Today we have a wide choice of products designed to work on a common structured wiring system. The structured wiring system must be installed then tested to industry standards to ensure compatibility. In this industry, there are no points given for creativity. Everyone must follow the same set of standards. Splitting the pairs on a cable will make the cable non-standard and useless in many structured applications.

When you need a computer network installed, insist on a qualified installation including proper testing and documentation. For more information on structured cabling, go to our contact page and we will get back to you ASAP.

Thanks for your time.

Gary W Lee, RCDD**BICSI,
Registered Communication Distribution Designer

If you have been in business for any time, or around computer networks, you have heard the wiring geeks throwing around terms like Cat5, Cat6, Home run, Patch panels, and such. To most people they mean nothing. To us in the cabling industry they mean everything.

When I first started in the telephone business back in 1982, there was no such thing as Cat5 cables. The phone systems at the time mostly used the old 25 pair “fat wire” cables that were terminated or punched down on 66 blocks in the telephone room (where everyone stores the mop bucket). Many times the 25 pair cables were “daisy chained” from phone to phone. Most of the pairs (not talking fruit here, everything in the phone industry is in pairs of wires. i.e. White/Blue pair, white/orange pair etc.) were common, so it made sense for that application.

The daisy chain wiring was also used in residential applications using the old red, green, black, yellow 4 conductor JK cables. This also made sense at the time because we only had the old single line phones all hooked up to the same line. Also, home computers and the internet were of no consideration.

I’ll spare you the details of the process, but fast forward to present day. You will have learned that Home Run is not just a baseball term. Now each cable must be home run back to a single location (yes, we still usually keep our mop bucket there) There are few applications with today’s technology where wires are common to other devices. Each cable is run back and eventually patched into a computer network or a phone system (or some other IP internet protocol device).

This brings us to what is so important about the structured part of structured cabling installation. First of all, a cat5 cable is not a structured cable. If the cat5 cable is used in a non-structured application, then it is just a 4 pair twisted copper cable. All the engineering that went into the design of the cable is of no use if the cable is not properly installed for the application. A perfect example of this is a residential application where cat5 cables was used to daisy chain phone jacks together and connect a phone line to the home. The cable will work in the very narrow application; however you will be limited to the most basic 1980’s applications.

Just what is structured about structured cabling and why should I care?