CommScope Definitions: What is Structured Cabling?

Dave Tanis_headshot Dave Tanis September 18, 2015

what is structured cablingThis blog post is part of a series called “CommScope Definitions” in which we will explain common terms in communications network infrastructure.


Imagine getting a new desk light for your home office. You are anxious to try it out, but instead of simply plugging it in to a nearby power outlet, you have to run an extension cord all the way down to the basement to the breaker panel. And then you have to do the same thing for a new printer or any other device requiring power.

Early IT networks were connected much the same way – with patch cordsbefore structured cabling and its complimentary standards were developed. Simply put, structured cabling is a cabling infrastructure that provides an organized, standardized approach to cabling that enables simple changes to an IT network.

In addition to fixed connection points, similar to the fixed power cabling that runs to power outlets, the structured cabling standards define a series of subsystems which facilitate design, installation, operations and maintenance of IT networks.

Each of the major cabling standards groups, namely ISO/IEC, TIA and CENELEC established standards for structured cabling in commercial offices, data centers, campuses and more. These standards help specify the types of cabling and components used in these environments, including:

Standardization of connectors, copper and fiber cabling performance categories and design guidelines have greatly simplified the planning and implementation of IT networks.

The structured cabling concept has become so successful that other non-IT applications, such as Building Automation Services, security and high definition audiovisual have also incorporated the same concept to ensure that end devices can be upgraded or changed out without having to change out the entire cabling infrastructure.

Things have come a long way since the structured cabling solutions started to take hold in the places we work and live, but their benefits through standardization have made them an integral part of our work and society.

To learn more about the evolving structured cabling and its related standards activities, subscribe to our quarterly standards report here.

Related Sources

Pre-terminated Cabling Solutions for the Data Center

InstaPATCH® QUATTRO: Introduction

InstaPATCH® 360 Introduction

Modular Preterminated Copper Solutions Video

About the Author

Dave Tanis_headshot

Dave Tanis

David Tanis is the Director of Strategic Enterprise Marketing at CommScope. Dave joined the team in April, 2005 and has overall responsibility for driving solutions and product marketing for enterprise customers throughout North America. Dave has over 20 years experience in the telecommunications industry. He joined AT&T Network Systems in 1984 as Product Engineer and held a number of positions in their manufacturing facility in North Andover, MA, USA. He joined Lucent Technologies in 1996 and assumed the role of EMEA Technical Manager for Optical Fiber and Cable in 1998. With the acquisition of the Lucent Optical Fiber and Cable business by Furukawa and CommScope in 2001, Dave assumed the role of EMEA Technical Director, OFS. Dave continued in this role for OFS until April 2005, when he joined SYSTIMAX Solutions as EMEA Technical Director. Dave has published several papers in various industry trade journals and is a regular presenter at industry conferences. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Vermont and a Masters in Business Administration from Boston University in the USA.