Sunday, June 19, 2011

Subsystems of a Structured Cabling System

The ANSI/TIA-568-C.1 standard breaks structured cabling into six areas:
  • Horizontal cabling
  • Backbone cabling
  • Work area
  • Telecommunications rooms and enclosures
  • Equipment rooms
  • Entrance facility (building entrance)
This chapter provides an overview of the ANSI/TIA-568-C standard and is not meant as a substitute for the official document. Cabling professionals should purchase a full copy; you can do so at the Global Engineering Documents website (

Horizontal Cabling

Horizontal cabling, as specified by ANSI/TIA-568-C.1, is the cabling that extends from horizontal cross-connect, intermediate cross-connect, or main cross-connect to the work area and terminates in telecommunications outlets (information outlets or wall plates). Horizontal cabling includes the following:
  • Cable from the patch panel to the work area
  • Telecommunications outlets
  • Cable terminations
  • Cross-connections (where permitted)
  • A maximum of one transition point
  • Cross-connects in telecommunications rooms or enclosures
Figure 1 shows a typical horizontal-cabling infrastructure spanning out in a star topology from a telecommunications room. The horizontal cabling is typically connected into patch panels and switches/hubs in telecommunications rooms or enclosures. A telecommunications room is sometimes referred to as a telecommunications closet or wiring closet. A telecommunications enclosure is essentially a small assembly in the work area that contains the features found in a telecommunications room.
Transition point ANSI/TIA-568-C allows for one transition point in horizontal cabling. The transition point is where one type of cable connects to another, such as where round cable connects to under-carpet cable. A transition point can also be a point where cabling is distributed out to modular furniture. Two types of transition points are recognized:
Figure 1: Horizontal cabling in a star topology from the telecommunications room
MUTOA This acronym stands for multiuser telecommunications outlet assembly, which is an outlet that consolidates telecommunications jacks for many users into one area. Think of it as a patch panel located out in the office area instead of in a telecommunications room.
CP CP stands for consolidation point, which is an intermediate interconnection scheme that allows horizontal cables that are part of the building pathways to extend to telecommunication outlets in open-office pathways such as those in modular furniture. The ISO/IEC 11801 refers to the CP as a transition point (TP).
If you plan to use modular furniture or movable partitions, check with the vendor of the furniture or partitions to see if it provides data-cabling pathways within its furniture. Then ask what type of interface it may provide or require for your existing cabling system. You will have to plan for connectivity to the furniture in your wiring scheme.
Application-specific components (baluns, repeaters) should not be installed as part of the horizontal-cabling system (inside the walls). These should be installed in the telecommunication rooms or work areas.


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