All businesses these days are reliant on their computer networks in order to connect them to the outside world. Most of the devices that are used in the office environment need a connection to the internet and also to a way of connecting to each other. For example, when you print a document, it is likely to be sent to a printer that is on your Local Area Network (LAN). Similarly, if you need to access a file on your business server, your PC will need to communicate with it via your LAN. If you wanted to view a web page you will also use the LAN, but the connection needs to connect to a modem which will also be a device on the LAN. The data cabling involved in making this work in an efficient and reliable manner must be installed and designed correctly in order to guarantee these processes. A typically well designed configuration is usually described as Structured Cabling. The cable used in these installations is almost always CAT5, CAT5e or CAT6.
The cables are usually run throughout the office, terminating at sockets that are fitted neatly to the wall. You will then use an Ethernet patch lead to connect the PC or other device to the socket. At the other end of the socket, the cables will all run into a data rack or cabinet which come in various sizes and styles. Inside of it, the cables will be terminated to a patch panel. A patch panel is used in order to make each socket port visible and able to have any service necessary patched through to it. The most common of course is a network switch that allows connection to the LAN, but sometimes other services such as a direct PSTN line, a telephone system extension, modem plus many others. The location of the data cabinet is where most of the offices IT and communications equipment is centralised which means that any circuit can be patched though to any location in the office where a socket might be.
There is a logically growing link between using data cabling for telephone services as the modern Telephone systems are moving towards being IP based. There are many applications of voice and also video where having data cabling installed becomes essential. The speed of communications across CAT5 and CAT6 cabling are critical in delivering the high bandwidth requirements of such services. Things like video conferencing and large data files work seamlessly across a structured cabling system. The advantages of having an easily comprehensible data network can be appreciated by anyone who needs to make additions, moves and changes. Your IT people will be able to patch your network cable and label their connections, your telephone system provider will be able to patch through a handset to your desk, your other office technology will also be able to easily connect back to whatever service it requires. Why would any business consider settling for less? The benefits of such an investment will allow your business to move forward into the future of communications.