A strong IT infrastructure is the backbone of your business. The ability to manage and store all the critical business data associated with your business is the key to your success.
Unfortunately, too many businesses wait to invest in these resources until it’s too late.
It’s as though some businesses are waiting for their infrastructure to break down before protecting themselves and future-proofing their business.
Structured data cabling is one of the investments all businesses connected to the internet should make.
Here’s our guide to structured data cabling: what it is, why you need it, and how it will protect your business.
Structured Data Cabling: What Is It?
Just what is structured data cabling?
The Fiber Optic Association says, “Structured Cabling is the standardized architecture and components for communications cabling specified by the EIA/TIA TR42 committee and used as a voluntary standard by manufacturers to ensure interoperability.”
What? If that one went over your head, you’re not alone.
Here’s a simple explanation.
Structured cabling is a cabling infrastructure found in a building or another campus.
Even though it’s a comprehensive structure, it’s not a mess of wires.
Instead, everything is broken down into smaller areas or elements.
It’s the segmenting that provides its structure.
This is considered to be the standard by the EIA/TIA or the Electronics Industry Alliance/Telecommunications Industry Association.
Structured Data Cabling vs. Traditional Systems
To better understand just what structured data cabling is, it’s useful to compare it to traditional cabling systems.
The traditional cabling system is a direct connection or point-to-point.
Basically, cables run from servers to storage, switches to servers, server to server, or any other combination of endpoints that need to be connected.
And this makes sense. If cabling is providing communication between two endpoints, why not connect them directly?
The problem is that these systems don’t support change or growth very well because of poor planning and the general infrastructure.
In old systems, the original “from” and “to” points are hard to find. When those points are difficult to identify, it’s hard to tell which abandoned cables should be removed.
This becomes particularly problematic when the system also suffers from poor planning. When new channels were added in a manner that is less-than-strategic, it is even hard to discern pathways.
What you end up with is a system that is far from organized.
It looks more like a system of over-cooked spaghetti. There are cables everywhere and you’re not sure where they’re supposed to go. Removing them results in further tangles or tears.
What Structured Cabling Looks Like
If you think point-to-point cabling sounds like a mess that will cost you time, money, and frustration, you’re right.
Structured cabling, on the other hand, is a far more organized approach.
In structured cabling, the wires don’t run from point to point.
Here, you have patch panels and trunks.
These are used to develop a structure that includes all the hardware in individual compartments.
Rather than connecting to individual points, there is a single port at the top of the structure.
Patch panels are connected through trunks in the main distribution area or MDA.
The MDA is the most influential component of the structure. You make all the moves, adds, and changes (MACs) here using short length patch cords.
So, what you might create is:
- Rack 1
- MDA (which is connected to Rack 1 with one cable either overhead or under the floor)
- Rack 2 (which connects to the MDA via its own cable)
Whatever way you look at it, the structured data cabling can’t turn into spaghetti unless a toddler has installed your IT system.
But if a toddler is your cabling provider, you’ve got bigger issues, like jam hands and well, the fact that a toddler is your cabling provider.
Even in this brief description, you can tell that pathways in structured systems are clear and easy to define. Basically, you know what cable connects two points.
What Does Structured Data Cabling Provide?
Structured data cabling provides a boost to your IT infrastructure.
- Predictable performance
- System flexibility for accommodating changes
- Maximizes availability
- Future proofs usability
The list of benefits is compelling on its own. But, let’s break down these points to better understand the real-world benefits they provide to your company.
1. Predictable Performance
This system features higher quality cables. They’re easier to manage and are less likely to need repairs. They’re also capable of producing higher speeds.
A structured cabling system helps you complete tasks every time without the guesswork.
2. System Flexibility
Your business will inevitably grow and change. IT requirements will grow and change with it.
Now, imagine growing and scaling inside a bowl of spaghetti?
It sounds painful and possible in equal measure.
A system that promotes easy flexibility is essential for quickly installing the additional network requirements needed in the future without the hassle.
3. Maximum Availability
Downtime is one of the greatest threats to your business.
Larger businesses can lose $100,000 per hour of downtime, costing them millions if not billions when a system collapses
Just look at what happened to British Airways.
Mistakes, outages, and failures can all create downtime. But so can an inefficient and difficult to manage cabling system.
A structured cable system promotes the maximum availability of your IT systems. More importantly, it promotes maximum profit.
4. Future Proof Usability
Structured data cabling protects all the network flexibility, performance, and availability for the future.
As bandwidth intensity grows, businesses need cabling systems that can grow to support the increased demand.
Structured cabling provides IT architects with a careful and uniform method for setting up all your telecommunications systems. It allows you to scale without the hassle.
Technology changes quickly. So does your business.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting until your system fails to serve you to invest in IT.
Prepare your business for the future and protect it from outages today by switching to structured cabling.
Contact us today to learn more about your voice and data cabling options.