Building_Cat6I am often asked which structured cabling category I would choose for a project. Most engineers’ response should be, “It depends.” It depends on many considerations, such as:

  • Site size
  • Business type
  • Building type
  • Life expectancy of the installation 

Engineers tend to call these decision parameters. Yes, we are that warped.

Every cabling investment is an endeavor to succeed and that the company will thrive and grow, based on a responsible business plan.

For example, 15 years ago my wife and I were trying to decide which house we wanted for our future family. We were on a tight budget. We chose an apartment, even though we knew we would need more space soon. You know the old saying, “Don’t live beyond your means.”

Of course in the end, we had to move and paid a lot more for a townhouse.

So, what does this story have to do with cabling? Re-cabling a whole building (i.e., an office, hospital, airport or any other premise) is more traumatic than a domestic move. You either do it one piece at a time, inconveniencing many employees in process, or you move into temporary location to reinstall the cabling in the now empty site. So, you’d better choose properly the first time to avoid recabling.

The image above shows a building in Spain where the first Category 6 installation took place in 1997. I was involved in the project and the chosen solution was GigaSPEED. The property owner was brave to choose the cabling type because Category 6 wasn’t a standardized category (it become a TIA and ISO category in 2002). The usual option was Category 5/5e.

His courage was rewarded. Today, that installation is still fully capable to support 1 Gb Ethernet for many years. If the property owner had chosen Category 5, they would be considering whether to re-cable or not and deal with all the associated costs and headaches (I know there are market solutions supporting 2.5G/5G over Category 5 but supported distances are not the standard 100 meters).

Recently, Matias Peluffo’s reported that Category 5e cabling, which is used in many offices around the world, will be considered obsolete for new installations following a decision this month by the ISO/IEC cabling standards body.

When I am asked today about cable installation, my default recommendation is to install Category 6A (obviously my natural choice is GigaSPEED X10D). It supports a broad set of applications, including 10G Ethernet. If you are deciding between Category 6 and Category 6A, a slightly greater investment may imply considerable savings in the long term.

By the way, I stick to my recommendations. I installed GigaSPEED X10D in my home and I don’t foresee a re-cabling project for decades.

If you have any questions about which cabling to deploy for your facility, leave a comment below and I will be sure to respond.

About the Author

Ricardo Diaz

Ricardo Diaz is the manager of digital tools and technology for CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. He is responsible for defining the direction of CommScope’s digital tools, applications and interactive capabilities. Located in the Madrid Area in Spain, Mr. Diaz leads this effort through the development of comprehensive digital technology strategies. He develops tools that position CommScope as a leader in solutions marketing, leverages applications and systems to increase efficiency of the internal teams and customers, integrates electronic tools across CommScope with the support of IT, and creates roadmaps and architectures that will be flexible in incorporating new technologies into the marketing mix. Before joining CommScope, Mr. Diaz worked as a tech manager for both Lucent Technologies and Avaya. Upon CommScope’s acquisition of Avaya, Mr. Diaz became an engineer program manager, and was subsequently promoted to technical manager before gaining his current role. Mr. Diaz graduated from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid with a telecommunications engineering degree.

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Comments

4 comments for "More is Less… Even When You Deploy Cable"
Tobias Armstrong Wednesday, February 10, 2016 11:21 PM

Data cabling is one of those things that I've never really thought about until I got into a business where it's required for efficient work. It's crazy that so much is based on cabling well, and it's an industry that I feel like gets overlooked a lot, especially for how important it is. Thanks for sharing your personal input!

Grace Turner Friday, February 26, 2016 1:40 PM

This website really made me realize just how important it is to make sure your electrician does your cabling right the first time because re-cabling sounds like a big hassle. We are building our starting the process of building our own home and my husband thought it would be fun to do some of the cabling on his own. He has some experience but I have been hesitant to let him. I think we will just go with a professional because it will save us the hassle of re doing the cabling in 5 years, thank you for your opinion.

Ricardo Friday, July 08, 2016 10:17 AM

Thanks Tobias,
Definitely, since the cabling is the foundation for the network, it is something to pay attention to. Glad to read you also consider it critical!
(sorry for taking so long to reply, we had an issue with the comments system)

Ricardo Friday, July 08, 2016 10:22 AM

Thanks Grace,
Well, doing your DIY data or voice cabling is not as dangerous as the electrical cabling (for obvious safety reasons) but still I think it would be good to count on a professional assistance to install the cabling... it is not as easy as it seems to be, and you need specialized tools and skills. Please consider our solutions and you will not repent!
(sorry for taking so long to reply, we had an issue with the comments system)

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