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  • Writer's pictureIllinois Business Communications

Structured Cabling Explained

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

In the cable world, the term structured cabling gets thrown around often. People use it as a buzzword, but what does it really mean? What exactly is structured cabling?

According to the Fiber Optic Association, structured cabling is the standardized architecture and components for communications cabling specified by the EIA/TIA TR42 committee and used as a voluntary standard by manufacturers to ensure interoperability.

If you do a Google search of TIA TR42, you will learn structured cabling is even more technically defined and outlined by TIA 568. You can see that this path leads to lots of lengthy and highly technical language, but if that's not what you are looking for our next question is for you.

What Is Structured Cabling?

Structured Cabling is defined as building or campus telecommunications cabling infrastructure, which consists of a number of standardized smaller elements (structured).

A properly designed and installed structure cabling system provides a cabling infrastructure that delivers predictable performance, as well as has the flexibility to accommodate moves, additions, and changes; maximizes system availability; provides redundancy; and future proofs the usability of the cabling system.

What Does Structured Cabling Look Like?

Structured cabling is an organized approach to cabling infrastructure. Although it may seem backward, to fully understand this concept it is easiest to look at what structured cabling isn’t. In many data centers, the cabling methodology used is defined as “point-to-point”. That method runs patch cables directly to and from the hardware that needs connectivity.

In a structured cabling system, a series of patch panels and trunks are used to create a structure that allows for hardware ports to be connected to a patch panel at the top of the rack. That patch panel is then connected to another patch panel via a trunk (multi-fiber assembly designed for use in conveyance) in the MDA (Main Distribution Area).

The MDA is the key aspect of structured cabling. This is where all the MAC’s (Moves, Adds, and Changes) can be made with short length patch cords.

Having a structured cabling provider and lend the expertise and support you need to ensure your organizations infrastructure runs properly.

If you are in need of a good partner for structured cabling and manufacturer trained technicians, contact us at 630-860-2266 or email us at

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