When you hear the words “structured cabling,” you might picture a thick rubber-coated cable with several smaller wires poking out at the end – and you wouldn’t be too far off! However, structured cabling is more than just the cables themselves. The term refers to a carefully-planned system of cables and hardware connecting computers in a local area to each other, as well as to a service provider. In other words, it’s a network of pathways for information.
How does it affect you?
Could you just buy some cheap cable and drag it through the building or across the property yourself? In theory, yes. However, you’ll likely encounter problems that could have been avoided with a structured cabling system. Your internet connection might be very slow, for example, or it might fail frequently. Interference could render your brand-new security system worthless. Perhaps your cabling will be good enough for today, but not sufficient as your business expands in coming years.
With structured cabling, on the other hand, you’ll know that your system will reliably handle all the data your business can generate. When your business is ready to grow, your communication infrastructure will be too; the expansion process will also be easier and less expensive.
So what does a good structured cabling system look like?
Components of a structured cabling system
Entrance facility / point of demarcation / network interface device: this is where your system connects with the outside world. The entrance facility is made up of your service provider’s cabling and equipment; the rest of the network is on your property and is your responsibility. If the world wide web is an information highway, then this is the on-ramp.
Backbone cabling: thick and heavily-shielded cables that carry all of the data moving through the network. They connect the entrance facility, server rooms, and telecommunications rooms, and sometimes multiple facilities. Think of them as being like the main streets in your town.
Server room: these days, many of us forget that a server is an actual piece of hardware full of stored information – but that’s what a server room contains. Depending on the storage capacity that’s required, this might be a small closet or a large room. Either way, it will be full of servers, connected through routers and protected by a physical firewall. Think of this as an information warehouse.
Telecommunications or equipment room: smaller than a server room, this is the connection between the backbone cabling and horizontal cabling. Think of it as an intersection between main streets and side streets.
Horizontal cabling: smaller cables connecting to work areas. These might be compared to the streets in your neighborhood.
Work area: has multiple network outlets connecting computers, printers, and other equipment to the network. Think of it like your ‘home’ on the network.
What does your company really need?
Each of these components are available with varying capabilities, and at various price points. Choosing the right options for your unique situation can be overwhelming. To ensure that your system meets your needs without breaking your budget, consider having a professional do it for you. For a quote, click here or call Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy at (877) 300-4050.