The security industry is advancing by leaps and bounds as network tech leads the way in a number of areas, such as IP (Internet Protocol) cameras. In fact, many security companies also specialize in the installation of network cabling to further attract income potential from their existing and prospective clients. This cable is often referred to as UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair).
The UTP you install for video surveillance, VoIP (Voice over IP) telephone, or general data is commonly referred to as a Structured Cabling System (SCS), also an Information Transport System (ITS). The point where the SCS begins is commonly referred to as the Point of Demarcation, or Demarc for short. It’s here, within the Entrance Facility (EF), that the service provider terminates, usually at a Network Interface Device (NID). From the EF, data is distributed to one or more Equipment Rooms (ERs) within the structure.
An EF, as defined by BICSI, formerly the Building Industry Consulting Services International), headquartered in Tampa, “Includes the cabling components needed to provide a means to connect the outside plant facilities to building cabling, including service entrance pathways, cables, connecting hardware, protection devices, and transition hardware.” In a word, this is room from which data services emanate.
Cabling: The Secret Sauce
There are three methods by which data is distributed throughout a facility. They are:
- Star topology
- Bus topology
- Ring topology
The method that is used with IP camera surveillance, access control, and other data-driven services is usually number 1, Star. The reason for this is that it will support the use of any of the others. There also are a number of hybrid configurations which we'll get into in part two of tiis blog series.
The SCS standard was created and promoted by TIA/EIA, beginning in 1985. The standard itself is referred to as the Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard or TIA/EIA-568-A. It defines the how, what, where, when, and why as it pertains to the installation of UTP and network tech.
For examples, it sets the distance that Category 5e and Category 6 cable can be run at 295 feet (90 meters). Patch cords and cross connects at the Horizontal Cross-Connect (HC) is limited to 20 feet (6 meters) with an additional 9.8 feet (3 meters) for patch cords used in the Work Area (WA). The combined length of patch cords and cross connects also are limited to no more than 33 feet (10 meters).
In my next blog article we’ll discuss the three cable topologies and the basic elements associated with successful handling of UTP.