Image of some twisted pair copper cable and fiber optic cables connected to a switch.

Structured Cabling

What is Structured Cabling?

Structured cabling is the design and installation of a cabling system compliant to existing standards such as TIA or ISO that will support multiple hardware uses and be suitable for today and future needs.

While more commonly known as network or data cabling due to its more popular use of interconnecting computer terminals to form a network, the idea of a s systemized cabling system applied to an office or building allow its application beyond computers, namely:

  • Data, allowing information to propagate across spaces, offices, buildings, campuses and through the Internet, to the world.
  • Voice, for both analog and digital POTS and VoIP, PABX and PA systems.
  • Video, for surveillance as in CCTV, teleconferencing and projection.
  • Signal, for feeding sensor information to security or automation systems.
  • Power, for low-powered electronic equipment such as VoIP desk phones, wireless AP, surveillance cameras, door access panels and others, bypassing the need for additional cabling for power.

Media

There are two kinds of media widely used in structured cabling:

  • Twisted-pair Copper as Horizontal cabling between Work areas and its nearest Telecommunications room (TR) or Equipment room with limited use as Backbone cabling,
  • Optical Fiber as Backbone cabling between Telecommunications rooms or enclosure, Equipment room across floors, building and campuses.

As of now, Cat 5e is the bare minimum type of Twisted-pair Copper to be run as horizontal cabling, with Cat 6 and Cat 6A as the increasingly popular ones deployed to support current and future devices that require high bandwidth and throughput. Though not recognized by TIA, Cat 7 can also be deployed for 10Gbps requirements over 100 meters.

Multi mode fiber (MMF) OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 are popular for interconnecting floors and building in a single campus below 500 meters, while Single mode fiber (SMF) OS1 and OS2 used for further distances up to 20 kilometers to connect campus buildings.

Brands