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Network Cabling Design

With a small network of a few work stations that is not expected to grow, you might get away with just "winging" the cable installation, but the installation of a serious computer network needs a plan. without a plan your network will be prone to frequent failures and will be difficult to expand.

When designing your network, it's important to make sure your cabling system can accommodate growth and the higher speeds of new technologies. A structured cabling system is based on backbone cables that carry signals between floors, and horizontal cables that bring signals to the work areas.

industry standards

A network installed without regard for industry standards will also be prone to frequent failures and will be difficult to expand. The official standard for network cabling is the TIA/EIA-568-A Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard. The TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) and the EIA (Electronic Industries Association) are both members of ANSI (American Standards Institute).

Before the TIA/EIA standards each vendor created incompatible cables and connectors and the only resources for cabling guidance was proprietary documentation.

Structured cabling system

The cabling system specified in the TIA/EIA-568 standard is based on the star topology. It specifies that the cables that service a work area on a floor should terminate in a secure wiring closet which houses the hubs for the work area. Each floor should have a secure equipment room which houses the network switches that connect the floors horizontal cabling to the backbone cabling system.

Each building should have a secure main equipment room which connects to the building backbone and houses the primary network equipment, for example routers, gateways, and telecimunications equipment, and provides a location for connection to the campus and public network.

Network Cable

The horizontal cabling might consist of Category 5 Unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable. Category 5 UTP contains four-wire pairs with transmission characteristics that support a bandwidth of 100 MHz and is capable of supporting 100 Mbps of Ethernet data in a 100Base-T network. A cable segment may have a maximum length of 100 meters (328 feet).

The vertical or Backbone cabling, used to provide connections between equipment rooms on the floors of a building, might consist of multiple multimode fiber optic cables that each support a bandwidth of up to 2 GHz in a 100Base-FX network. Fiber optic cable may have a maximum segment length of 2 km or more.

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