Structure Your Cabling

When most people think of cabling, they probably think of the spaghetti under their desks, the cable that comes in from the street for their internet connections, or the jungle of cables that connect their TVs to their home theater systems. This post is not about those cables. Rather, it’s about structured cabling.

According to Wikipedia:

Structured cabling is building or campus cabling infrastructure that consists of a number of standardized smaller elements (hence structured) called subsystems. Structured cabling components include twisted pair and optical cabling, patch panels and patch cables … Structured cabling is the design and installation of a cabling system that will support multiple hardware uses and be suitable for today’s needs and those of the future. With a correctly installed system, current and future requirements can be met, and hardware that is added in the future will be supported.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve probably been informed on occasion, by some means or other, that your network is down. More often than not, it’s because of a poorly designed or a low-quality cabling system. A properly designed and installed structured cabling system provides a cabling infrastructure that delivers predictable performance as well as having the flexibility to accommodate moves, additions, and changes; to maximize system availability; to provide redundancy; and to future-proof the usability of the cabling system.

What Does It Do?

Imagine this: You got a computer for your home office, but there are no power outlets in the room. So, you have to find an extension cord (or cords) to run down to the breaker panel in the basement. Want to add a new lamp for your desk? You’d have to do the same thing with a different extension cord (or cords). That’s the way early IT networks were connected — with patch cords. That was then. This is now.

The best way to look at a structured cabling system is to consider it a mixed-media network system that controls all traffic across all media such as voice, data, video, and building-management systems. If your structured cabling system is designed, planned, and installed properly, it’ll be forward-looking and flexible enough to accommodate your present needs, as well as those that will arise as your business and technology evolve. Beyond that, a structured cabling system effectively divides your entire infrastructure into controllable blocks, then connects those blocks to produce high-performance networks.

The bottom line is your cabling needs to be structured and much as your organization does. And structured cabling will keep your network and your organization up and running.