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Point-to-point cables and structured cabling: what are they? In the world of data cabling and networking (data networks, that is), both refer to a way of organizing the cables that make up your company’s IT infrastructure.

You might not have put a lot of thought into how your business organizes cabling, but how your IT team organizes and maintains the cables can be very important! Keep reading for the basics on point-to-point cables, structured cabling and the differences between them for your IT network.

The Basics of Point-to-Point Cabling

Point-to-point cables are the different “jumper” cables that can connect one server or switch to another in a data center or server room. The cables connect “point A” to “point B” directly, so this system of cabling really only works if you have a small data network.

Point-to-point cabling is the older method of setting up and organizing your data network. While it’s a simple solution in theory, the more equipment you add, the less practical it is to use point-to-point cabling for your network. Why? Because point-to-point cabling can turn into a tangled mess of cabling, which then presents a tripping hazard.

The Basics of Structured Cabling

Structured cabling is a more methodical way of organizing cables. The cabling in a structured system is labeled and carefully laid out in a data center or server room. Typically, a data cabling company will assess your business’s current network with a site survey and then design a layout for your new network that will both meet your current and future needs.

There are different standards that govern how structured cabling systems are laid out. These standards can also regulate how different cables are manufactured to ensure every system is more or less the same. So, not only is your cabling organized, you know it’s standardized and will be easy to maintain.

So, What’s the Difference?

Now that you know what point-to-point and structured cabling systems are, what’s the biggest difference between them? It comes down to their overall versatility.

Point-to-point cabling only really works if you have a limited amount of equipment, so it’s a good solution for small businesses with maybe one or two server cabinets. The main problem with point-to-point cabling is that it’s not an optimal choice for your network once you start to expand. The more equipment you add, the more cables you need. So in the end, point-to-point cabling becomes a very disorganized way of maintaining all of your equipment and cables.

Structured cabling not only neatens up all of your cables, but it’s also designed to make it easy to move, add or change whatever you want in your business’s server room or data center. If you end up moving your business to a new location, you can disassemble and reassemble a structured cabling system without nearly as much hassle as you would have with simple point-to-point cables. Structured cabling is really the best option for any growing business, especially if you’ve started to already feel the “growing pains” of your data network’s limitations.

A Tale of Two Cables

Even if your business has just started growing, installing structured cabling solutions can be a sound investment for the future. The more people you hire and the more equipment you need, the more your network will need to accommodate. Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace, so having a network that can support all of your needs can be the key to sustainable productivity for your company now and in the future.

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