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  • Writer's pictureIllinois Business Communications

How to Make the Right Decision for Your Cabling Infrastructure

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Technology is constantly changing. Manufacturers of data and VoIP network servers and switches are trying to make their hardware deliver faster transmission speeds with almost every upgrade of their product. So, choosing a good cabling infrastructure is important. Your cabling and network hardware is the life-blood of your company. The cabling you choose dictates how fast your network can be. You can buy the newest fastest servers and switches, but if your cable is only rated for 1GB, then that is how fast your network will be.


Do you own or lease your facility?

If you own your building and plan to stay in that facility I would highly recommend installing at least cat6 cabling. If you lease you need to think about how long you are planning to stay. Does your network need to be at a greater speed right now, or in the near future than cat5e cabling is capable of?

Does your company intend to use any PoE (power over Ethernet) devices?

If you are going to install any PoE devices such as a VoIP phone system, cameras, door access, WIFI or any other devices then it is recommended to install at a minimum category 6 cable. Cat 6 and higher rated cabling is recommended because it can handle the power required for these devices better than Cat5e cabling. TIA has a new bulletin TSB-184-A to address IEEE 802.3bt (type 4) 100W PoE standards. TSB-184-A may recommend Cat-6A cable to support 100 watt PoE when ratified in 2016.

Do you intend to utilize a training room or conference room?

This is another reason to choose Cat6 cabling - it’s replacing HDMI as the A/V transmission standard of the future.

Do you own a manufacturing company?

Some plants may require these cables to be industrial grade. This includes EMI and hazard materials, which may cause damage to the outer sheath of the cable. If you are a meat manufacturer, and have a freezer where you need to store products at very cold temperatures, then you will need a cable where the sheath is rated for that environment.

What does category 6 or 6a do for my network compared to category 5e? Because of its improved transmission performance and superior immunity from external noise, systems operating over category 6 cabling will have fewer errors vs. category 5e for current applications. This means fewer retransmissions of lost or corrupted data packets under certain conditions, which translates into higher reliability for category 6 networks compared to category 5e networks. These are some obvious benefits to cat6 cabling.

From a future proofing perspective, it is usually better to install the best cabling available. This is because it is so difficult to replace cabling inside walls, in ducts under floors and other difficult places to access. The rationale is that cabling will last at least 10 years and will support at least four to five generations of equipment during that time. If future equipment running at much higher data rates requires better cabling, it will be very expensive to pull out category 5e cabling at a later time to install category 6 cabling. So why not install cat 6 for only about 20 percent over category 5e on an installed basis?

When do I need Fiber Optic cable?

Unlike copper cables, optical fiber cables are made up of hair-line filaments drawn from molten silica glass. There are numerous advantages to optical fiber cables, which come in two basic types, multimode and single mode. One advantage is that they can be run for much longer distances, are immune to electrical interference and disturbances, and they can take much less space in cable pathways. Another and perhaps the most important advantage are the tremendous bandwidth and transmission speed capabilities of optical fiber, especially for video applications.

Depending on the transmission source technology, multimode fiber is capable of delivering 10 Gigabit Ethernet at 550 meters, and single mode can deliver 10 Gigabit Ethernet at 40,000 meters.

Do you need a warranty to protect your investment?

All major connectivity manufacturers offer a warranty combined with the cabling manufacturers. These warranties usually range from 10 years to lifetime warranties.

How do I choose a good contractor to install my cabling infrastructure?

A good partner should have manufacturer trained technicians.

To learn more, visit, call 630-860-2266 or email us at

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