Structured Wiring – Setting Up Your Home Office Cabling
“Why should I upgrade my home basic cabling to a structured wiring system?”
1) Speed and Performance
Working at home is basically about networking, which demands high-speed Internet access. If you already have this kind of Internet connection, structured wiring can maximize speed and performance.
2) Adaptability and Readiness
Structured wiring is becoming the keystone of home offices. Phone, fax and video/television technologies can travel through it, while Virtual LANs and every other way of media and digital networks can be built on its basis. You might wonder how this is possible, since phone and fax communications are analog. Well, the thing is that voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)—a technology that lets us make phone calls using a broadband Internet connection—is gaining ground. Imagine all the possibilities that emerge when you integrate all your communication channels in a digital platform. With a structured wiring system, your home will be ready for VoIP and every other new technology that eventually comes up.
3) Organization and tidiness
Since a structured wiring system concentrates and organizes all the wires from scratch, it’s thought to minimize the amount of cables and plugs that you need in order to start home-networking.
“What is it made of?”
The structured wiring system consists of three parts:
1) A panel or module that receives connections from outside services. This is the link between your home and the outer network. They can vary slightly in functionality, but all reputable manufacturers’ products should conform to the 570-B standard. When it comes to choosing, focus on ease of installation, upgradeability and support from the manufacturer.
2) Wires and cables throughout the house. The data capacity of copper wire relays on the category (Cat) of the wire, and it is determined by how the wires are twisted. The main difference between the wiring designations is the frequency the wire is capable of transmitting, also known as bandwidth. Cat3, for instance, is rated up to a 16 MHz frequency, while Cat5 is rated at 100 MHz.
3) Connecting hardware. Connecting hardware is used to end the horizontal wiring in the wiring closet or at the workstation outlet.
“Ok, I want to install a structured wiring system at home. Where do I start?”
Structured wiring systems can come prepackaged, but it’s advisable to think of a plan including your specific needs before you buy one, since you might discover –later than sooner, that you’re lacking outlets, just to give you an example. Your plan should detail where the computers, printers, phones and media will be set up and where conference calls and media viewing will take place.
Follow the standards
Standards exist to simplify things and give you on hand solutions when common issues arise. If you are considering structured wiring, consider EIA-TIA 570-B. The residential telecommunications cabling standard was developed in 2004 as a voluntary guideline by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). “The 570-B is a set of specifications and best practices that detail the technologies to install and the proper methods for the installation,” says Ian Hendler, director of business development for Leviton Integrated Networks, Little Neck, N.Y.
The 570-B recommends a minimum of Cat5e (enhanced) for communications. Coaxial cable, used primarily by the cable television industry and widely used for computer networks, as well as RG6, a coaxial cable system recommended by satellite TV system manufacturers, are still part of the specifications. If you need faster speed, Cat 6—a sixth generation of twisted copper wire pairs designed to support communications at more than twice the speed of Cat5e—is recommended. Fiber-optic cable is also becoming more readily available, but compare the benefits and costs of upgrading to fiber optics before making your decision.
Choosing a Layout
Layouts for structured wiring are ways of organizing the physical connections between terminals and the panel. In the “star” layout, each outlet has its own connection to the service panel. This makes the system flexible, helps to isolate any problem, and reduces interference. Pre-wiring all possible locations while walls are still open will save time and money.
Before installing structured wiring, be sure to label the various hubs, routers, patch cords, wires, and sockets. Bugs in the network will be easier to detect and solve if all the components are marked. It’s also advisable to make a map or a blueprint of the system when the system is being installed. Try to not put this off for later, or you might forget important details that you had in mind only at the beginning.
Although structured wiring does not require a certified installer, in order to ensure the system is installed properly and that it meets all your needs -including expansion capabilities, it’s recommended that at least you count on professional advice. Going on your own might bring you only headaches and end up in a loss of money and time.
Integrated Systems Installers is a premiere network cabling expert in Denver. We have over 13 years of experience in the field. If you are seriously considering a structured wiring system for your home office, don’t hesitate to give us a call at any time, and we’ll help you in the process of understanding your needs. Don’t forget to take a look at our services page, so you can get to know us better.