As the need for more wireless connectivity increases, now is a good time to evaluate using a structured cabling system. With structured cabling designs, you’ll receive a comprehensive telecommunication solution, able to transmit data, voice, video, and more through the network. Structured cabling gives you a more secure and robust network, compared to those based solely on wireless technology.
As IT consultants, we work with organizations each and every day, to improve their cabling structure for maximum benefit. We want to share what we’ve learned and provide you with insights on why structured cabling can be a substantial benefit for your business.
Before we dive into the benefits of structured cabling for your business, let’s start with the basics.
What is structured cabling?
Structured cabling is the creation of a telecommunications cabling infrastructure, consisting of a number of standardized smaller elements, often called subsystems. Structured cabling is governed by standards, providing guidelines on how to properly wire a data center for voice and data communications, using CAT 5E or CAT 6E cabling and modular sockets.
The standards set forth the rules on how to lay the cabling in a star formation, allowing for all outlets to terminate at a central patch panel. From this panel, the determination of how these outlets will be used is made. Each outlet can either be connected to a data network switch or a telecom patch panel.
Data port lines require straight-through patch cables to connect a computer to a network. Cabling standards also require that all eight connectors in Cat5/5E/6 cable are connected. This structure allows for the complete support of Power over the Ethernet.
One of the most useful updates you can make to your network is to switch from that old point-to-point cabling system to a highly functioning structured cabling system.
Is your cabling out of date?
One of the best things you can do to modernize your IT infrastructure is to switch from point-to-point cabling to structured cabling. Point-to-point cabling is an older method and often causes problems for networks and their users. These issues occur because of the way point-to-point cabling is set up. With it, one component of a network, server, switch, or device is joined to another using fiber optic cable. Decades ago, this made sense for quick and easy stringing. But as networks grew, the issues associated with this cabling began to grow as well.
Today, networks are much more robust and need to transfer large amounts of data. Maintaining a point-to-point cabling system and all its thousands of cords has become complicated and cumbersome. This can put a significant strain on your IT resources and lead to unnecessary issues and downtime.
That’s why more companies are moving toward structured cabling systems. Structured cabling connects servers directly to the communication hub. Then local cabling panels are installed throughout a space, connecting to the communication hub with one cable. Your users then connect their device to the network by simply using the cable at their desk. No more complex setups, which can frustrate staff and curtail productivity, whether you use an internal staff for IT support or engage with a provider for IT managed services.
Top benefits of structured cabling
Now that you know what structured cabling is, let’s preview all the benefits it can bring your business.
As a business, your staff is using various devices and equipment at the same time. If you use a non-consolidated wiring infrastructure, you’ll spend much more time trying to find and resolve problems. When this occurs, you face the real cost of downtime. Productivity plummets as troubleshooting continues, and this can dramatically impact your company’s revenue. As of December 2017, 24% of businesses reported that the average cost of an hour of downtime could be as great as $400,000. In addition to the actual dollars you could lose, there are other consequences, such as a damaged reputation and loss in productivity.
With a single system, you reduce the complexity of these concurrent activities. Should a connectivity problem arise, it’s much easier to identify and resolve the issue when everything is connected via structured cabling. The ability to identify these problems quickly will help you reduce costly downtime.
Adaptability and growth
Structured cabling is an excellent way to future-proof your infrastructure so that IT doesn’t impede your ability to grow. In an ever-changing world, your business needs to be able to adapt quickly. With structured cabling, you have a high level of flexibility, as it can easily accommodate changes, additions, and other alterations. Why? When you use structured cabling, you can enjoy a very high bandwidth. With significant bandwidth, the system can support new technologies and applications you’d like to launch, such as video conferencing or other activities that require greater bandwidth, without interrupting your current system.
When your network begins to expand, you’ll actually experience improved performance. With a flexible, consistent cabling structure in place, you won’t need to upgrade or update your systems to maintain the same levels of performance as applications and equipment grow and change. This could also enable better adoption by your staff of new technology because it will be stable.
In this manner, IT becomes a catalyst for your growth; not a hindrance.
An investment with true ROI
If you are changing over from a point-to-point cabling system to structured cabling, you will need to make a substantive initial investment. Exact costs vary, depending on the complexity of your network and size. However, after this original investment, you will no longer need constant contact with your network team to keep cabling under control. Structured cabling is organized, and it’s easy to see which cable is connected to which location. If an issue pops up, it’s easy to find it. The time during installation is also shorter so that you can make any infrastructure changes with ease.
Once structured cabling is in place, you can significantly reduce the resources you need to maintain it. Ultimately reducing your IT costs, increasing employee productivity and driving additional revenue.
Is structured cabling right for your business?
It’s clear to see the value of fewer IT problems and less time spent managing those that arise. Structured cabling helps organizations to do just that, so they can focus on their primary business objectives. Making the switch can improve your network infrastructure, delivering many advantages including reduced costs, less downtime, greater flexibility, and more.
If you have questions about structured cabling, feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to help.