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. Building a structured cabling system is instrumental to the high performance of different cable deployments. Typically, a structured cabling system contains the cabling and connectivity products that integrates the voice, data, video, and various management systems (e.g. security alarms, security access, energy system, etc.) of a building.
The structured cabling system is based on two standards:
1. ANSI/TIA-568-C.0 of generic telecommunications cabling for customer premises, and
2. ANSI/TIA-568-C.1 of commercial building telecommunications cabling for business infrastructures.
These standards define how to design, build, and manage a cabling system that is structured. Six key components are included to form a structured cabling system which are:
1. Entrance Facilities
2. Equipment Room
3. Backbone Cabling
4. Telecommunication Room & Enclosure
5. Horizontal Cabling
6. Work Area
- Moves, adds and changes are much easier due to the fact that they are done in the MDA versus running long patch cords from equipment racks.
- Potential for downtime is reduced as the potential for human error is drastically reduced due to this organization.
- Time savings; cable and port tracing becomes a much easier job with a structured cabling system. This logical, organized approach not only makes changes easier, but it saves you time.
- Aesthetics; Never underestimate the looks! A structured cabling system will look much cleaner than a point-to-point method. Since the changes are done in the MDA versus at the hardware, the hardware can be cabled up and not touched in most instances. This allows the cabling in front of the switch to remain aesthetically pleasing.
- Downtime: With an unorganized messy cabling infrastructure, mistakes are common like incorrect ports are unplugged or even worse is the messy cabling that gets in the way. Trying to remove a single cable from a large tangled mess can cause stress on the other cables. This stress can lead to network and channel errors in the hardware that are very difficult to trace.
- Airflow: If a point-to-point method is used, the front and potentially the sides of the switch are congested with cabling bulk. This impedes the airflow that the switch needs to operate. This also translates to underfloor cooling; cabling congestion in this space hinders the airflow of the computer room air conditioning (CRAC) unit and can cause cooling issues.