Infrastructure (3 of 7)
The most basic components of the network infrastructure are the network cabling that physically connects your computers, phones, printers, and other network hardware together. The most common network cabling is called Ethernet cabling and is sometimes referred to as “low voltage” or “CAT 5” cabling. The network cabling piece of your IT infrastructure consists of the physical wall jacks, cabling systems installed within the walls of your building, the cables that run between your desktop computers and the wall (patch cables), cable management organization, and patch panels where all the cables throughout your building come together in one physical location. Good network cabling infrastructure will be well-documented, neatly organized and will contain special shielding to minimize interference from power lines, appliances, wireless devices and other equipment.
One of the big limitations with CAT5 ethernet cabling is its effectiveness over longer distances. For most scenarios (10/100BaseT speeds), you need to keep the total length (including patch cables) less than 100 Meters (about 329 feet). If you’re trying to communicate at faster speeds (Gigabit / 1000BaseT), it’s best to stay under 82 feet.
Fiber Optic Cabling
Occasionally, you’ll also see fiber-optic cabling. Although it’s much more expensive, fiber-optic cabling offers much faster speeds over greater distances. Depending upon the type of fiber-optic cabling, it can transmit up 10 kilometers away. It can also transmit at roughly 10 times the speed. Typically, fiber-optic cabling is yellow, with blue connections at each end. Fiber optic cable transmits light. The light is transmitted in ON/OFF pulses and the equipment at the receiving end translates those pulses into data transmissions.
Over recent years, fiber-optic cabling has become much more affordable. It serves as the communications backbone for AT&T’s U-Verse and Verizon’s FIOS broadband services. It is best used for interconnecting I.T. equipment and devices over greater distances and at faster speeds.
While there remain many options available for connecting I.T. equipment, these two remain the most common and mainstream in business environments. Proper planning and application is imperative in maintaining healthy communications in any network infrastructure. Fortunately, our team of experts and engineers at TechWorks is very qualified to assist when it comes to selecting the right cabling types for your network infrastructure.