In the world of computer communications and data sharing, there is always a need for different computer systems to relate and communicate with each other. This is why there are networks in the first place, resulting in a need for what is popularly referred to as networking.
A network is simply a group of two or more computer systems that are connected and use a common set of communication protocols to share resources which are provided through the network nodes.
A network system establishes a cohesive architecture which makes it easy for different equipment on the network to transfer information and resources between them.
There is a broad range of network technologies that can be based on physical wiring, optical or wireless methods. These networks support several devices, applications as well as services which can include file transfer, digital audio and video contents, internet, the world wide web, printers, scanners, fax machines, servers, and so on.
There are different types of network but the most popular is the local area network (LAN) and the wide-area network (WAN). LAN consist of devices that are connected within the same building.
They are inexpensive and usually fast. WANs typically connect several LANs. Although it is not typically restricted to a geographical area, it can be limited to a specific area such as an organization. Typical examples include an estate or school campus. You can read more about this here.
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What is Network Cabling?
Network cables are important in making sure that networks are connected. They enable the transfer of information between routers, switches, computers, and even storage networks.
In other words, they are carriers or the medium through which data and information flow from one system to another. Network cabling essentially then is the use of cables in a network connection.
Types of Network Cables
Different types of network cables are available and the best one to use for a particular network will depend on the available structure, topology and architecture of the overall system.
One of the most commonly used types in the office environment is the twisted pair cable. Others are fibre optic cables and coaxial cables. See more on them below.
These types of cables are used in a lot of Ethernet networks. They started with 10 Mbps (10BASE-T which is also known as category 3 or cat3). Later an improved version for 100 Mbps (100BASE-TX, also known as Cat5 or Cat5e) was produced and after this, there are the 1 Gbps and the 10 Gbps (10GBASE- T) variations.
Twisted paired Ethernet cables usually contain 8 wires which are wound together in pairs as this helps minimize electromagnetic interference from other devices as well as adjacent cables.
When it comes to twisted pair cables, there are two defined industry standards. They are unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and shielded twisted pair (STP). UTP’s lower cost means that it is used more in modern Ethernet cabling. The maximum length of a segment of a twisted pair is 328 feet or 100 meters and they use RJ-45 modular connectors.
When there is a need for high bandwidth or high capacity demands, then fibre optics is usually the cable of choice. Places such as hospitals, airports, data centres, banks, etc. always favour fibre optics as it is ideal for working with high volumes of data.
Fibre optics use strands of glass and pulses of glass to transmit electric signals instead of insulated wires. They are bendable and are useful in WAN installations requiring long-distance outdoor and underground cabling.
There are two main types of fibre optic standards; single-mode (100BaseBX standard) and multimode (100BasesSX standard). It is common to use the single mode for long-distance telecommunication networks due to its higher bandwidth while for its low cost, local networks use the multimode.
Coaxial cables, which are also called coax, were typically known for their use in connecting television sets to antennas. Much like twisted pair, it is a standard for Ethernet cables using 10 Mbps.
They contain copper wires of different thickness which is surrounded by insulation and an extra shielding. They can be difficult to install and maintain.
There are others but these are rarely used for connectivity purposes. They include multipair cables, cross over cables as well as serial and parallel cables.
How to Determine Which Cable to Use
When dealing with commercial data cabling, a lot of care is required because this usually provides support for the smooth running of the entire business. To ensure that the best choice is made, some important factors have to be considered. We’ll look at some of these now.
Your bandwidth requirement will depend on the size of your network meaning that more workstations and systems will require more bandwidth and vice versa. In determining your bandwidth, future growth must be put into consideration.
If you expect that your company is will double or increase in a few years, you may need to cater for the future bandwidth need that will come with the anticipated growth of your company.
Another thing to consider when thinking of the bandwidth is the kind and volume of data your network will support. This means that if you will work more with videos, images, and graphics, you will need more bandwidth than a company that will only send emails, type letters, and open web pages.
The network environment is another determinant of the kind of cabling that you will require. Fibre optic offers the best and fastest speeds though it is not suited for every location as it is prone to transmission issues due to scratches and dirt.
Twisted pair copper is better suited for places that can be dusty and dirty. Though they might be susceptible to noise, the more recent Cat5e and Cat6 are better in this regard.
It is essential to look at the better option in this regard so that there are no issues or a need to have to change cables, a situation that will cost you more not to mention the fact that this can cripple your network.
For companies in Melbourne; a financial center and host to many local and international businesses, that are looking to install commercial data cabling for their network, there are experienced folks that can help out with this.
They can work with you to determine or recommend the best type of cabling to use based on your budget, environment, and bandwidth needs.
For any organization, communication is crucial and the best way to ensure this is by having a good network. We have discussed some issues you should know regarding your network cabling needs.
With the information we have shared here, you should feel more comfortable to go out and choose a company that can help you with your cabling need.