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  • BTI Communications Group

The Ultimate Guide to Structured Cabling

Having a solid cabling foundation is crucial to ensure the smooth functioning of your IT and communications infrastructure. The rise of low-voltage wiring and the migration from copper to low-voltage cabling have turned network cabling services into a necessity more than a luxury.

Your Wi-Fi, telecommunication systems, and IT network need structured cabling to ensure that your systems deliver optimal performance. But what exactly is structured cabling and what makes this service crucial for big and small organizations alike?

Table of contents

  1. What is Structured Cabling?

  2. Types of Structured Cabling Subsystems

  3. What is Considered Low Voltage Wiring ?

  4. When Should You Look for Network Cabling Services?

  5. What Organizations Need Network Cabling Services?

  6. What are the Biggest Benefits of Network Cabling Services?

  7. BTI: The Network Cabling Services Provider Near Me

What is Structured Cabling?

Structured cabling, also referred to as low-voltage wiring or low-voltage cabling, involves creating a standardized and organized cabling system. The goal of this system is to support multiple hardware uses and ensure that your current and future requirements are met effectively.

Your computers, telephones, security cameras, access points, Wi-Fi appliances, access control system, and more depend on a good, structured cabling installation to work effectively.

Structured cabling installation connected to a network switch.

Types of Structured Cabling Subsystems

Structured cabling systems are made up of 6 separate subsystems. Each of these subsystems serves a specific function and has its own components.

Horizontal Cabling

Horizontal cabling is the low-voltage wiring subsystem used to connect work area telecommunication outlets to telecommunication closets, including the majority of the cabling in the system. Horizontal cabling uses other components to work such as cable terminations, telecom outlets, transition points, cross connections between cable runs, and more.

Vertical Cabling

Vertical or backbone cabling is the core subsystem of cables and components that provides connection between and among telecommunication rooms, entrance facilities, and equipment rooms. Backbone cabling is also used to connect separate buildings within the same site.

In addition to actual cables and connections, vertical cabling also uses routing components like conduits, raceways, and through-floor penetration sleeves.

Entrance Facility Structured Cabling

The Entrance Facility Structured Cabling subsystem is responsible for connecting buildings to data/telecommunication service providers or private network cabling systems.

In addition to this, Entrance Facility cabling can also be used to connect backbone cabling between buildings. It serves as the point of connection between the service provider and the customer/building. The required components for this subsystem are determined by the electrical codes enforced in the location of the building.

Consolidation Point Structured Cabling

Centralized Equipment Rooms are utilized to support larger networks. These rooms are specifically designed to maintain optimal temperature for cooling and house important equipment like routers, servers, and other mechanical termination components.

They serve as the central hub for structured cabling systems. However, for smaller networks, the same purpose can also be fulfilled by the Entrance Facility or a telecommunications enclosure/room.

Telecommunications Enclosure and Work Area Components

In the world of workplace technology, work area subsystems play a crucial role in connecting the equipment on an end user's workstation to the telecommunications connector.

This connector is the final destination of the horizontal cabling subsystem.

The components that make up the work area subsystem include the outlet, patch cables, PC adapters, fiber cables, and other types of cables. It's worth noting that the workstation equipment itself is also considered a part of this subsystem.

What is Considered Low Voltage Wiring?

Low voltage cabling refers to wiring that is distinct from typical electrical cabling used for higher voltage equipment. Low-voltage wiring is typically used to power equipment that uses up to 50 volts of electricity or less.

In addition, low-voltage wiring is used to create a communication pathway between different technology systems that are connected to each other. Some of the cabling options available to interconnect systems with each other include:

Low voltage cabling connected to a circuit board

Ethernet Cable Installation

Ethernet cables are used to seamlessly connect devices such as computers and routers in a local network. When it comes to transmitting data, different types of copper-based Ethernet cables are used. The specific cable used depends on the desired data transmission speed and the distance between the connected devices.

Toy Engineers working on an ethernet cable art.

Category 5

The most common type of Ethernet cable is Cat5, which can support data transmission speeds of 10 to 100 Mbps. However, this speed is limited to a distance of around 300 feet before experiencing a signal loss. For faster data transmission speeds of up to 1000 Mbps, Cat5e (enhanced) cables are used. These cables can maintain their signal strength over longer distances.

Category 6

If even faster data transmission is required, Cat6 structured cabling is the way to go. This type of cable can support speeds of up to 10Gbps and can be used for distances of up to 700 feet before experiencing signal loss.

Fiber Optic Installation

For the fastest speeds and longer distances, fiber optic installations are the best choice. Unlike Ethernet cables that use copper, fiber cables are made of glass strands. These cables transmit digital information using light instead of electrical currents, allowing for even greater speeds and distances.

Blue fiber optic next to ethernet cables. Blue fiber optic next to ethernet cables. 

Low Voltage Wiring for Voice and Data Transfer

When it comes to setting up phone systems and internet connections, both voice and data cables rely on the same categories of Ethernet and fiber optic cabling. The choice between copper and glass depends on your specific needs and budget.

As your network cabling services provider, we are responsible for installing your phone and data cabling throughout your workplace to ensure every cubicle and office is connected.

Low Voltage Wiring for Security Systems

Security systems are also connected by low-voltage wiring. Network cabling service providers often use Cat5 or Cat6 cabling to power and connect your cameras to a network or video recorder.

Low Voltage Cabling for Intercoms

An intercom, short for intercommunication device, is a standalone system that allows for voice and video communication within buildings.

With an intercom, you can speak into a device or microphone and be heard and potentially seen by others in different rooms or areas. It can be used as part of a security system or to broadcast information over a wide area.

Wired intercom systems utilize Cat5, Cat5E, or Cat6 structured cabling, depending on the specific requirements.

When Should You Look for Network Cabling Services?

Low-voltage structured cabling is a unique aspect of the electrical industry. While some electrical contractors have their own low-voltage team, it is common to hire a specialized installation company. This is because the ever-evolving technology in this field requires a level of expertise that many non-specialized organizations struggle to keep up with.

In terms of timing, low-voltage structured cabling installation typically takes place concurrently with or shortly after rough and finished electrical work. This usually occurs after other trades have finished their respective tasks.

What Organizations Need Network Cabling Services?

Nowadays every organization needs network cabling services to ensure that their network and other devices perform to the highest standards. It does not matter if you own a call center, a construction site, or a medical facility, hiring a professional structured cabling installation service will allow your organization to have a solid infrastructure.

Inside of a modern emergency room.

What Are the Biggest Benefits of Professional Structured Cabling Services?

Reduced Downtime

Having an unorganized cabling system makes it difficult to identify and fix errors, and it can cause a lot of confusion and mistakes during the initial setup process. When something goes wrong and your telephone lines go down, it's even more time-consuming to troubleshoot and fix the issue if your staff has to sift through a tangled mess of networking cables.

That's why it's so important to have a well-organized structured cabling system. It not only makes repairs faster and easier, but it also improves the overall effectiveness and reliability of your infrastructure.

A Future-Proof Environment

Opting for a structured cabling design means your cabling system will be adaptable to any changes in your business. For any organization, keeping existing clients and attracting new ones is a top priority. By investing in a structured cabling system for data and voice, you can ensure seamless and on-going communication with all your customers.

With the potential to attract new clients and customers, a low voltage cabling system is truly an investment in the future of your business.

Increased Management Capabilities

With a structured cabling system, managing and maintaining your cables becomes a breeze. No more hours spent untangling wires or searching for the right connection. Everything is neatly organized, making troubleshooting and upgrades a snap.

Not only is a low voltage wiring system easy to use, but it's also a smart investment for your company. By making an initial one-time investment, you'll reap the benefits for years to come.

Support Multiple Sites and Applications

Structured cabling, when integrated with other systems and applications, creates an optimal business environment. With many companies operating across multiple locations, arranging business meetings can be a challenging task.

Fortunately, the solution lies in implementing a low voltage wiring system within your organization. This will effectively streamline communication and simplify the complexities that arise from having various business locations.

BTI: The Network Cabling Services Provider Near Me

Here at BTI, we have more than 35 years of experience conducting state-of-the-art structured cabling installation services for small businesses and enterprise-level organizations. If you are looking for a professional network cabling services provider that sees your business as its own, you are in the right place!

Ready to take the first step towards unmatched efficiency? Contact us today and schedule a free business assessment!

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