Structured Data Cabling For Commercial AudioVisual Systems

Jan 7, 2023 | Audio Visual Installation

Reading Time: About 10 minutes

Structured data cabling is the design and installation of cables for voice, video, and data systems. It’s a critical component for any organization that relies on these systems to facilitate communication between different departments or offices. Without a properly installed structured cabling system, it can be difficult to ensure secure and reliable connectivity across multiple networks and devices. Structured data cabling is an integral part of business operations and can be used to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase security.

When installing structured cabling, an experienced technician should take into account the size and layout of a building or office, as well as any existing networks or devices already in place. Most times, the technicians elect to use Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet cables and fiber optic cables to connect computers, phones, security systems, cameras, and more. The quality of the cabling used is important, as it will determine the reliability of the connection; poor-quality cables can result in slow speeds or even dropped connections.

Importance of Structured Data Cabling

A major benefit of structured cabling is that it offers scalability, so a system can be easily upgraded as technology advances. By installing a structured cabling system, you will also increase security. Protected by several layers of physical and digital security measures, structured cabling helps ensure that any unauthorized access is prevented. Additionally, the cables are shielded from interference from other networks or devices, ensuring that data stays secure and protected.

Structured cabling is also an energy-efficient solution, as the cables require minimal electricity to function. This allows organizations to save on operational costs and helps reduce their overall carbon footprint. Structured cabling can also have a positive impact on workplace productivity. By reducing downtime due to failures or slow speeds, employees can focus more on their time-sensitive tasks. [2]

Furthermore, structured cabling is a scalable and future-proof solution. As your business grows, new cables can easily be added or removed to accommodate changing needs without having to replace the entire system. Additionally, structured cabling allows for easy troubleshooting and maintenance when needed, allowing organizations to reduce their overall IT costs.

Finally, structured cabling can also provide organizations with flexibility when it comes to connecting different systems and devices. With the help of patch panels and other components, businesses can quickly connect networks with ease without having to worry about compatibility issues or difficulty changing configurations. This helps make operations more efficient and cost-effective in the long run. Overall, structured cabling can offer businesses a number of advantages. From providing an easy and cost-effective way to set up networks to increasing efficiency and flexibility when it comes to troubleshooting, maintenance, and configuration changes, the benefits are clear.

With these many advantages in mind, organizations should consider investing in a comprehensive structured cabling system to ensure that their network infrastructure is reliable and up-to-date.

Types of Cables

When installing a structured cabling system, there are several types of cables to choose from. They include:

Copper Cables

Copper cables are the most common type used in networks and offer excellent speed and reliability. Copper cables come in various gauges and twisted pairs, which can be used to increase the speed of data transfer. However, they can be expensive to install and maintain.

Fiber optic cables

Fiber optic cables are a great choice for faster data transmission speeds as well as increased security. Fiber cables are usually more expensive than copper cables, but they provide better performance over longer distances.

Coaxial Cables

These cables are another option for high-speed data transfer and have been used in traditional television systems. Coaxial cables can be more expensive than other types of network cabling, but they offer increased security and improved performance over longer distances.

Wireless Cables

They are a great choice for those needing a more mobile solution. Wireless cables are relatively inexpensive and provide much greater flexibility when setting up networks. However, they are less secure than other cabling methods, and their speed can be limited by distance and interference from other wireless signals.

Cable Trays

Cable trays are used to manage and protect cables within a network. Cable trays can be either opened or closed, depending on the application. They provide greater organization and easier access to cables when changes need to be made. Cable trays also help to keep cables cool by providing good air circulation and reducing cable clutter. Along with providing support and protection, cable trays can also help reduce the risk of electrical interference from other cables.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Type of Cable to Use

Determining which type of network cable is best for your needs depends on many factors.

Some of these factors include:

Type of network

The type of network being set up will determine the type of cable needed. For example, shielded cables are necessary for setting up an Ethernet network.

Length Of Cable Run

Different types of cables have different maximum lengths. Knowing how long a run is going to be can help determine what type of cable should be used.

Speed of the Network

The type of cable used will have an impact on the speed of the network. For example, Cat5e cables are capable of supporting speeds up to 1000 Mbps, while Cat6 cables can reach 10 Gbps.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors such as temperature and humidity can affect the performance and reliability of a cable, so it is important to choose a cable that is suitable for the environment in which it will be installed.

Cost and Available Budget

Different types and grades of cables have different prices. The cost of a cable may also be a factor when deciding which type to use. Cat5e cables are usually much cheaper than Cat6 cables, but they may not provide the same performance or reliability as Cat6 cables. So, it is important to consider the cost of a cable as well as its performance and reliability when making a decision. The available budget will determine which type of cable should be selected for each application.

Technology Capabilities

The desired performance levels of the system will also dictate what type of cable should be used. Cat5e cables are suitable for applications that do not require high data speeds or to support large amounts of traffic. Cat6 cables, on the other hand, provide higher throughput and can support up to 10 Gigabits per second over a single run. If higher speeds are needed, Cat6A or Cat7 cables can be used. These cables also provide enhanced shielding capabilities that help protect the data from interference and crosstalk.

Components of Structured Cabling System

Structured cabling consists of several different components that work together to provide a reliable network. [1]


These are the heart of any structured cabling system. Cables are typically made of copper, though fiber optic cables may also be used in some cases. The type of cable used will depend on the data speed and the length of the run.

Network Interface Cards (NICs)

NICs are used to connect computers and other devices to a network. They provide the physical connection between the device and the network, allowing data to be transmitted and received.


Connectors attach the cables to wall plates or patch panels. These come in several different types, such as RJ45 jacks, punch-down connectors, and fiber connectors.

Patch Panels

Patch panels are used to connect the cables from different network devices or outlets to one another. This allows for easy access and troubleshooting of network connections.

Wall Plates

Wall plates provide a convenient way to mount the connectors on your walls or other surfaces. They come in several different styles, including decorative, snap-in, and keystone styles.


Switches are used to manage traffic on your network. They can be used to connect multiple devices together as well as route traffic between different networks or subnetworks.

Surge Protectors

Surge protectors are an important part of wiring a network. They help to protect the network from power surges, which can damage equipment and disrupt services.

Network Switches

Network switches provide a way to manage and control the flow of data between different devices on your network. They can help maintain the performance of your network by providing faster speeds and better reliability.

Patch Cables

Patch cables are used to connect different network devices together, either directly or through patch panels. They come in various lengths, colors, and styles, such as Cat 5, Cat 6A, and fiber optic cables.



Routers are essential for managing traffic on your network. They help to route data between different networks or devices, allowing you to access the Internet from multiple locations.


Firewalls are essential for keeping your network secure. They can help block malicious traffic and applications, as well as protect against intrusions and other threats.

Categories of Structured Cabling Standards

Structured cabling standards provide guidelines for the design and installation of cabling systems in a variety of applications. There are various categories of structured cabling:

Category 5 (Cat 5) Cable

This is the most common type of Ethernet cabling and has been around since the late 1980s. It uses twisted-pair wiring to support up to 10 megabits per second in data transmission speeds. Cat5 cables are typically used for voice and low-speed data applications.

Category 6 (Cat 6) Cable

Cat 6 cables are designed to support up to 1000 megabits per second transmission speeds and can handle bandwidth-intensive applications such as video conferencing. Cat6 cables are often used in high-performance networks, such as those found in data centers.

Category 7 (Cat 7) Cable

This type of cabling is the latest technology and can support speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. Cat7 cables are also designed to reduce electromagnetic interference, making them ideal for use in high-noise environments such as industrial areas or near radio transmitters. They are also suitable for installing gigabit Ethernet networks over long distances.

Category 8 (Cat 8) Cable

Cat8 is the newest type of cabling, and it supports transmission speeds up to 40 gigabits per second. It is designed for use in data centers where there is a need for high-speed connections over short distances. Cat8 cables are also shielded to reduce electromagnetic interference. While Cat8 cables offer the highest level of performance, they are also more expensive than other types of cabling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by "structured cabling"?

Structured cabling is the process of laying out wires and cables in an organized fashion to facilitate communication between computers and electronic devices. It includes patch panels, cable management, routing, and other necessary equipment.

What size router do I need for my network?

There are many factors that will determine the size router you need for your network. The number of users, the type of usage (e.g., streaming, gaming, etc.), and the speed of your internet connection are all important considerations when choosing a router for your network. It is best to consult with a professional before making a purchase.

What are the six components of structured cabling?

Structured cabling includes six components: a patch panel, cross-connects, cable management (such as cable trays and shelves), cables (including UTP, coaxial, and fiber optic), connectors, and jacks. Each component needs to be properly installed and configured in order for the structured cabling system to function correctly. Additionally, all components should be tested before being put into service to ensure they are compatible and meet the necessary requirements. This will help to guarantee the optimal performance of your network. [3]

What is the purpose of structured cabling?

The purpose of structured cabling is to provide an organized and reliable network infrastructure that can handle large amounts of data, such as voice and video data. Structured cabling also helps reduce network downtime, as it provides a consistent connection throughout the building or facility. It also allows for easier expansion, upgrades, and maintenance in the future. With structured cabling, you can be confident that your network is secure and reliable. Additionally, structured cabling can improve the performance of all communication networks, from voice to data and video.

What are the two main standards for structured cabling?

The two main standards for structured cabling are ANSI/TIA-568 and ISO 11801. ANSI/TIA-568 is the most commonly used standard in the United States, while ISO 11801 is used in Europe. Both standards define how cables should be installed and organized for maximum performance and reliability throughout a facility. The standards also define how components should be connected and labeled for easy identification. By following these standards, you can ensure that your network will function properly in the long run.

What are the benefits of structured cabling?

Structured cabling offers a number of benefits that make it an ideal choice for businesses and organizations. First, it simplifies the process of making changes to a network. With structured cabling, all of the components are organized and clearly labeled, so it’s easy to identify what needs to be moved or added. Second, structured cabling reduces electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can occur when cables are not properly arranged. This minimizes performance issues and ensures that data is sent and received accurately. Finally, structured cabling saves time and money because it requires less maintenance over the long term.

What are the three different types of cabling registration?

The three main types of cabling registration include Category 5 (CAT5), Category 6 (CAT6), and Fiber Optic (Fiber). CAT5 is the oldest type of cable and is most commonly used for home networks. It is capable of providing speeds up to 100 megabits per second. CAT6 offers higher speeds than CAT5, up to 10 Gigabits per second, and is ideal for businesses that require faster speeds. Fiber-optic cabling is the most expensive type of cabling but can provide extremely high speeds with low latency. It is often used in areas where very fast speeds are required, such as data centers.


  1. The Basics of Structured Cabling – EC&M.
  2. What Is Structured Cabling in Networking? | NetXL Blog.
  3. What are the 6 components of structured cabling? – TechTarget.