Think about the following: when was your network cabling infrastructure first installed? Since this time, have you ever upgraded part or all of your cabling network? If you have not upgraded your cabling for many years, do you find that your cabling infrastructure still delivers a network performance that is adequate for your needs? It may be that you don’t have heavy demands on your network. If this is the case, then your current infrastructure may last several more years. However, if you have experienced a diminished network performance in recent times, perhaps due to equipment upgrades or increased network usage, then it’s probably time to think about upgrading your network cabling.
If your network performance is not currently lacking, but you are planning on expanding or upgrading to high-tech equipment in the near future, a reassessment of your current infrastructure would also be wise. This is particularly true for those that have not had any part of their cabling network upgraded for many years thereafter, they generally cannot provide for the network requirements of today. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have heavily invested in your IT infrastructure, in terms of equipment upgrades, only to find that your network performance is not as expected because you neglected to upgrade your cabling to a standard that is capable of supporting the new equipment.
There are several different types of cables, with each being suitable for different environments and for varying network requirements.
Copper Twisted Pair Cables - Of the different types of cables, copper twisted pair cabling os one that is most commonly used in the business’ data cabling networks. This is because these cables are cost-effective, versatile and their backwards compatibility makes them easy to patch into an existing cabling infrastructure to boost performance one stage at a time.
Cat5e cabling has been around since the 1980s and, although now obsolete, these cables can still be found in many business networks. Cat5 was invented for LAN transmission up to 100Mbps and can support voice, video and data. In the late 1990s, Cat5 was superseded by Cat5e, which offers improved performance due to its enhanced protection against crosstalks. If you’re still using Cat5 cabling and want to upgrade your network on a budget, then Cat5e is the ideal way to do this.
For a high-performance network, however, Cat6 cabling is recommended as a minimum standard. This type of cabling offers twice the speed of Cat5e and greater protection against crosstalk. For data centres or business networks with heavy demand, Cat6a or Cat7 cabling will be your best bet. Cat8 cabling is still under development but looks set to far supersede these standards once released.
Amongst these standards, there are two types of cables to consider: unshielded (UTP) and shielded (STP). Shielded cables will be more expensive but will offer better protection against interference. They are essential in networks where the cabling has to be installed outside or in close proximity to certain electrical equipment.
Fibre Optic Cabling - Fibre optic cables use light signals to transmit data, as opposed to the electrical signals used by copper twisted pair cables. FIbre optic cables offer superfast data transfer speeds and are not affected by interference, so will deliver a superior, more reliable network performance. These cables, however, are more expensive so it’s worth considering whether they will be necessary for your network.
If you require a network cabling upgrade, or simply want to find out more information, then please get in touch. We will be able to advise you on the best cables for your business requirements, whilst also factoring in your future needs too. Telephone: 01604 259467 Email: email@example.com