Introduction to Structured Cabling

What is Structured Cabling ?

As with time and technology the communications methods, medium, technology, equipment and everything associated with connectivity or inter-connectivity is changing. With so many vendors, products, designs and requirements it's difficult to keep up with communication system.
When used in smaller scales for fewer devices it was manageable but when it comes to bigger infrastructures, offices or facilities with various possibilities as well as tendency to change and upgrade it was very difficult for IT and Network designers, to answer this complexity standards were proposed which will guide the type of wiring, material of wiring, speed, connectors, protocols, data rates, error rates and more. This allowed flexibility and capability to manage a bigger infrastructure  with ease. This is how structured wiring system or cabling infrastructure came into existence.
Structured cabling infrastructure usually consists of a number of standardized smaller elements often referred as subsystems. 

Typically,  it's designed using  2 components :

1)Manufacture-originated standard components that links wires in a systematic way (often fault proof).
2)Set of rules for building a smart cabling. The ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A and ISO/IEC11801 standards specify minimum requirements for telecommunication cabling with the commercial infrastructure. 
With a correctly installed structured system, current and future requirements can be met, and hardware that is added in the future will be supported.

Structured cabling design and installation is governed by a set of standards that specify wiring data centers, offices buildings or commecial infrastructure for data or voice communications using various kinds of cables(single type or in combinations), For data only  CAT5, CAT5e and  CAT6 are most common, for voice only CAT3 is used, for data and voice on same cable CAT5, CAT5e and  CAT6 are most common. Also RG6, RG59 and Fiber optics are used on various applications. These standards define how to lay the cabling in various network topologies as per client request or requirements.

Structured cabling Infrastructure can be categorized under 3 zones with 6 subsystems.

Zone 1 : 

Equipment Room  - An equipment provides termination point for backbone cabling to connect with telecommunication enclosure on one side and connects to ISP Server on other. 
Entrance facilities - It's gateway between private clients network and external ISP.

Zone 2 : 

Backbone Cabling - It's cabling run behind the walls, under the floor, over the ceilings and connecting the telecommunication closet/enclosure with Equipment room.
Telecommunication Enclosure - It provides interconnection between horizontal cabling and backbone cabling to create connection between work area to ISP server via equipment room.

Zone 3: 

Horizontal cabling - It's cabling run between each workstations or access points to telecommunication enclosure for connectivity
Work Area - This section consists of communication outlets and equipment which are connected using horizontal cabling.

Telecommunication Standards 

  • ANSI/TIA-568.0-D, Generic Telecommunications Cabling for Customer Premises, 2015
  • ANSI/TIA-568.1-D, Commercial Building Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard, 2015
  • ANSI/TIA-568-C.2, Balanced Twisted-Pair Telecommunication Cabling and Components Standard, published 2009
  • ANSI/TIA-568-C.3, Optical Fiber Cabling Components Standard, published 2008, plus errata issued in October, 2008.
  • TIA-569-B (2004; Amd 1 2009) Commercial Building Standard for Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces
  • ANSI/TIA/EIA-606-A-2002, Administration Standard for Commercial Telecommunications Infrastructure.

Popular terms used while doing structured cabling Infrastructure 

Drop cable - The cable that runs from computer to network outlet
Cable Run - The cable that runs from outlet to the telecommunication closet
Patch panel - A panel system which collects all cable runs at one place and "patches" them to different part of wiring Hub/switch.
Switch - It's L2 level communication for interconnection of networks  

Disclaimer : The content was created by Solnet Canada in order to provide more insight to structured cabling. Various named and un-named online resources and e-books and printed books were used to gather more information to create a concise article.


  1. A youtube video for structured cabling will be available by acebiztek channel, more details on blogs and press release can be found at , and


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