Many businesses, both private and public, are turning to structured cabling systems to increase productivity. It’s easy to see why. Structured cabling systems connect multiple hardware systems, improve performance, minimize downtime, make troubleshooting painless, which all give a business the flexibility they need to keep things ticking over. These systems are facilitate reliable and quick access to network printing, internet access, file-sharing or any other IT solution in the work-space. You can use this guide to help determine if a structured cabling system is something your business needs.
Is Structured Cabling for You?
You may want to consider making the switch to a structured system if any of the following sounds familiar:
You experience repetitive downtime – Point to point connections or unmanaged network topologies can cause downtime in multiple ways. Firstly, bulky, unorganized cables not only detracts the appearance of your work environment, but it can cause huge delays when it comes to troubleshooting. Secondly, human error when installing or changing ports can result in the entire system dropping, which results in a major loss in productivity.
Growing number of computers – As the computers, servers and devices on your network increases, it becomes more and more difficult to keep things arranged. A structured system will connect all your devices in an organized manner so you can focus on more important things. It will also ensure that the additional nodes on the network don’t slow things down or cause instability, which keeps your business running smoothly.
You’re starting a new business – Now is the time to get ahead of the game. Start your business off right with a clean, efficient cabling system. Technology isn’t going to go backward. At some point, you’ll need to make the switch so you might as well get it all correctly installed from the start. Based on our experience, it almost always saves you money in the long run.
Benefits of Structured Cabling for Networking
Cabling solutions for the modern business has come a long way in the last decade. This comes with good reason, since almost all devices have some requirement on network infrastructure. When properly installed, a structured system can bring some significant benefits. Let’s dive into what networking advantages are associated with choosing a structured cabling system.
Maximized availability – A structured cabling system will be more predictable and much easier to troubleshoot, which significantly cuts downtime out of the picture. If something does fail, it makes it easy for a technician to find the fault, make the repair or replacement and get you back up and running.
Excellent flexibility – Parts or all your structured system can easily be upgraded, moved, or changed to meet your future needs. The polar opposite of this approach is installing systems that cannot be easily modified, which usually results in downtime during maintenance, or even when installing new technologies.
Increased productivity. If your network cabling system performs well (even under load), is resilient against failure and can be easily upgraded or expanded in the future, it will be much easier for your staff (and yourself) to focus on your business, instead of the technology that supports it. If you are tried of problems with your network, just give us a shout and we can help you sort things out quickly.
Copper Network Cabling
For most businesses, CAT5e or CAT6 network cables fit their needs perfectly. Ethernet over Copper (EoC) is comprised of twisted copper wire, all safely housed in their respective jackets. This type of network cabling is very affordable and although it is subject to external interference (EMI, RFI, etc.), it is definately the most popular in most cases.
Copper network cabling is also more likely to be compatible with your computer systems than newer fiber optics cabling. In most cases, if you decide to go the fibre route instead, you will have increased price overhead due to the hardware upgrades (usually) needed for your intermediary devices (switches, routers, etc.).
Although copper cabling is a low-cost alternative to fiber optics cabling, you’ll need to be aware of how far you are from your telecommunications lines which can affect your reception. Copper cabling doesn’t provide as much security or have as much bandwidth available for data throughput as as fiber optics, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Fiber Optic Network Cabling
Fiber optics network cabling is the solution for businesses that require fast, high bandwidth communications over longer distances. Although it is still not commonly run to your user workstations, it is a fantastic option for servers and network backbone links due to their speed and low latency.
These cables use a thin glass core that transmits laser light pulses instead of electricity (like copper). Not only does this make the transmission of data very quick, but it also eliminates the inherent issue with copper, namely external interference. In fact, fibre is completely immune to the effects of electromagnetic forces and radio frequencies.
It may be the latest and greatest in technology, but there are some downsides to it as well. Fibre is more expensive than copper, requires your switches, routers, etc. to support it (usually requires some upgrades) and is also harder to run the lines, since it is not very flexible. However, once it is in place, you will see the benefits immediately.
Wi-Fi is also an option and can maximize your space by limiting the overall amount of wiring necessary to keep you connected. Almost every business in South Africa is using wireless networks, but few understand how to secure it properly and take advantage of technology to mesh multiple access point ranges together.
Wireless access points transmit your data over the air using radio frequencies. Your endpoints (such as laptops, desktops, mobile devices, etc.) then “tune in” to that frequency (much like your car radio) in order to transmit information. An effective wireless survey (which we do) will help maximize your coverage while keeping your costs down to a minimum.
There have been major improvements in speed and reliability over the years, which we can help you take advantage of. The latest wireless standard (802.11ac) provides speeds that are quadruple the older standards (in most cases) and the good news is that the equipment needed is not very expensive. We have experts that can help you figure out how to take advantage of this technology.
In conclusion, structured cabling systems are inevitable for any business that plans to grow. They reduce downtime and increase productivity all while lowering your overhead. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you choose to use copper or fiber optics cabling. However, there are some definite benefits to using fiber optics cabling such as a faster, more secure network. Feel free to contact us for further information on network solutions for your business. We’d be happy to discuss the best options to suit your needs.