Cabling

Computer cabling is the circulatory system of your network. If your cabling is done poorly or incorrectly, you will have problems with your network. This is an office system that rarely anyone sees, knows about or often understands, but its impact to daily operations is vital.

Today, current cabling is done with Category 6 UTP data cable. Depending on your environment this could be plenum or riser rated cable. The difference refers to the jacket surrounding the cable.

Plenum vs Non Plenum

Plenum cable (CMP) is cable that is installed within the ‘plenum’ space of buildings. This is the area that can allow air flow for HVAC systems by providing pathways for returned air. In short, the ‘plenum’ space refers to the space above a drop ceiling and below the structural ceiling. The plenum designation refers to a rating for fire rated standards.

Non Plenum or Riser Rated (CMR) cable is cable that does not adhere or meet those fire rating standards. Non Plenum or Riser cable typically runs through non air circulating areas. This cable is often referred to as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and is much less expensive.

Cat 6 Cabling 

Category 6 is the standard for Gigabit Ethernet is backwards compatible with Category 5e. This is the current standard for business installations. It is important to understand that for a network to be correctly installed to Cat6 standards, the wall Inserts, patch cables, patch panels, and cable must all adhere to Cat6 levels of performance.

Fiber Optics

Multi-Mode Fiber optic cable is used in most business office environments. Single Mode fiber is used over long distances and in scientific environments. Fiber is classified by core/cladding size such as 50/125 or 62.5/125 referring to micrometers. Like Ethernet Cable, fiber optics is broken into categories as well. Below we’ve outlined the typical fiber and distance limitations:

OM1 – (62.5 /125)

100 Mb Ethernet 100Base-FX – up to 2000 meters
1000 Mb Gigabit 1000Base-SX – up to 275 meters
10G Ethernet 10GBase-SR – up to 33 meters
40G / 100G not supported with OM1

OM2 – (50/125)

100 Mb Ethernet 100Base-FX – up to 2000 meters
1000 Mb Gigabit 1000Base-SX – up to 550 meters
10G Ethernet 10GBase-SR – up to 82 meters
40G / 100G not supported with OM2

OM3 – (50/125)

100 Mb Ethernet 100Base-FX – up to 2000 meters
1000 Mb Gigabit 1000Base-SX – up to 550 meters
10G Ethernet 10GBase-SR – up to 300 meters
40G Ethernet – up to 100 meters *330 meters QSFP+eSR4
100G Ethernet – up to 100 meters

OM4 – (50/125)

100 Mb Ethernet 100Base-FX – up to 2000 meters
1000 Mb Gigabit 1000Base-SX – up to 1000 meters
10G Ethernet 10GBase-SR – up to 550 meters
40G Ethernet – up to 150 meters *550 meters QSFP+eSR4
100G Ethernet – up to 150 meters