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Structured Cabling is defined as building or campus telecommunications cabling infrastructure that consists of a number of standardized smaller elements (hence structured) called subsystems.
Structured cabling falls into the following six sub-systems:
- Entrance Facilities is where the building interfaces with the outside world.
- Equipment Rooms host equipment which serves the users inside the building.
- Telecommunications Rooms are where various telecommunications and data equipment resides, connecting the backbone and horizontal cabling sub-systems.
- Backbone Cabling, as the name suggests, carries the signals between the entrance facilities, equipment rooms and telecommunications rooms.
- Horizontal Cabling is the wiring from telecommunications rooms to the individual outlets on the floor.
- Work-Area Components connect end-user equipment to the outlets of the horizontal cabling system.
Structured cabling design and installation is governed by a set of standards that determine how to wire a data center, office or apartment building for data or voice communications, using Category 5 or Category 6 cable and modular sockets. These standards define how to lay the cabling in a star formation, such that all outlets terminate at a central patch panel (which is normally 19 inch rack-mounted), from where it can be determined exactly how these connections will be used. Each outlet can be ‘patched’ into a data network switch (normally also rack mounted alongside), or patched into a ‘telecoms patch panel’ which forms a bridge into a private branch exchange (PBX) telephone system, thus making the connection a voice port.*
* From Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structured_cabling