What is a structured cabling system?

A structured cabling system refers to a complete system of cabling, together with its associated items of connectivity hardware, that is uniquely designed and installed to carry the services of business's IT infrastructure around any given premises. This is as opposed to point to point cabling, which only connects specific devices to each other. A structured cabling system is totally independent of any other devices such as servers, or PCs, or printers etc, yet it serves to provide such devices with the signals and data they need to operate.

Small Investment – Great return of service

In terms of investment, a structured cabling system typically represents around 2% of the overall cost of the average business’s IT infrastructure, and yet in terms of longevity is expected to last much longer. Dependent on the materials used and the installer’s code of practice, a 25 year warranty is not unusual.

Facilitating Scalability

A structured cabling system is designed to provide flexibility in terms of current user convenience, by enabling connectivity to the network at various points throughout the premises. But it is also built with the future in mind, by incorporating a modular construction that facilitates any further expansion than is already built into the system, should it be needed.

Typical Cable Types

Depending on the nature of the data that any given business works with, the amount of that data, and the distances, across which it is to be carried, installations can be completed using Cat5e/6/6a/7 or optical fibre cabling.

Industry standards and best practice would suggest that the grade of cable used should be LSOH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen). From a health and safety point of view, any risk assessment should dictate that this is used in any event.

Outsourcing Structured Cabling Design and Installation

Unless an enterprise employs its own specialist team of computer engineers, gone are the days of businesses installing their own point to point cabling. The vast majority of companies will outsource their cabling installation to a specialist service provider. In this case, cable specifications will be recommended by the chosen vendor, who will take into account considerations such as of the characteristics of the data, and matters of health and safety, as well as the installation site.

Using a structured cabling installation service provider that works to the JSP 480 standard as far as the quality of the installation itself is concerned, can prove of real benefit. This is the standard that the Ministry of Defence lays down for this type of work. Choosing a service provider who works to this standard as a matter of course guarantees a top-quality installation that will stand the test of time.

Pretested Cable Looms

One of the services that a good service provider should be able to offer is the pretesting of cable looms (preformed cable assemblies) before they are installed. This facility can be extended to the employees of the business who are having the cabling installed, which enables them to be satisfied that the design and format of the looms are fit for purpose, and compliment all of the equipment within the IT infrastructure.

The testing of an entire structured cabling system is very important for two reasons.

·         Cabling that meets ISO-11801, EN-50173, and TIA/EIA 568 standards means that it is fit for purpose

·         Pretesting may also facilitate the granting of a 25 year guarantee. 

Containment of a Structured Cabling System

The proper containment of a structured cabling system offers 2 benefits. It serves to protect the integrity of the installation for a number of years, and it also facilitates easy access for any necessary future modifications. There are many varieties of trunking available to facilitate this containment, either using some form of plastic, or metal trunking. Your chosen service provider can instruct you in terms of which one is best used for any particular unique installation.

Another important aspect of containing the cabling is to ensure that the correct bend radii are incorporated when going into and around corners. Incorrect forming can lead to data transmission problems and can in time lead to the integrity of the cabling itself being compromised.

Choose your Cabling Installation Service Provider with Care

The functionality and integrity of a structured cabling system is paramount. A fault anywhere either through poor design, inferior materials, or poor installation practices can create total or partial system blackouts. This can in turn lead to downtime which may result in loss of business, harm a business’s reputation and be costly to repair.

Need help with structured cabling? Quadratek has years of experience of working with clients including MOD, government and SMEs. Whatever your cabling needs, we can help from design to installation and support. Contact us today using the online form or give us a bell on +44 (0)8450 740 530.