A network upgrade usually means faster network speeds, but if you’ve forgotten to invest in updated structured cabling, those speeds might be out of reach.
Whether you’re planning to add new WiFi access points to a space or you’re switching to the latest in wireless connectivity, WiFi 6E, network upgrades are always exciting. However, all too often, organizations get caught up in the thrill of the latest upgrade and fail to realize that those upgrades won’t have the desired impact without the proper infrastructure to support the expected increases in bandwidth. That’s where structured cabling comes in
Structured cabling is a cabling infrastructure that consists of multiple standardized smaller subsystems. This comprehensive system includes cables, trunk cables, switches, and patch panels. Essentially, structured cabling creates a system of separate components that makes it easier to track, manage, troubleshoot, and scale up your cabling as needed. While that is true of any structured cabling system, there are some different options you can choose from when setting up or upgrading your cabling. The two main options are twisted pair cabling or fiber optic cabling.
Twisted pair cables are the most common form of cabling used in enterprise infrastructure. Named because they contain pairs of twisted copper wires, these cables fall into several categories, including Cat5 cables (10/100Mbps speed and 100MHz bandwidth), Cat5E cables (10/100/1000Mbps speed and100MHz bandwidth), Cat6 cables (10Gbps speed and 250MHz bandwidth), Cat6A cables (10Gbps speed and 500MHz bandwidth), and Cat7 cables (10/100Gbps and 600Mhz bandwidth).
Twisted pair cables can be further broken into two categories: shielded or unshielded. Unlike unshielded cables, shielded cables are protected from external electromagnetic signals, interference, crosstalk, and any other disturbances that might negatively impact network performance using a layer of foil or polymer. You’ve probably already guessed that shielded cables are more expensive, but it’s also worth noting that excessively shielded cables will be less flexible and, thus, unsuitable for specific applications and environments.
If you’re looking for a faster, thinner, lighter cabling solution so quick that data travels at nearly the speed of light, you can try a fiber optic cable instead of a twisted pair cable. Made of several glass fibers, this high-performance, high-capacity cable uses light to transmit data. It’s powerful, flexible, and resistant to many corrosive elements that damage copper cables.
Fiber optic cable has plenty to offer, especially when it comes to carrying signals across long distances, but it’s worth noting that it’s usually far more expensive upfront than copper cabling. However, over time, the return on investment for fiber optic cable is greater than that of standard cabling. Plus, fiber optic cables are far more future-proof than twisted pair cabling. After all, structured fiber optic cables can last for many years — even decades — while continuing to support growing bandwidth needs as new network speeds and upgrades become available. Copper cabling infrastructure, on the other hand, will likely need to be replaced sooner in order to keep up with changing bandwidth needs coming from new technologies.
No matter which cable option you go with, the importance of having an up-to-date infrastructure cannot be over exaggerated. With the latest WiFi protocol, WiFi 6E, on the scene, faster network speeds, reduced latency, and reduced device battery drain are all available for the taking. However, your network is only as strong as its weakest link. So, if you forget to pay attention to your cabling, you may find yourself paying extra for network upgrades only to receive the exact same network speeds and performance you had before because your cabling infrastructure wasn’t built to handle these new higher bandwidth demands. Luckily, all you have to do to get the most out of the higher bandwidths and truly enjoy those promised high speeds is invest in up-to-date structured cabling.
In addition to simplifying your cabling as a whole, structured cabling can also eliminate single points of failure, help strengthen your physical IT infrastructure, and make finding and solving problems a breeze. After all, you won’t have to sort through hundreds of unlabeled, tangled cables to find the one that needs to be repaired! Even better, up-to-date structured cabling will empower you to make the most of today’s top-of-the-line technology — and tomorrow’s. With its modular design and compatibility with new applications and equipment, structured cabling is highly adaptable. So, even as our IT infrastructures become increasingly dense and complex, growing or changing your network when the time comes won’t be too challenging. Plus, with an infrastructure that can actually handle the newest tech, you’ll be able to achieve a better ROI with new upgrades.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a college campus, a hospital, a warehouse, or anything in between, you can benefit from upgraded structured cabling. Structured cabling systems make it easier for organizations to scale as faster network speeds come out. Unfortunately, structured cabling is far too often an afterthought when making network upgrades, meaning that organizations waste money on upgrades without considering the fact that their infrastructure may not be able to handle it.
If you believe your structured cabling might be in need of an upgrade, now is the perfect time to prepare your infrastructure for the future. Current supply chain issues have put many other network upgrade opportunities on pause, but structured cabling remains unaffected. And Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) is the ideal structured cabling partner to prepare your infrastructure for the latest in network technology.
With 30 years of experience helping organizations of all sizes get the most out of their technology investments, TTI has the expertise to help you upgrade your cabling. Whether you need help with design, installation, consolidation, network monitoring or analytics, or troubleshooting, TTI has you covered. With us, you’ll have your choice of purchasing cables from trusted industry partners or using our own copper and fiber cables. We also offer on-site installation and custom cabling layouts. We can even repurpose existing cabling to help you get the most out of your network!
Contact us today to learn more about how structured cabling can make all the difference for your network.
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