How To Setup Network Data/Voice Cabling

How To Setup Network Data/Voice Cabling

If you own a business workplace or are planning to do so, then you must know that data and voice cables is something you will have to invest in. This is a mandatory investment. No matter how upgraded your computers, telephone, fax machine or other hardware are, without a good cabling system, they are useless. You might be indecisive about installing data/voice cabling.

There’s no reason to work up your nerves! You can now rest assured because the benefits it comes with will substantially outweigh the hassle. This article is your go-to guide to know all there is about data/voice cabling.

Are data/voice cabling and standard wiring the same thing?

Many people confuse data/voice cabling and standard wiring assuming they are the same thing. However, this is not the case. Data/voice cabling and standard wiring are two completely different things. Data/voice cabling is a more advanced and sophisticated version of standard wiring. A wire system has a single conductor whereas data/voice cabling is a group of conductors working together.

Apart from that, data/voice cabling is the newest technology available in terms of the wiring system. They are also upgraded to better versions on a yearly basis. An increasing number of businesses are now opting for them and installing them into their establishments.

Should you go for data/voice cabling over standard wiring?

Everyone wants the best for their business. Data cabling comes with many preloaded factors that would prove beneficial for your business in many ways. Here is a list of the reasons:

The newest technology

Whenever a new and advanced technology is available, business owners’ readily go for that. Long gone are the days of standard wiring. The latest technology that has the business community abuzz is data cabling.

Better investment

It has been a long while since entrepreneurs realized that a good investment would eventually pay off by benefits. Data/voice cabling is a great investment to enhance your computer infrastructure. Although there are installment and switching costs involved initially, you will be glad later for taking this decision.

Cables over wireless

You may be wondering, why would you still stick to cables in this era of wireless networks? Well, it is because wireless networks do not provide as good of a service as cables do. Although the thought of so many wires attached may hold you back, there are now many professional companies who will install this pristinely at your workplace. They hide it so well inside the walls and ceilings that even you will not be able to tell!

Running a cable for business is important because of wireless interference. If you decide to go wireless only environment, you have to consider your wireless access controller and access point. This is to make your wireless network really stable to carry both data and voice.


If you thought the standard wiring system was impressive for all these years, then you will be surprised by the services of data/voice cabling. This will greatly improve your network capabilities. The quality standards data cabling maintain is much higher than that of standard wiring systems.

Higher efficiency

It is a proven fact that data cabling is faster, better and more efficient compared to standard wiring. This allows your business to operate at a higher rate of speed giving you optimum results every time. Speeding up procedures at a business workplace is very important as it also reduces operational costs.

Integrated system

This is one of the many beneficial features that data cabling provides. An integrated system is self-explanatory by the name as it integrates all your systems. Rather than having different lines for different purposes, you can now have it in one combined system. Running phone lines, internet lines, data cabling and other types of wiring can all be done under one integrated system.

Different Types of Data Cables

There are many types of cables available, but some are specifically designed for the purpose of cabling and wiring services. These are known as CAT, a short form of cable and telephone.

Twisted Pair

To better understand the CAT cables, it is necessary to understand about twisted pair cables. This is widely used in telecommunication and computer networks. It is known as a twisted pair because two cables are twisted together doing their unique functions. Among the two wires, one carries signals, and the other is used as a ground reference. The twisting helps prevent data communications from signal degradation. These have a set limit of 300 feet for a stretch after which they can be corrupted. These are of two types: STP and UTP.

  • Shielded Twisted Pair (STP): This is the more common one between the two types. This has a metal shield covering which reduces the amount of signal degradation from alien sources.
  • Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP): This has the same functions as the STP but is not shielded. This means that it is vulnerable to signal degradation from outside sources.

CAT 5 Cable

CAT 5 stands for category 5. This is an Ethernet network cable. These use the 5th generation of twisted pair Ethernet technology. They support fast Ethernet speeds and have a limited run the length of 100 meters. They can support gigabit speeds at shorter distances.

CAT 5 cables are slightly different from the traditional twisted pair. Typically, twisted pairs have four pairs of copper wires. CAT 5, on the other hand, has only two pairs and that is why they are fast Ethernet communications. Also, the wire pairs in CAT cables are not twisted as tightly as in a twisted pair. This, however, gives them a higher risk of signal interference, which also increases with distance.

CAT 5 cables can be of two types: solid and stranded. Both of these have their suitable purposes. Solid CAT 5 cables are more suitable for longer length runs. These work best in a fixed configuration such as in office buildings and commercial spaces. On the other hand, stranded CAT 5 cables serve the purpose of shorter distance, movable cables. An example of use is on-the-fly patch cables.

CAT 5E Cable

This is also a network Ethernet cabling that uses four pairs of twisted wires. This is a common and emerging type of data cable. Although faster means exist, most computers hooked up to a LAN using a CAT 5e cable. CAT 5e cables are also of two types, as mentioned above, solid and stranded.

The functionality of the solid cables is the same as for CAT 5 cables, but it is slightly different for stranded cables. In this case, stranded cables have six wires with small diameters. These surround a center conductor wire inside each of the twisted pairs. Having six different wires provides the benefit of flexibility. Thus, it is better suited to short distance cable runs. These are mainly used for patch cables and cross overruns.

Other than that, CAT 5E cables provide a smoother network and have a higher data transfer speed. It also allows you to connect your laptop, personal computer, router, DSL modem, patch panel, hub, and other high-speed networks. It is recommended for both voice and data applications.

CAT 6 Cable

CAT 6 refers to the sixth generation of Ethernet cabling. This can be used in both home and business networks if you have a small business. This supports gigabit Ethernet data at a speed of 1 gigabyte per second. They are also limited to a distance of 164 feet for a single cable.

They, like any other typical twisted pair, support four pairs of copper wires. All the pairs are used for signaling which gives it a high level of performance. CAT 6 cables are more advanced than the previous versions. It provides more enhanced crosstalk and reduction protection. It uses the RJ45 standard connector.

CAT 6A Cable

This stands for category six augmented cable standard. As this suggests, it improves the features of the already existing CAT 6 cables. They are slightly thicker and more expensive in comparison to CAT 6 cables. They use the same RJ45 standard connector.

CAT 6A have double the bandwidth speed compared to CAT 6. This is 500 MHz up from 250 MHz and has tighter twists compared to CAT 6. This augmentation brings with it two benefits. First, it is more reliable with higher transmission speeds among greater lengths of cable. Second, it decreases the chance of crosstalk interference giving you a smooth experience.  CAT 6A cables are mostly STPs which makes them ideal for industrial use.

CAT 7 Cable

This is the latest version of cables, known as Category 7 cables. This is the most advanced and requires a GigaGate45 connection. It has the fastest speed to offer at shorter distances. It is a shielded twisted pair cable (STP) that uses high-speed Ethernet-based computer network. The speed is 1 gigabyte per second or higher. It is also known as ISO Class F cable.

The CAT 7 cable has some similarities to CAT 6 cables. In a sense, it has the same four pairs of twisted cables. This can stretch up to a hundred meters in length and has a bandwidth speed of 600 MHz. CAT 7 cables use upgraded versions of the STP which are a screen-shielded twisted pair (SSTP) or screen-foiled twisted pair (SFTP) based cabling. Furthermore, it has a life span of more than 15 years.

CAT 7a Cable

CAT 7a cable is the augmented version of CAT 7 cables. This is a high-speed 10 Gigabit F-Type cable consisting of four twisted pair conductors. It is described to be the best in many ways. Such as, it provides 10-Gigabit Ethernet, Power over Ethernet up to 100 watts, HDBaseT and more. It has conductor pairs that are wrapped individually by foil and then surrounded by an overall braid. This allows multiple applications to run safely on the cables. Additionally, it also provides protection from electromagnetic interference (EMI) that helps suppress surrounding noise.

Which data cable would you choose?

Now you have a good grasp of the different types of cables available out there. However, the question remains, which one would you choose? Here are a few tips to get you going:

Proper Planning

You may get confused with so many different types of cables. You should plan beforehand according to the plans and scalability of your business. Then you should opt for the best option. In recent years, cables have developed a lot. The latest ones can support more than 1000 Mbps of data and have a high number of specs. Therefore, it will last longer and let you do more things with it for a longer time.

Ask yourself where you want to see the business in the long run, say in the next five years. Plan and buy your cables according to that.

Smart investment

There is no doubt that better things come with a higher price tag. However, if you buy cables with less efficiency and features, such as a CAT 5, you may soon have to replace it. This will cause you to spend more than what you expected in the first place. For one thing, you will face replacement and maintenance costs. Investing in the best one suited to the needs of your business will give you a better payback in the long run.

Testing Infrastructure

Installation of cables does come with some maintenance costs. For one thing, you should get your network infrastructure tested at regular intervals. This will prevent you from severe damage and high expenses. You should conduct the tests at least once in every 8 to 10 years. This must include checking your voice and data cabling and the spec of cabling.

Make sure you get the job done by a professional company. Some companies provide a warranty of up to 25 years, so choosing a company with a warranty will help cut down costs.

Bottom Line

As beginners, that is all you ought to know before installing a cable. One crucial thing to keep in mind is to aim for the best and latest or eventually you will have to change. Don’t forget to get the cable infrastructure tested at regular intervals. Leave it to the professionals to attain the best of service!