Essential Guide to Structured Cabling

The start of computers entering our lives was rudimentary. For the most part, they were designed without any foresight. The expectation was to use the system without the need for expansion or upgrading. Computers then were small. Rarely did you see more than two coupled together. Sometimes you might have a printer. But, the grouping was utterly random. Expansion if it ever happened was unplanned.

Over time, networks grew bigger. Vendors devised a way to create a set of standards to help the computers make sense of information. Each vendor created their own standard. Because businesses and individuals kept networks in a single place, this worked just fine until office spaces grew and networks transcended multiple offices. What materialized was a need for equipment to interact with each other.

What emerged was a desire to create industry-wide guidelines established by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) /Electronics Industry Association (EIA) to make installation seamless and efficient.

Understanding 568

General use of technology requires a set of standards. The only rules requiring mandatory compliance are those set forth by the National Electric Code outlining the electrical safety. As buildings became smarter in the way of technology, the TIA merged with EIA to develop the EIA/TIA 568. The committee's goal was developing a voluntary set of rules that make the input and output of mixed vendor equipment functional. They designed an infrastructure — an outline. The purpose was to help various degrees of networks interact competently.

Six Subsystems of Structured Cabling

The standards are designed to build and manage complex infrastructure by simplifying the network. The result was a subsystem comprised of six components where connectivity integrates with voice, data, video and other applications. Each operation is unique to the end users requirements. However, the parts will roughly follow the standardized six.

Horizontal Cabling

Any cabling running between the outlet and the horizontal cross-connect is horizontal cabling. It includes:

  • Cables
  • Mechanical Terminations
  • Jumpers
  • Patch Cords

They are predominantly found in the network enclosure but can run through the ceiling or flooring depending on need. The maximum distance between devices is 90 meters.

Backbone Cabling

Where the horizontal cabling ran horizontally, the backbone cabling runs vertically. It connects networks from room to room bridging the information transmitted between the equipment rooms, provider spaces, and entrances facilities. Anywhere you might need you surveillance products. The backbone cabling will help them communicate. These cables have the ability to run floor to floor and even between buildings.

Work Area

The work area is the meeting ground between the cabling components and the end-user equipment. Sometimes the cable components include telephones, computers, cameras, and other security equipment. The work area also houses patch cables and communication outlets.

Telecommunication Closet/Room

Don't be fooled by the use of telecommunication. It doesn't just refer to phones. The term encompasses the network connectivity. The sending and receiving of data. The telecommunication closet holds the:

  • Distribution frames
  • Telecommunication Equipment
  • Cable Terminations
  • Cross-connects
The size of the cabinet depends on the infrastructure.

Equipment Room

The equipment room is not the same as the telecommunication closet. Complex components and connections are found in the equipment room. Servers, switches, and other parts that receive data are found here.

Entrance Facility

Most structures require the need for cabling to run from the outside in. The entrance facility is the culmination of these two points. In the entrance facility you will find:

  • Cables
  • Network Demarcation
  • Connecting Hardware
  • Protection Devices

Other equipment that connects the private network cabling between the inside and outside of the building are located here.

Structured Cabling from Industry Professionals

More on Herring Technology Structured Cabling !

Structure Cabling Terminology

Knowledge is influential in helping you determine what system is right for you. Structured cabling works best when it's completed by a professional with years of experience designing and implementing complex structures. However, understanding some of the basic terminologies will make it easier to find the appropriate system and to communicate effectively with your provider when an issue presents itself. 

  • Cable connector - The male and female parts of the cable wire that connects one device to another.
  • Cable plant - The connectors and wires used to bring a network together
  • Channel - The cable plant plus the patch cords connecting to the hardware.
  • EIA/TIA 568 - The primary document that contains information about structured cabling best practices.
  • Patch cord - The insulated cord with a plug on either end. Integrates with a patch panel.
  • Patch Panel - A box where cables terminate.
  • Standards - Specs articulated by the different associations about the equipment design and how they integrate.
  • Work area outlet - Where the jack on the wall is located that connects the desktop to the patch cord.

The foundation of your structured cabling is critical to success. It allows you to scale your equipment and applications seamlessly. There is less room for human error and safety concerns. Achieving success begins with a detailed strategy. A deep understanding of the infrastructure is required for successful functionality. This is where Herring Technology can help. Proper installation of the backbone and review for improvements can improve your security systems structured cabling.  

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