What is Data Cabling and What is it Used For?
The Lowdown on Data Cabling
Data cabling is an integral part of any modern business. Without data cabling in place, it’s almost impossible to keep pace with competitors and satisfy your customers. Naturally, with an asset which is so valuable, it’s vital that you understand what data cabling is. And, with this knowledge in place, you should be able to get the best out of it for you and your organisation.
What is Data Cabling?
We’ve established that data cabling is a crucial commodity, but what is it? Well, if you have an IT infrastructure in place, then data cabling will be the glue that holds it all together. If your business uses networked computers, IP phones or any form of IP device, then these will be connected to various services by data cabling.
The most common types of data cabling are:
- Cat 5: Category 5 cabling is unshielded and uses twisted pair cables to transmit data with a performance of 100MHz. Capable of covering distances of up to 100m, Cat 5 cabling can carry signals at speeds which range from 10Mbps up to 100Mbps. Cat 5e cabling, a more recent specification, can reach speeds of up to 1Gbps.
- Cat 6: Another form of twisted cabling, Cat 6 cable is able to outstrip Cat 5 in terms of performance with a 250MHz standard. Cat 6 can also boast reduced interference and cross talk, so connections are generally more stable. In terms of speed, Cat 6 cabling provides speeds of up to 10Gbps over distances of 55m.
- Cat7 cabling, short for Category 7, is a high-performance Ethernet cable designed for data transmission. It offers enhanced shielding and twisted pair construction to minimize interference, making it ideal for demanding applications like data centers. Cat7 supports faster data rates, typically up to 10 Gbps, over longer distances, ensuring reliable network connectivity.
- Fibre Optic: A network cable which contains glass fibres within an insulated sleeve, fibre optic cabling is the modern solution for high performance networks. Fibre optic cables can transmit data up to 10km with ease and still maintain speeds of between 10Gbps up to 100Gbps.
How Does Structured Cabling Work?
The most basic cable setup will connect individual devices directly to a specific service. Whilst this can deliver adequate performance, it’s not overly productive. And this is where structured cabling ramps up performance. Using data cabling, a structured cabling infrastructure connects the various network servers to a central communication hub. This hub can then be used to connect to individual cabling panels in specific locations. All required services, therefore, can then be passed from the communication hub direct to end-user workstations. And all through a single cable.
Why Do You Need Structured Cabling?
Structured cabling is the most popular choice for cabling solutions as it offers the following benefits:
- Enhanced Flexibility: Thanks to the central communication hub, it’s much easier to install new devices. Rather than connecting a new device directly to a server, a technician can simply plug it into the nearest cabling panel.
- Reduced Maintenance: Thanks to the simplicity involved in structured cabling, there is a reduction in the maintenance required. Less cables mean less complexity and, combined with the central connections, solving maintenance issues becomes much quicker.
- Cost Effective: The initial investment required to install structured cabling may seem expensive, but this is only in the short term. Over time, thanks to a reduction in maintenance costs and enhanced productivity, structured cabling will gradually pay for itself.