Employees and managers in the corporate world generally pay little attention to what goes on behind the scenes at work.
Their focus is—and should be—on their work. There just isn’t time to look into what powers all the equipment in a busy office. But when the phone stops ringing, and the computer goes dark, people get interested real quick.
That mysterious power behind all your employees’ equipment? Structured cabling. You may not need to understand exactly how it works, but it’s necessary to know why it’s so important.
What is structured cabling?
Structured cabling is the design and installation of a cabling system. Voice and data cabling, ethernet cabling, wiring, network . . . these are all terms used for structured cabling. These cables connect your computer, phone, wireless access points, cameras, copiers, etc. to your data and phone network.
Structured cabling is the digital “plumbing” of your office. It keeps things organized and functioning properly. Each cable fits into the system like a puzzle piece, with each cable colored correctly to tell its function.
Without structured cabling your IT room can become a mess of jumbled cable spaghetti
You’ll never be able to sort out just what cable leads to where and does what. Should a problem arise, it’ll take a good deal of time to figure out what’s wrong and where.
Besides providing much-needed organization, quick changes, and fixes, a structured cabling system just looks cleaner; aesthetics matter.
Structured cabling is a type of open network structure that can be used by various systems in a workplace. Structured cabling can be divided into 6 parts (called subsystems):
What are the 6 subsystems of a structured cabling system?
1. Building Entrance
Building entrance facilities are the point at which outside telecommunications cabling connects with the backbone cabling inside a building (Also known as the demarcation). This consists of the cables, network points, connecting hardware, protection devices and other equipment that connect to the access power provider or private network cabling.
2. Telecommunications Closet
A telecommunications closet is a room or cabinet within a building that houses the terminations of the horizontal and backbone cables to the connecting hardware, including any jumpers or patch cords. Data/Network equipment in these closets are in the edge network.
3. Equipment Room
The equipment room is a central area that contains the equipment required for the structured cabling. This equipment is typically more complex in nature than what is housed in the telecommunications closet and usually encompasses the main corr-connect, intermediate corr-connects, or horizontal cross-connects. Data/Network equipment in these rooms are in the core/central network.
4. Backbone Cabling
Backbone cabling (also called vertical or riser cabling) creates the connection between equipment rooms, telecommunications rooms, and building entrance facilities. The cabling includes backbone cables (usually optical fiber cables), main cross-connects, intermediate cross-connects, and mechanical terminations. The cable can run between floors (called risers) or between buildings (called interbuilding).
5. Work Area
Work area components extend from the telecommunications outlet end of the horizontal cabling system to the work area equipment. The cable components often include station equipment (computers, data terminals, phones, etc.), patch cables (modular cords, PC adapter cables, fiber patch cables, etc.), and communication outlets. Work area wiring is deliberately simple to interconnect so that any upgrades, moves, or additions can be managed easily.
6. Horizontal Cabling
The horizontal cabling system extends from the work area telecommunications outlet to the telecommunications closet and consists of horizontal cabling, cable terminations, and cross-connects. This wiring system is run horizontally above the ceiling or within the floors.
Now let’s go on to talk about structured cabling that has been developed to meet the needs of today’s modern work environments.
What is zone cabling?
According to Valerie Maguire, global sales engineer at The Siemon Company, in an article for Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine, “A zone cabling design consists of horizontal cables run from the floor distributor in the telecommunications room to an intermediate connection point that is typically housed in a zone enclosure located in the ceiling space, on the wall, or below an access floor.”
Zone cabling creates a ‘mini’ telecommunications closet near the user. It replaces the need for a multitude of individual cables with an orderly system of connection points and shorter cable runs to devices in each zone.
This is a terrific solution for modular-furniture designs. When the office needs to be moved, the furniture can easily be unplugged and moved, but the wiring from the connection point remains for future use. The modular furniture can then be taken to another area where it’s again connected to a local connection point.
With the use of a zone cabling structure, the cabling connections within each zone can offer between 30 to 40 connections which can be used to add applications.
Structured cabling applications
New applications for structured cabling are beginning to crop up because of the current trend toward “intelligent buildings.”
The Intelligent Buildings Institute (IBI) in Washington DC defines an intelligent building as having the following 4 groups of building elements:
- Building structure: the physical structure itself
- Building management: the guidance of people and facility processes
- Building services: support services for building occupants
- Building systems: building-oriented control systems
The building services element includes voice and data systems, which makes it already the major province of structured cabling systems.
However, the buildings systems element (or Building Management System – BMS) is another story and has virtually been untouched by structured cabling vendors. This building element has some real promise for future business in the structured cabling industry. Here are some system types that could be supported by structured cabling systems in the near future:
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
- Lighting control
- Electric power control
- Domestic hot water and plumbing
- Access control
- Life safety
Structured cabling challenges
Each building that needs to be wired can pose its own set of new challenges. The most common cabling installation challenges are as follows:
- Unique architecture
- The need to conceal cabling for aesthetics
- Installing systems during construction
- Impact of new building alterations on previously-installed systems
Then we have the cable installation methods themselves. Labor-intensive methods like concrete trenching and floor decking produce dust, mess, noise and vibrations. Ceiling cable installation involves climbing up and down ladders and running cable through ceilings and walls and down poles.
Nearly all these cabling installation challenges are solved with the use of the revolutionary Gridd Low Profile Raised Access Floor Cable Management System.
This raised access floor can be installed quickly over the existing subfloor. It follows the contours of any workspace and isn’t attached to the building in any way. Wires and cables are tucked neatly and safely under the floor and can be routed up into furniture, fixtures, and work areas without being seen.
Contact Us Today
FreeAxez offers a 21st-century solution to cable installation and management with our Gridd Low Profile Raised Access Floor Cable Management System.
Contact us today to find out about our unique Gridd system that can supply you with a quick, easy, and quality solution to your cable management needs.