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What is Structured Cabling and Why is it important?


The purpose of structured cabling or CAT5e / CAT6 cabling is to lay down a secure foundation for your voice and data communications and enhance the performance of your LAN (Local Area Network). Structured cabling is a system of cables, wires and other hardware that connects the infrastructure of your company’s communication systems. It can include VoIP phones, CCTV video cameras, computers, wireless access points and even datacentres.

What are structured cabling products? 

In recent years CAT6 has mostly replaced CAT5e as the entry point for standard cabling installations for business usage. CAT5e supports the transmission of data at 1Gbps. However, it is limited in terms of the number of packets it can handle at one time. CAT6 allows for a higher frequency and therefore, greater throughput. As networks are transferring more and more data for multiple applications, including hosted services and large graphic files, the switch to faster LAN’s are becoming more common within office environments.

Why we need structured cabling? 

Cabling is one of the most significant parts of your office network and has the most longevity, typically lasting between 15 to 20 years. You can expect to replace your network equipment around three to four times before you need to replace your cabling, you should expect cabling to cost about 15% of your entire network cost. It is worth investing in the correct cabling solution, which will result in less downtime, less maintenance and better performance.

How to design structured cabling? 

When designing and implementing a new structured cabling network, it is fundamental to allow for future growth as increasing the size of a LAN at a later date can be a sizeable task. Our network specialists can organise the design elements of your new or re-designed solution before the installation process, which ensures that on completion, it will exactly match your business demands.

Which standard describes structured cabling?

Copper cabling is always evolving to keep up with new processor speeds, software applications and protocols. CAT5 (10/100Mbps) is now obsolete. Over the years, we have seen the change from CAT5 to CAT5e and then to CAT6. CAT5e used to be the installation of choice as it could send gigabytes over the network, however recently around 80% of new installations are now conducted with CAT6 as this allows for the maximum life span and return on investment. The manufacturing process of CAT6 means that it will enable fewer repeat transmissions and less network downtime.

Why use structured cabling? 

A business with a headcount of more than 20 employees requires a proper and efficient networking solution that connects to all their computers, printers, scanners, WiFi Access Points and VoIP Telephony. An incorrectly installed networking solution can cause havoc within an office environment. However, a correctly installed network can ensure high levels of productivity with minimum downtime. Although much business technology has gone wireless in recent years, structured cabling systems are still vital to your IT infrastructure. It is the basis for all communication within your company.

How to test structured cabling? 

When installing electrical works, some electrical contractors run the CAT5e/CAT6 data cables into position. However, not all electrical contractors can terminate and test the data cables once installed as they don’t have the necessary equipment. Our team use the latest Fluke testing equipment and will provide a full set of electronic test results in the form of a “pdf” document once we have undertaken these works. We regularly calibrate our equipment for maximum performance. Finally, our team are, in most cases, asked to provide the communication/server cabinets. These range from 6U to a 42U cabinet, or in multiples for larger sites.

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