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The Information Highway: Backbone and Horizontal Cabling

We return to our look at structured cabling with a review of the “spinal column” and nervous system of your structured cabling implementation. Backbone and horizontal cabling provide the highways that data uses to flow from your wiring rooms to the end users and out through telco to the outside world.

First, the nomenclature has nothing to do with the actual physical layout of your cabling systems —“horizontal” cabling may very well run vertically over certain portions of your wiring system. The difference in the system lies in their utilization. Backbone cabling connects your entrance facility to telco rooms, which are then connected to end users or devices via horizontal cabling.

Backbone Cabling
Once external service has been brought into your facility via your telco room, it immediately needs to be distributed to the various parts of your network. The first step is to attach your entrance facility to all your telco rooms and wiring closets. This is referred to as your backbone (and once upon a time was also known as the vertical cabling system). It is commonly engineered with fiber-optic cabling or another form of high-transmission data rate cabling.

Horizontal Cabling
At this point, it becomes necessary to get your cabling out to the individual workstations, peripherals, and other end users that will make use of the signal. This type of cabling is referred to as your horizontal cabling system. The data points from your closest wiring infrastructure to individual users of data are typically engineered with 4-pair cable like CAT-6, though increasingly businesses are utilizing fiber or partial fiber to connect to their users as more highly intensive data operations are planned for. This cabling is designed to run for 90 meters or less from each distribution hub, which makes centrally located hubs an important part of your structured cable design.

NSC Information Technology Group can help you bring order out of the chaos of your current wiring system by implementing structured cabling system for your business. Let our pros assist you with bringing your communications up to spec, ensuring smooth operations and easy troubleshooting in the future. Contact us today for more information.

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