Cabling provides the medium through which data, voice, and multimedia information moves from one device to another whether it is a phone, a computer, a printer, a TV, or any of a hundred other devices. Choosing the right cabling option should not be made on installation cost alone. What is not well understood is that typically 80% of the overall cost of any cabling is in the maintenance of that cabling -- encompassing repairs, moves, adds, or removals. Additionally workplace productivity and future usage considerations also weigh heavily in selecting an appropriate cabling option. If your cabling is not reliable or not fast enough, it costs you more in lost worker productivity. And ripping out outdated cabling is never a cheap proposition.
There are several types of cabling standards in common use today, including unshielded copper twisted pair (UTP) meeting either CAT3, CAT5e, CAT6, or CAT7 specification, coaxial (RG6, and 59), and fiber optic. Which option is right for you is largely based on whether the network is to carry data, voice, or video traffic or some combination of the three. By and far the most common installed cables are CAT5e compliant. RBC Cable Technologies can analyze you office requirements and provide you with a free estimate. Please contact us or fill out a project request.
Cabling, A very Brief History
Many original office telephone systems employed CAT3 or equivalent cabling which was fine for analog voice systems but not really adequate for digital systems. Because of the crosstalk between pairs at higher frequencies, these cabling arrangement were not adequate for the data speed of the then new Ethernet standard. The original Ethernet standard specified a coaxial cable where individual taps were utilized that were literal drilled through the outer shielding to tap the central wire. The unreliability of these taps coupled along with its inability to support the increasingly popular star network configurations lead to its replacement with CAT5 and later CAT5e cabling.
CAT5e can adequately handle the popular 10BaseT (10Mbps) and the more recent 100BaseT (100Mbps) data networks, signals from closed circuit TV surveillance cameras, VOIP, digital and analog voice systems, and public announcement systems makes it an ideal choice for most corporate office application now and for many years to come. Higher bandwidth requirements like 1000BaseT or increased security require the use of optical fiber systems. However, these are typically use as building backbones connecting the various network access points such as ethernet switches or speciality network adaptors to the data centers or building outside access termination points of WANs or MANs.
However for TV and audio systems, some form of coaxial cabling is usually employed ... if you want a clear signal with minimal attenuation and crosstalk. RG6 and RG59 cabling with F-connector terminations is typically used to connect building antenna, cable TV, and satellite dishes to the receiver or from the receiver to the individual TV stations when RF modulated signals and/or longer distances between devices are involved. For shorter runs or higher quality requirements, other cabling option like S-video, Component video (F connectors), and composite video (RCA connectors) offer other cabling options. For audio arrangements, RCA terminated cabling is typically the standard in the United States.
Optical Fiber Cabling
Cabling utilizing thin "wires" of glass and photons (light) requires special handling and installation technique. Not susceptible to RF electromagnetic interference, EMP, or electronic eavesdropping and having a huge information carrying capacity, optical cabling is a perfect choice for sensitive or secure environments. Optical cabling doesn't come cheap though. It requires special optical transmitters and receivers, is difficult to splice, and cannot carry power. However, most of these disadvantages are not that much of a problem these days. Optical fibers are utilized in network backbones as high speed communication pathways between network and computing equipment and rarely appear on the office desktop.
RBC Cable, Your Cabling Experts
We can handle cabling installations for any of these types of cable throughout an entire building or for a single office … no job is too large or too small. Let RBC’s fourteen (14) years of experience and expertise in cabling installations help you avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes when implementing a Data, Voice or Video network.
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