Structured Cabling

Types of Cabling in a Structured Cabling Environment


 

If your business is considering a structured cabling environment, it is likely that you are already using a variety of different types of cabling. Not only is the type and quality critical, but you also need to ensure you're utilizing cabling that is appropriate for your company's needs.

This blog will discuss the most common types of cables found in a structured cabling environment.

Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables have been around for quite some time, but they have become more popular recently because of their ability to transmit data much faster than other types of cabling.

Since fiber optic cables do not use metal wires or connectors, they are well-suited for both indoor and outdoor environments. Fiber optic cable is also generally more expensive than other types of cabling, but the enhanced performance makes up for the added cost.

Advantages of Fiber Optic Cabling:

  • Faster data transmission rates
  • Greater bandwidth capacity
  • Less susceptible to interference than other types of cabling
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments

Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Cabling:

  • More expensive than other types of cabling
  • More difficult to install than other types of cabling
  • May require infrastructure hardware upgrades

Twisted Pair Cables

In most ethernet networks, twisted pair cable is employed. The insulation or outer sheath of the cable consists of four pairs of thin metal wires or conductors. Each pair is twisted into several additional twists. These twists help prevent signal interference from other devices and, more importantly, from neighboring cables.

Twisted pair cable is a great option for companies who need to run cables over long distances. While twisted pair cabling is best suited for indoor environments, it is often found in certain outdoor applications.

Examples of commonly used twisted pair cables include Cat3, Cat5, and Cat6.

Advantages of Twisted Pair Cabling:

  • Inexpensive
  • Twisted pair cable is a great option for companies who will need to run cables over long distances
  • Easy to install, work with, and maintain
  • Industry-standard used in network and computer applications for decades

Disadvantages of Twisted Pair Cabling:

  • Cable length restrictions limit the speed at which data is transmitted.
  • Higher susceptibility to interference from outside sources like power lines or fluorescent lights
  • May require more infrastructure hardware upgrades than fiber optic cabling for your structured cabling environment. More challenging to install than fiber optic cabling.
  • Not as well-suited for outdoor applications

Other Types of Cables in a Structured Cabling Environment

There are various other types of cabling in a structured cabling environment. In addition to twisted pair and fiber optic cable, companies often run coaxial cable or telephone wire.

Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable, sometimes known as "co-ax," is a cable in which an insulating layer surrounds an inner conductor, then by a conductive shield. Many also include an insulating outer jacket. Electrical signals pass through the center conductor.

Coaxial cable transmits data much faster than telephone wire (see below), so it may be a good option if you have applications that require higher speeds.

Advantages of Coaxial Cable:

  • Greater bandwidth capacity than other types of cabling
  • Can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments

Disadvantages of Coaxial Cable:

  • More expensive than other types of cabling
  • Less flexible and more challenging to work with during installation compared to twisted pair or fiber optic cable
  • May require infrastructure hardware upgrades

Telephone Wire/Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) Cables

In some cases, a company may need copper telephone wire instead of coaxial cable or fiber optic cable. This is typically the case when a company only has a few devices that need to be connected to the network.

Many older alarm systems and credit card POS systems utilize copper phone wires to connect to a landline backup circuit. However, these are seldom found in a modern structured cabling environment.

Copper telephone wire transmits data at slower speeds than coaxial cable or fiber optic cable, but it is much more affordable and can be easier to work with during installation.

Advantages of Telephone Wire:

  • Much cheaper than coaxial or fiber optic cable
  • Well suited for companies that only need to connect a few devices
  • Required for a legacy telephone system or fax system

Disadvantages of Telephone Wire:

  • Data transmission rates are lower than other types of cabling, such as twisted pair and fiber optic cables
  • May require infrastructure hardware upgrades or unique interfaces
  • Not well-suited for outdoor applications due to corrosion potential
  • Subject to theft

Are you considering a structured cabling solution for your business?

The type of cabling used in a structured cabling environment depends on your business's needs and size.

Small offices with a few employees who only need to use the internet and send emails are unlikely to need a structured cabling solution unless they are poised for rapid growth and expansion.

A large business with hundreds of employees can significantly benefit from a structured cabling environment's flexibility, speed, and efficiency.

No matter what your needs are, there are specific types of cabling that will work best for you. If you're not sure which type of cabling would be best for your business or if you'd like to discuss the advantages of a structured cabling solution, talking to one of our Network Cabling Experts can help you make the right decision.

Let's Discuss

 

Give us a call today at 763.475.5500 or email us at ContactUs@Matrix-NDI.com to learn more about how affordable and easy securing your business data can be. We've got a full suite of solutions that will keep your business secure from the inside out!

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