Voice and Data Cabling
The backbone of any office is their voice and data cabling system. This structured cabling system is important because it's the key to running all the necessary computing, fax, and phone calls. This includes but is not limited to; phone systems, voice mail, computers and internet access. For more information about how ICS can provide cabling solutions for your business, please call us and one of our specialists will assist you in designing, implementing and deploying a cabling system that meets your businesses needs.
Types of Cabling Sold, Installed and Supported by ICS
- Category 3
- Category 5e
- Category 6
- Call ICS at 1-866-427-4722 for information on cabling options and pricing.
More Information About Each Type of Cabling Solution Offered
Cabling systems have different levels of data rates that they are able to effectively sustain. This is the way that the cabling systems are categorized. Category 3 cable (Cat-3), an unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable, has a maximum data rate of 16 Mbps. Cat-3 cable is recognized by TIA/EIA-568-B, its defining standard.
In the early 1990’s Category 3 cable (Cat-3) was a commonly used format for computer network administrators. But it was largely replaced by the higher performing Category 5 (Cat-5) standard. But Cat-3 is still recognized by the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Electronic Industries Alliance (TIA/EIA-568-B). Cat-1, 2, 4 and 5 are no longer recognized.
Cat-3 cable is an unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable. Two insulated copper wires are twisted around each other to form a twisted pair. This reduces electromagnetic induction, or crosstalk, between pairs of wires. Twisted pair is the cable that connects home and business computers to the telephone company.
Category 5e (Cat-5e) has replaced Cat-5. Most new cable installations are built with Cat-5e (the e stands for enhanced) or Category 6 (Cat-6) cable. However Cat-3 is still in use in two-line telephone systems. In fact, the two categories of cable most widely-installed are Cat-3 (voice) and Cat-5e. Cat-3, Cat-5e, and Cat-6 are all defined jointly by the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Electronics Industries Alliance as part of a family of copper cabling standards.
Cat-3 and Cat-5e look identical. But Cat-3’s lower specifications may cause transmission errors at higher speeds. These specifications categorize the cabling systems by the data rates that they can effectively sustain. The connectors and junction boxes, as well as the cable material itself are described in the specifications that must be adhered to in order to conform to a category. Cat-5 is certified for up to a 100 MHz signal, while Cat-3 can support only a 16 MHz signal.
ISO are International standards. The category refers to the cable for ISO/IEC standards. In the ISO/IEC standards, class refers to the connector. Standards provide guidelines for manufacturers to work within a minimum set of parameters.
The 100BASE-T4standard achieves speeds of 100Mbit/s by using all four pairs of wires. The 100BASE-T4 standard, though seldom used, allowed the older Cat-3 based standard to achieve a higher bandwidth.
Cat-3 was designed to carry voice and data up to 10 Mbps. And it was designed for possible transmission frequencies up to 16 MHz. Ethernet 10BASE-T runs over Cat-3 cable. Four pairs are available, but only two are used for Ethernet 10BASE-T. However, Ethernet 100BASE-T4 utilizes all four pairs.
The inexpensive Cat-3 cable is one of the oldest standards for data transmission. Cat-3, the most common cable used for voice transmission, can provide excellent communications for telephone lines in a PBX network.
Category 5e cable (Cat-5e), an enhanced version of Category 5 cable, adds specifications for far end crosstalk. Cat-5e specification structured cabling for computer networks is also used to carry other signals such as voice services. A friendly ICS representative is a phone call away and will answer any questions that you may have about Cat 5e.
Category 5 cable, defined in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A with certification in TSB-95, has been superseded by the Category 5e (Cat-5e) specification structured cabling. The TIA/EIA-568-B standard no longer recognizes the original Cat-5 specification. Cat5e was formally defined as the TIA/EIA-568-B standard in 2001.
Twisted pair cable’s two main varieties are solid and stranded. Stranded cable, being more pliable, is better suited for shorter distance moveable cabling. On-the-fly patch cabling would be an example of this. Solid Cat-5 cable will support longer length runs. It works best in fixed wiring configurations (e.g. office buildings). Most Cat-5e cables may be bent at a radius of about four times the diameter of the cable.
The operating temperature for Cat-5e cable is -10C to 60C. It is not rated for outdoor use. But it can usually be used there without any problem. The cable needs to be run through a conduit to prevent it from coming in contact with moisture. Lightning could also strike exposed cable. Gray PCV pipe suitable for cable should be easy to find at any hardware store.
1000BASE-T was designed for use with Cat-5 cable. But Cat-5e’s tighter specifications for cable and connectors make it a great choice for 1000BASE-T. Cat-5e cables are limited to a maximum length of 100m (328ft) for Ethernet networks as is the case with the old Cat-5. Fixed (horizontal) cables are limited in normal practice to 90m. This allows for up to 5m of patch cable at each end. 90m+5m+5m equal the 100m limit.
Cat-5e, like Cat-5, has 100 ohm impedance and electrical characteristics that support transmissions up to 100 MHz. Cat-5 components can function in a gigabit Ethernet. The Cat-5e difference is shown in performance; frequency, attenuation, resistance, capacitance, and NEXT. High-speed gigabit Ethernet was in mind when Cat-5e components were designed. Cat-5 components function below standard during high-data transfer. But Cat-5e cables work with both ATM and gigabit speed products.
Cat-5 is rated to 100M, while Cat-5e is rated to 350M (the e stands for enhanced). Cat-5e is backward compatible with Cat-5 equipment. The formal name for Cat-5e is ANSI/TIA/EIA 568A-5. Cat-5e’s enhanced electrical performance allows the cable to support applications that require additional bandwidth (e.g. gigabit Ethernet or analog video).
The parameters for Cat-5e are as follows: Specified frequency range 1-100MHz, Attenuation 24dB, NEXT 30.1dB Power-sum NEXT 27.1dB, ACR 6.1dB, Power sum ACR 3.1dB, ELFEXT 17.4dB, Power-sum ELFEXT 14.4dB, Return loss 10dB, Propagation delay 548nsec, Delay skew 50nsec. See TIA/EIA-568-B.2-2001 for test methods and performance characteristics of Cat-5e cable.
Category 6 Cable (Cat-6) offers high quality transmission of data at speeds up to 1000 Mbps. Cat-6 supports communications at more than two times the speed of cat5e. ICS offers full support for infrastructures that require Cat-6 cables. Almost three decades of award-winning service have kept ICS at the forefront of technological advances that will enhance the communication capabilities of your company.
Category 6 cable (Cat-6) is a standard for Gigabit Ethernet as defined by the Electronic Industries Association and Telecommunications Industry Association (EIA/TIA). Standard for other network protocols as well, Cat-6 is backward compatible with both Cat5/5e and Cat3 cable. Cat-6, the sixth generation of twisted pair Ethernet cabling, contains four pairs of copper wire.
Cat5, the previous generation of cable, also contains four pairs of twisted copper wire, but Cat-6 fully utilizes all four pairs. Cat-6 is sometimes made with 23 gauge wire. However, TIA standards which address commercial building cabling do not require that this gauge wire be used. The ANSI/TIA-568-B.2-1 specifications say that 22 to 24 AWG wire may be used. In wire gauges, a larger number means a smaller wire. Whatever gauge is used, the cable must meet the specified testing standards.
Cat-6 is used for Ethernet computer networking, security systems and telephone services. The specifications for crosstalk and systems noise are more rigorous than for earlier cabling standards. It is used to carry Ethernet 10Base-t, 100BaseTX, and 1000Base-T connections to 100 meters (328 feet). Cat-6 performs at high data transfer rates and delivers improved performance over Cat5e cable.
High standard Cat-6 connectors help reduce noise caused by crosstalk and system interference. NEXT (Near End Crosstalk), PSNEAX (Power Sum NEXT) as well as attenuation are lower when compared to Cat-5/5e. Cat-6 Cable is normally terminated in 8P8C modular connectors. These 8P8C modular connectors have at times been incorrectly referred to as RJ-45 electrical connectors.
Wherever two way communication is necessary, crossover is used for hub to hub, computer to computer. Older equipment requires the use of straight through cable. This cable is used to connect a switch to a client device, and a crossover cable that connects a switch to a switch or a client to a client. Gigabit Ethernet equipment, and most new 10/100Mb equipment supports automatic crossover. Either a straight through or crossover cable may be used for a connection.
The straight trough (pin 1 to pin 2, etc.) T568A scheme and the T568B scheme are the methods used when Cat-6 cable is terminated. The T568B scheme is the method most often used when terminating patch cables. Mixing the T568A terminated patch cords with T568B terminated cables (or vice versa) will not produce pinout problems in a facility. There may be a slight decrease in signal quality. But this will be no more than that produced by mixing cable brands in-channel.
The superior performance of Cat-6 cable is clear for customers, application developers and cabling system vendors. The improved signal-to-noise ratio is directly related to the throughput. Cat-6 provides improved data throughput. New applications are easier to implement on Cat-6 as the transmission performance is superior to the cat5e.
According to industry analysts, Cat-6 cabling will become the predominant media in the structured cabling market.
Fiber optics use light pulses to transmit information down fiber lines. Fiber optic cable is replacing copper lines, which use electronic pulses to transmit information. High speed fiber optic networks have a large carrying capacity and signals can be transmitted at a greater distance without need of strengthening or refreshing.
Optical fibers are widely used in fiber optic communications. Fiber optic cable functions as a light guide. Commonly used types of fiber optic cable are: single mode, multimode, and plastic optical fiber (POF). Fiber optic cable offers greater resistance to electromagnetic noise. Nearby cables, motors or radios are examples of such noise interference that cause greater problems when traditional copper wire lines are used.
A glass or plastic fiber that carries light along its length is called an optical fiber. This permits transmissions over longer distances. Also fiber optics allow for transmissions at higher bandwidths or data rates .They cover the long distances between local phone systems. Many networks use fiber optics as the core of their systems as well.
Fiber optic cable has become cheaper over time. Copper cable cost less per square foot. However the fiber optic cable has more capacity than the copper cable. Connectors for the fiber optic cable and the equipment needed to install them are more expensive. Removable connections for fiber optic cable require special connectors. When joining lengths of optical fiber together the ends of the fiber must be cleaved. They are then spliced together with an electric ark. This is done either mechanically or by fusion.
Total internal reflection keeps light in the core of the optical fiber. Because of the principal of total internal reflection, light moves easily down the fiber optic line. The fiber therefore acts as a waveguide. Single-mode fibers (SMF) can only support a single mode. Multi-mode fibers (MMF) support many traverse modes or propagation paths. Short distance communication lengths use multi-mode fibers, which usually have a larger core diameter. Where high power must be transmitted, multi-core fibers will be also used. For communication distances of more than550 meters (600) yards, single-mode fiber are most often used.
An optical fiber link in a commercial network will allow the transmittal of ten billion digital bits per second. Telephone calls numbering in the tens of thousands could be carried. Fibers consist of two layers of silica glass; the core and the cladding enclosed in a protective sheath.
Single Mode cable has a diameter of 8.3 to 10 microns. It is a single stand of glass fiber that has one mode of transmission. Single mode fiber has a higher transmission rate than Multi Mode. It also gives you up to 50 times more distance. Single Mode fiber provides the highest transmission speeds of any fiber cable type. But it is more expensive.
Multi Mode cable has a bigger diameter; in the 50 to 100 micron range for the light carry component. In most applications two fibers are used. Over medium distances Multi Mode fiber has high bandwidth at high speeds (10 to 100MBS – Gigabit to 275m to 2km).
Plastic optical fiber (POF) is a newer, plastic-based cable. POF promises performance similar to glass. POF will cost less than glass fibers but will only be used on very short runs.
For further information see the related topics:
- Importance of Hiring a Professional Voice & Data Cabling Company to Wire Your Houston Office
- Category 3 Cabling and Its Use In Business
- Category 5e Cabling and Its Use In Business
- Fiber optics Cabling and Its Use In Business
- Category 6 Cabling and Its Use in Business
- Professional Voice and Data Cabling is Absolutely Required to Run an Office Efficiently
- Data Cabling Businesses in Houston