Network Cabling 101

IT guy fixing servers in a server room

There is no one-size-fits-all method to networking and infrastructure. Businesses are unique, and a Band-Aid approach never solved networking problems or protected a business. When you consider the responsibilities and goals of your company’s network, you will soon discover why network cabling and strategic mapping is absolutely necessary.


What are Your Goals for Your Network?

When you are creating a new network for your business, don’t lose sight of your goals while still focusing on your company’s day-to-day operations. When you are planning a new network, consider a few factors first:

  • What are your business’s daily connection needs?
  • Do you need to plan for scalability?
  • What types and how many devices are on your network?
  • What type of data are transmitting on your network?
  • What does your network budget look like?
  • What type of applications and devices do you and your employees use most, and on what bandwidth do they rely?
  • What does your existing infrastructure look like? Are you replacing, upgrading, or replacing completely?
  • How does the set-up of the space your business occupies hinder or support your network? How can you optimize the space, such as door trims, walls, carpets, corners, and electrical outlets?


Types of Cables

You don’t just plug in and go. You need to consider connection types, devices, speeds and hardware that accompany each cable type. The common cable types include:

  • Coaxial cables
  • Fiber optic cable
  • Unshielded twisted pair cable
  • Shielded twisted pair cable
  • Wireless


Cables for Connectivity

When you are designing your network’s cabling system, keep in mind the depth or reach of your system. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you will probably choose one of the three most common scales.

  1. LAN (Local Area Network)

LAN is what you typically find in most single-building businesses that connect only their own computers and equipment together. A company may choose to go wireless, to connect directly to the net with an Ethernet, or to utilize twisted pair cables.

  1. WAN (Wide Area Network)

A wide area network is for larger companies with greater connectivity demands. WANs are used to connect companies or offices with multiple, locally or nationally. For example, banks and other companies that tend to have a home office utilize WAN, which relies on various connection methods, speeds, bandwidths and devices for effective and comprehensive connectivity.

  1. CAN (Campus Area Network)

This is the connection you think of when you talk about large campuses or businesses with multiple offices within a single geographic location. CAN is a network that connects multiple LANs.


Now, to decide which cables you need, the type of connection your company requires, and where it all goes, you can start brainstorming, hiring contractors, making phone calls and tackling most of it by yourself. Or, you can call the professionals at IT NOW for thorough, reliable and dedicated network cabling services and expertise.