Structured Cabling

Industry Best Practices

In addition to having a proper cabling design, knowing approximately how long the installation will take and the best time to deploy is also essential. For example, the best time for new cabling implementation is while the building studs are still exposed and electrical boxes can be easily installed.

From a planning standpoint, this is approximately the same time in new construction when the electrical cabling is also laid.

In fact, because of the obvious connection between electrical and telecommunications wiring, many electrical contractors are now doing low-voltage (data) wiring to be contracted for both the electrical system (power) and the telecommunications/data network.

Why You Should Not Use An Electrician

WARNING If you use an electrical contractor to install your communications/data cabling, kindly ensure that he or she is well trained in this type of installation. Many electricians are not aware of the subtleties required to properly handle network wiring. If they handle UTP/STP cabling like the more familiar electrical wire, or run it along with the electrical wire (power), you’re going to have headaches in your network performance.

The industry’s recommendation is to install communication wiring after the electrical cabling utilizing two (2) separate and distinct contractors specialized in their respective fields. In other works, contract an electrician for power and an ITS technician for network cabling.

For a post-construction installation, Cnetworks schedules the activity to have the least impact on the building’s occupants and on the existing network or existing building infrastructure. The work may also be broken up into phases or sections accordingly. Below is a summary of industry best practices for structured cabling.

The Six Subsystems of Structured Cabling

This information is based on generic and typical commercial building structured cabling infrastructures.

1. Entrance Facilities (EF)

Entrance facilities contain the cables, network demarcation point(s), connecting hardware, protection devices and other equipment that connect to the access provider (AP) or private network cabling. It includes connections between outside plant and inside building cabling.

2. Equipment Room (ER)

The environmentally controlled centralized space for telecommunications equipment is usually more complex than a telecommunications room (TR) or telecommunications enclosure (TE). It usually houses the main cross-connect (MC) and may also contain the intermediate cross-connects (ICs), horizontal cross-connects (HCs) or both.

3. Backbone Cabling

The backbone cabling provides interconnection between telecommunications rooms, equipment rooms, access provider (AP) spaces and entrance facilities.

4. Telecommunications Room (TR) and Telecommunications Enclosure (TE)

A TR or TE houses the terminations of horizontal and backbone cables to connecting hardware including any jumpers or patch cords. It may also contain the IC or MC for different portions of the backbone cabling system. The TR or TE also provides a controlled environment to house telecommunications equipment, connecting hardware and splice closures serving a portion of the building.

5. Horizontal Cabling 

The horizontal cabling system extends from the work area’s telecommunications information outlet to the telecommunications room (TR) or telecommunications enclosure (TE). It includes horizontal cable, mechanical terminations, jumpers and patch cords located in the TR or TE and may incorporate multiuser telecommunications outlet assemblies (MUTOAs) and consolidation points (CPs). The maximum horizontal cable length shall be 90 m (295 ft.), independent of media type.

6. Work Area

Work area (WA) components extend from the telecommunications outlet/connector end of the horizontal cabling system to the WA equipment. A minimum of two telecommunications outlets (permanent links) should be provided for each work area. Multiuser telecommunications outlet assemblies (MUTOAs), if used, are part of the WA. See video