Structured Cabling

Backbone Cabling Explained

Are you thinking about installing a structured cabling system at your business? You may be curious about the different parts of the system, specifically the kind of cabling that goes into it.

Backbone cabling is a big component of structured cabling and works together with the other main subsystems to make up the overall system. This blog will teach you the ins and outs of backbone cabling and decide if structured cabling is right for your business.

What Is Backbone Cabling?

Backbone cabling is one of the six subsystems that make up a structured cabling system. These subsystems are:

  • Entrance facilities: Where your building’s cabling begins and the telephone company’s wiring ends.
  • Equipment rooms: Rooms storing or housing equipment or consolidation points.
  • Backbone cabling: Inter- and intra-building cable connections.
  • Horizontal cabling: Wiring that connects telecommunications rooms to outlets or different work areas.
  • Telecommunications room/enclosure: Space that connects the backbone cabling and horizontal cabling.
  • Work area components: Connections between the end-user’s equipment (computer, laptop, etc.) and outlets.

To put it simply, backbone cabling is the actual cabling that runs between entrance facilities, equipment rooms and telecommunications closets. Since an entrance facility is where your business’s cabling system starts and the telecommunications company’s ends, it really is the “backbone” of the entire system!

What Does Backbone Cabling Do?

Backbone cabling runs between different points of the structured cabling system itself, sending data from one place to another. Backbone cabling can be transmission media, cross-connects and terminations at these different points. “Transmission media,” in terms of structured cabling, stands for the cables that run between equipment rooms. Terminations are where the cables connect to a panel or piece of equipment, and a cross-connect is another cable that connects two terminations. To summarize, backbone cabling the highway for data and the points it connects to are exits.

There are three main types of cables that can be used for backbone cabling: fiber optic, twisted pair (shielded or unshielded) and coaxial. In general, fiber optic cable is the best option for any network because it can support high bandwidth use while still offering high performance.

Where Does Backbone Cabling Go?

Backbone cabling can run throughout the floors of a building, from equipment room to equipment room. It can also run between floors.

One important difference between backbone cabling and horizontal cabling in a structured cabling system is that horizontal cabling connects outlets and telecommunication rooms. So, while backbone cabling is present all throughout the building for a structured cabling system, you still need horizontal cabling to connect work areas and workstations.

When a data wiring company installs your structured cabling system, they’ll need to follow certain standards and regulations for backbone cabling. These standards are important because they help ensure that your structured cabling system performs well on a daily basis. These standards can govern how close the physical cables are to the telecommunications room and how they’re labeled.

Backbone Cabling Really Is the Backbone of Structured Cabling

While backbone cabling isn’t the only kind of cabling present in a structured cabling system, it definitely plays a major role in it. Backbone cabling sends data back and forth between the other subsystems present in the structured cabling system, acting as the main relay between the different equipment rooms, entrance facilities and telecommunications rooms. If data is the baton, then backbone cabling passes it back and forth to get to the finish line.

While it depends on your needs and what kind of pre-existing infrastructure you have, fiber optic cables are usually favored for backbone cabling due to their high performance capabilities and bandwidth. If you’re interested in using fiber optic cables for your business, a data wiring professional can give you more information on them as well as the entire installation process — from equipment basics to the entire installation process.

Get the 411 on structured cabling solutions and their benefits!