.
  2. Equipment or Telecommunications Rooms contain equipment and wiring points that serve the users inside a building.
  3. Vertical or Riser Cabling connects between the equipment/telecommunications rooms on different floors.
  4. Horizontal wiring connects telecommunications rooms to individual outlets or work areas on the same floor through conduits or ceiling spaces.
  5. Work-Area Components connect end-user equipment to outlets of the horizontal cabling system.

The most commonly used cables are Category 5e (CAT5e), Category 6 (Cat6), fiber optic cabling and modular connectors. Standards define how the cable is laid to meet the needs of the customer.  A central patch panel, (usually 19 inch, rack-mounted) is used with each outlet, then patched into a rack-mounted switch for network use or, alternatively, into an IP or PBX (Private Branch Exchange) telephone system patch panel.

Lines patched as data ports into a network switch require simple straight-through patch cables at each end connected to a computer. Adapters for voice patches to PBXs are not required in the U.S. as the commonly used plugs for telephone connections are physically and electrically compatible.  Neither are color-coded patch panel cables necessary for identifying the connection type, except in the demarcation wall field.

Cabling standards require all eight conductors in Cat5/5e and Cat6 cables to be connected, so there is no “double-up” by using one cable for both voice and data. IP phone systems, however, can run the telephone and the computer on the same wires.

About Stu Kushner

Born and raised in Silver Spring, MD. Stu Kushner began his career at Boeing Commercial Aircraft and then on to Hexcel and Case/Rixon where he specialized in CAD/CAM (computer design and robotics). In 1986, he started Progressive Office. The earliest years were about networking small businesses and providing IT support. But since 2008, the company has concentrated exclusively on providing office network cabling solutions.