Structured cabling is the foundation for efficient, reliable, and quick communications. Whether you’re creating a new office or upgrading your present network, there are plenty of benefits that you can derive from structured cabling including efficiency, scalability, and visual appeal. Read on to find out everything you need to know about structured cabling installation in offices and commercial buildings.
The Ultimate Guide To Structured Cabling Installation
The proliferation and continuous expansion of technology over the past two decades have created a demand for complex structured cabling systems to meet the prevailing data and communication needs of the modern world. Gone are the days when having simple wiring for telephone or telegraph was sufficient.
Today, construction companies are alive to the fact that the electrical needs of commercial buildings stretch beyond simple light and power outlets. For this reason, structured cabling installation has become one of the fastest-growing industries and is set to remain necessary into the foreseeable future.
What Is A Structured Cabling System?
A structured cabling system is a comprehensive telecommunications infrastructure system that includes cabling and accompanying hardware components. To put it another way, it is the organized aggregate of fiber optic or copper wiring along with supporting components and conduits that connects all the telecommunication hardware, security cameras, HVAC facilities, and entry access points in an office or commercial building.
Structured cabling systems typically vary from one building to the next depending on the kind of infrastructure involved. However, in most cases, they include low voltage cabling, trunks, patch panels, hardware ports, and a wide range of other components.
The construction of a cable infrastructure that supports a wide range of voice and data communications devices is substantially simplified thanks to structured cabling. Whether it’s wiring a skyscraper or putting a coaxial outlet in a residential house, all of the components must meet strict specifications for electrical transmission, cable lengths, resistance, and cable fabrication.
Structured cabling systems, when properly built, enable flexibility, improve uptime, and can be easily scaled to meet an anticipated rise in usage. They also deliver a fair return on investment and can help save money by reducing downtime and the decreased productivity that comes with it. Moreover, a well-designed and deployed system looks better and makes it easier to make network improvements.
How Does Structured Cabling Work?
Standard cabling infrastructure comprises standardized elements known as “subsystems”. These subsystems are usually spread out across a building, so it is important to know where they’ll be located on your premises when designing a standard cabling system for your office or other commercial space.
Here are some of the subsystems that go into a structured cabling infrastructure.
- Entrance Facility Structured Cabling
In a structured cabling system, an entrance facility denotes the point at which the telecom company’s cabling ends and your company’s begins. Entrance facility structure cabling typically includes demarcation points, cabling, connecting hardware, and other devices that connect the external provider’s cabling to yours.
The demarcation point, often known as the “demarc,” is the most significant aspect of an entry facility. This is the point at which the ISP or telecommunication company’s circuit stops and your private cabling system begins. From that point onwards, the building or business owner is responsible for any cabling on the premises.
- Telecommunications Enclosure
The telecommunications enclosure (TR), also known as the telecommunications room (TR), houses the termination points for the backbone and horizontal cabling of your structured cabling system including fiber jumpers as well as patch cables.
It is worth bearing in mind that telecommunication enclosures typically serve a much small area compared to a telecommunication room. It is also recommended to have one telecommunications room on every floor of a building.
- Consolidation Point Structured Cabling
Consolidation enclosures are often situated near workstations and have transition-point connectivity. This allows the bulk of horizontal cabling to stay intact while allowing floorplans and modular office furniture to be adjusted as needed. In other words, they make it possible for network managers to add or remove workstation components without pulling apart entire floors or ripping out dozens of tiles.
- Work Area Components
The work area in a structured cabling system refers to the physical location of an end user’s equipment. In the work area, there are workstations with various equipment such as laptops, desktop PCs, or any Wi-Fi-enabled devices that connect to a power socket. The end-equipment user is connected to the outlets in the horizontal cabling subsystem via work-area components.
What is Considered Low Voltage?
Low voltage systems are typically made up of electronic components that run on less than 50 volts (V). Most low-voltage devices typically operate on 12V, 24V, or 48V. Some of the low voltage systems in residential buildings include home security sensors, landscape lighting, garage door openers, and doorbells.
Low voltage systems are also widely used in commercial buildings for a wide range of applications including:
- Ethernet Cabling Installation
Ethernet cables are a form of low-voltage network cable that is often used in wired networks. These are network types that connect devices to the Internet or other networks using cables. They link devices on local area networks (LANs), including routers, computers, and switches. Ethernet cables are typically linked through Ethernet ports on network routers, PCs, and other devices in wired networks.
- Voice and Data Cable Installation
Voice and data cabling, as the name implies is a cabling system that facilitates the transmission of both voice and data. Phone system cabling, coax cabling, server room cabling, data network cabling, video cabling, and wireless network infrastructure cabling all fall under this category.
Voice and data cabling connects your end device, such as a computer, phone, printer, or fax, to the world of technology so that it may be used in your business. With that being said, cabling must be done correctly from the get-go to avoid any future problems.
- Security System Cabling
Low-voltage cabling is used in security systems such as surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and access control systems. Some of the wires that are commonly used for security systems include Cat 5e and Cat 6.
- Intercom Cabling
Low-voltage cabling systems are a requisite for intercom wiring. When installing an intercom system remotely, you’ll need to connect Cat 5e wires from the Network controller to your computer network.
When Should Low Voltage Be Installed?
The decision on when to install a low voltage system is a personal one that depends on what you aim to achieve. Nevertheless, a low voltage cabling system can be very beneficial and even necessary whether you’re looking to streamline the network and telecommunication of your office or simply trying to synchronize your digital devices and electronic systems with your home network.
Here are a few instances where low-voltage installation might be useful.
1. Commercial Building Construction
Most commercial buildings that are built today and designed with low voltage structured cabling infrastructure. This is not surprising at all because most people are dependent on LAN networks for a wide range of things including security, and communications. Therefore, when designing your building, you might want to factor in the structured cabling infrastructure that the occupants will need for their day-to-day tasks.
It is worth bearing in mind that low voltage wiring and structured cabling don’t run with standard voltage wiring. For this reason, you’ll need to hire an electrician to install the main wiring first, then enlist a separate wiring contractor who specializes in structured cabling to design and build the infrastructure of your low-voltage cabling system.
2. Data Center Architecture and Installation
The majority of data centers today use a combination of fiber optic and copper cabling in their network architecture. Each of these cables has its unique attributes and advantages which make it suitable for different applications. For instance, copper cables are more reliable, with an MTBF (mean time between failures) of fifty million hours which is significantly higher compared to fiber optic cables. For this reason, companies that are keen on keeping the downtime of their data centers as low as possible will tend to gravitate towards copper cables. Additionally, copper cables are more energy-efficient and offer low latency.
On the other hand, fiber optic cables offer more flexibility and can cover longer distances compared to copper cables. Furthermore, they are lightweight and do not require shielding, which makes them ideal for both inter and intra-rack applications.
3. Office Network Cabling
In the modern digital era, network cabling is a critical component of office systems, allowing computers to connect to the internet and facilitating communication amongst computers in the same building. The speed at which data is moved between devices is affected by the quality and efficacy of network connections. This essentially means that you won’t enjoy the kind of connectivity you need unless you have a solid cabling setup.
Untidy office cabling can lead to a slew of technical and safety issues for your company. It can cause overheating, poor system performance, and exorbitant repair expenses, in addition to being a safety threat. So, if you’re looking to mitigate these issues and maintain high levels of productivity in the office, you’ll need to find a structured cabling system that suits your needs and circumstances.
Install A Structured Cabling System?
In the increasingly tech-reliant world that we live in today, the benefits of having a structured cabling system can hardly be overstated. Structured cabling systems provide a lot of flexibility since they can simply and quickly adapt to new alterations, additions, and transfers. This promotes higher productivity and ensures that the company’s performance is better and of high quality, leading to increased business growth.
They also reduce the time required for installation and are more adaptable to network infrastructure modifications hence making it easier for employees to migrate to new workspaces within the office. Investing in a meticulously designed and well-installed structured cabling system is without a doubt one of the best decisions you can make since routine movements and modifications will be more faster and efficient. This increase in productivity, as well as the speedier deployment of important enterprise apps and better troubleshooting tools, will help your company thrive.
It bears mentioning that every structured cabling system is different. So, there are several factors that you need to consider when installing a low-voltage system in a commercial building. These include:
- The Layout of the Interior Space (Floor Plan)
This is important since the wires will run according to the floor plan and location of each workspace.
- The Size/Structure of the Building
You’ll need to decide how to layout the system according to the size and structure of the space you’re working in
- Your Current Needs
You have to determine how much cabling you need based on the number of workstations that will be operating
- Future Needs
When installing a structured cabling system, you need to factor in growth projections. In other words, to what extent do you see your company growing over the next several years. You also want to consider the possibility of new technologies that you may need to integrate into your network.
Contact Island IT Pros For All Your Structural Cabling Installation Needs
If you’re considering installing a structured cabling system for your business, you’ll need to enlist the services of a professional to make sure your system is properly designed and assembled. Island IT Pros is a dedicated I.T company in Fort Myers Beach, Florida that strives to provide businesses with state-of-the-art technologies and solutions for a wide range of network needs.
- Business Telephone Solutions
- Managed IT Support & Security Provider
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- Failover and Backup Business Internet Service
- Healthcare IT Company in Fort Myers
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The company prioritizes the security of its clients and prides itself on ensuring they are always connected. Thanks to their customizable services, Island IT Pros will provide you with exactly the kind of structural cabling solution you need to keep your business running seamlessly, with no downtime or network disruptions.
Island IT Pros has honed its ability to provide top-quality and affordable solutions to its clients over many years and has received accreditation from various organizations including Microsoft, Sophos, and Untangle. The company’s highly competent team of professionals also stays updated on all industry trends, standards, and government certifications. So, you can trust Island IT Pros to build effective and professional-grade systems for your business.