Imagine that you did not have distributed power and power outlets in your home and office. This would mean that every time you wanted to connect a new device like a desk light or a printer to power, you would have to run an extension cord down to the breaker panel which is often located in the basement.
The first IT networks were connected in this way with patch cords. Structured cabling and standards governing these were developed later to make life a lot easier. Structured cabling can be defined as a cabling infrastructure that offers a standardized and organized method to cabling that enables IT network changes to be made easily.
Structured cabling standards not only define fixed connection points similar to power outlets in a house or office, but also a series of subsystems that simplify installation, design, maintenance and operations of IT networks.
Three major cabling standards groups (CENELEC, TIA and ISO/IEC) produce standards for structured cabling in campuses, data centers, commercial offices and more. The standards specify types of components and cabling that are to be used in different environments. Typically standards include:
- Modular connectors.
- Fiber optic cabling.
- Categories 6 and 6A.
The planning and implementation of IT networks has been simplified greatly by standardization of fiber and copper cable performance categories, connectors and design guidelines.
The concept of structured cabling has become so popular that other non-IT applications, including high definition audiovisual, security and Building Automation Services have adopted the concept to ensure that devices can be swapped or upgraded without the entire cabling infrastructure having to be changed.
Things have progressed rapidly since the structured cabling solutions took hold in our work and living spaces, and the benefits have made them integral to our society.
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