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What is Data Cabling ?

Data cables are a crucial part of any IT infrastructure. Without data cables you would be unable to transmit data between two points e.g. from a server to an individual PC. Accordingly, you need the right data cables for your specific needs to remain productive. But the world of data cables can be complex. There are many different categories available and understanding which one is best for you can be difficult. Getting to grips with data cables is important, so let’s look at how you can make the right choice.

What Types of Data Cables Are There?

There are three main types of data cables available:

·         Twisted Pair: These data cables use a pair of twisted copper cores and are mostly found in telecommunications. The purpose of this twisted construction is to minimise any degradation to the signal. One of the twisted cores is used to transmit information while the other acts as a grounding wire. Typically, a Cat 6 cable – which uses the twisted pair design – can carry data over 100m without any signal degradation.


·         Coaxial: Most commonly seen in older IT infrastructures, coaxial cables have high bandwidths and are capable of carrying high frequency signals. These cables use a solid wire at their centre as a conductor – which is within an insulator – and then an outer conductor is used to create a functioning circuit. This type of cable is popular in digital telephone networks due to the amount of data they can carry.


·         Fibre Optic: One of the newer forms of data cabling, fibre optic cabling has brought revolutionary technology to cabling. Fibre optic cables use beams of light to transmit data and consist of an inner core and outer cladding. The cables are lightweight and capable of transmitting data over distances of up to 10km and at maximum speeds of 10 gigabits per second. Fibre optic cables are most used within telecommunications, cable TV and local area networks.

A commonly asked question is whether ethernet cables are the same as data cables. The answer to this comes down to terminology. The term ethernet refers to a local area network rather than a specific cable. Any data cable used within such a network can technically be referred to as an ethernet cable.

Data Cabling Installation

One of the best methods to adopt when it comes to data cabling is the structured cabling approach. This method uses patch panels and trunks to build an infrastructure whereby subsystems can be set up to support multiple hardware uses. Most importantly, structured cabling is scalable and makes future expansion much easier. These cabling systems can integrate twisted pair, coaxial and fibre optic – although these different categories cannot directly connect with each other – and make it a versatile option.
The installation of data cabling, whether it is structured or the more traditional point-to-point method, is a complex undertaking. Rather than taking this on yourself, it pays to bring in the services of a professional. Not only will they be able to deliver an installation which operates to a high standard, but the stress that they save you will be invaluable.

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