Network Cabling – What’s the Difference?

If your business has ever renovated or moved office space, then you know how much work and planning goes into that process. Of all the things you have to consider with an office move–hiring movers, packing, changing addresses, updating business cards and websites–network cabling is probably pretty low on the list. But if you want your team to be on the network in the new office space, you better make sure the space is properly wired to meet your network’s needs.

When it comes to network cables, it can get a bit confusing. If you do not have an IT support team to help facilitate the cable installation, then you will need to know what to tell the network cabling company to do.

The first thing you need to know is that most all network (i.e., ethernet) cable uses the same RJ-45 wall jacks. If you believe you are using something different or unique, be sure to show the cabling company what wall jacks you are currently using.

The next thing to consider is what type of cable you will need. There are several types of ethernet cable available, and some of more popular ones are Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a. Confusing, right? Besides using the same RJ-45 jacks, they all use 4 twisted pairs of wires inside a jacket to deliver data and support a maximum distance of 100 meters.

So what is the difference between them? Basically, it is how well they can perform over a distance. All three types support gigabit ethernet up to 100 meters, and that is probably adequate enough for your office right now. However, if you foresee upgrading your network to 10-gigabit ethernet in the future, then you may want to consider using Cat6, which support 10-gigabit ethernet up to 55 meters, or Cat6a, which supports 10-gigabit ethernet up to 100 meters. The added cost of the higher-end cables right now would be less than the cost of redoing all your office wiring in the future.

If you are unsure about what type of network cabling your new office space needs or whether you should consider upgrading your network speed, Minneapolis-based OAC Technology can help you navigate the different network solutions available to your business and implement one that fits your exact needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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