Structured cabling

Understanding structured cabling, its standards and types.

What is structured cabling?

Structured cabling is designed to provide a versatile voice/data network capable of growing with your organisation.

The building is cabled in such a way that every voice or data service can be accessed from every outlet in the system, and many more outlets are provided than are used at any one time.

When a person needs to move from one place to another, they simply unplug from their current outlet and plug into the outlet at the new position. The network administrator patches them into the network at that position.

If the network needs to expand, this is a simple process of laying new cable in the new offices and adding extra patch panels. In this way, structured cabling is a versatile, future-proof technology.

When a network of a certain category is specified, testing will ensure that the installed network is of the required standard. To ensure your network is future-proof, you should ensure that a minimum CAT 5e installation is specified.

All ICG's services are guaranteed to meet or exceed their stated industry standards.

UTP cabling

A number of different types of cable can be used in structured cabling installations — UTP, ScTP and fibre optic.

The most commonly used cable is UTP or "unshielded twisted pair". The wires in the cable are twisted together in order to cancel out their electromagnetic interference.

Most networks are cabled using this type of cable unless noise is likely to be a problem. This includes noise from the outside environment (such as factory floors) and the cable's own interference with EMI sensitive equipment (such as hospitals and laboratories).

UTP cable is a versatile cable supporting most systems and network protocols and is cost-effective for the majority of installations.

Unless noise is likely to cause problems for your installation, CAT 5e UTP cable is the recommended type. ICG's engineers will help you to determine the best type during the site survey.

Fibre optic cabling

Fibre optic cable is used primarily for high-speed, high-bandwidth applications.

There are two types of fibre optic cable — singlemode and multimode. Telephone companies have used singlemode for long distance trunk lines for many years. Multimode is suited for in-house communications.

Multimode fibre optic cable is compact, easy to install and capable of handling enormous bandwidth at very high speed.

ICG recommends using multimode fibre optic cable for larger installations where bandwidth becomes an issue, using this kind of cable between hubs or floor distributors and UTP cabling from the hubs or distributors to the individual workstations.

ICG is able to provide a universal patch panel which enables a variety of different cabling types (including fibre optic and coaxial) to be combined in the same network.

For further information, please call ICG on 0870 871 2602 or email