Structured cabling design and installation is governed by a set of ANSI and TIA standards that specify wiring for data centers, offices, and multi-family housing structures for data or voice communications using various classifications of cable, most commonly category 5e (CAT-5e), category 6 (CAT-6) and fiber optic. These standards define how to lay cabling in a variety of topologies to ensure the needs of the customer are met, typically using a centrally located, rack-mounted patch panel, switch and cable management hardware. Depending on which low-voltage, telecom contractor you hire, standards for what constitutes a quality structured cable installation differ. At True Telecom and Surveillance, we pride ourselves on giving our customers the most well organized, clearly labeled and visually appealing structured cabling installations possible.
What type of cable is right for your business, home or organization? The answer to this question depends on the bandwidth needs of your organization, planned growth, and budgetary constraints. Generally speaking, CAT-5e cable is old technology and will eventually be replaced by CAT-6 cable. CAT-5e cable is moderately less expensive than CAT-6, however the performance and capability of CAT-6 cable is significantly better. Fiber optic provides even greater capability, however the material cost and difficulty of installation make fiber optic an ideal solution for larger organizations with significant bandwidth requirements. Fiber optic cable is often times used for making connections between switches, connecting data closets or for cable runs of 300 feet or more that exceed Ethernet capabilities. What bandwidth requirements will your organization face in the future?
Bandwidth and the rate of data transfer are related to each other in the same way as a freeway is related to traffic. Increasing the data transfer rate is similar to increasing the lanes of traffic on a freeway. Data transfer requirements tend to increase by 100% every 18 months. Today, applications operating at a transfer rate of 1 Gb/sec are hitting the maximum capability of CAT-5e cable. Applications which require streaming of video and other multimedia, demand high transfer rates that can only be fulfilled by CAT-6 cable or better. Studies indicate 80-90% of new networks will be equipped with CAT-6 cables.