What Types of Cable Does My Small Business Need for IP and VOIP?

With all the Hype about Fibre and GIGABYTE SPEEDS

What Types of Cable Does My Small Business Need for IP and VOIP?

Given the rush by Bell, Telus, Rogers, and others in the race towards making copper obsolete, and upgrading their networks to multi-gigabyte speeds, Small Businesses are facing a serious challenge. Whether you are in Toronto or across Canada, this will apply.

With many considering upgrading to Cloud phone systems, VOIP requiring the use of IP telephones, PC connected Voice applications, and Smart Phones connected to Wi-Fi and/or using a cloud phone system, the need for enhanced data speeds become increasingly more apparent, thus the Carrier’s push to Gigabyte Fibre.

Small businesses rely on Data Cables to perform critical functions when running or setting up an office network. Cables serve multiple purposes but are largely designed to carry power and data signals to the appropriate equipment. Office cabling can range from simple to complex depending on the size of the operation, the number of workstations, and the amount of equipment that requires installation.

With the push of these carriers’ installing and upgrading their networks to Gigabyte speeds, your existing data networks may not be able to use these new data speeds. We often forget that existing/older Data Cabling, PCs, Data Switches, Wi-Fi routers, etc. are often maxed out at 10 or 100-Megabit speeds.

You must also consider that these internet link from your company are a serial data connection. Like a single-lane highway with no passing lane, if one vehicle is speeding along at 30 MPH, and you can go 200 MPH, you will have to slow down until they get off the road. So, a computer or a single device like a Data Switch which is not capable of these newer higher speed internet connections can affect all high-speed devices on your network down to a snail crawl rendering Gig speeds an overkill. This can and will really affect your cloud phone system.

With the advent of new and commonly used Contact Centers and Video Conference, Collaboration applications, Data delays/slowdowns (latency), packet errors (loss) can cause serious voice degradations and as such require setting up VLANS, and QOS tagging. Today in 2022, an office with 25 to 30 employees would require a network connection of a minimum 1 GB.

Common Types of Cabling for Small Businesses

Whether a business is moving to a new location or updating an existing cabling system, it is important to understand the types of network cables available and their functional impact on your Business.

Fiber Optic Cable

A fiber optic cable is a type of network cable containing glass fibers covered with an insulated case. This type of cable is best suited for high performance, long-distance data networking, and telecommunications. Today, fiber optic cables are used for much of the world’s cable television, internet, and telephone systems.

Compared to traditional wired cables, fiber optic cables provide much higher bandwidth. These cables are also capable of transmitting data over long distances. There is less of a need for signal boosters as light can travel a long way over a fiber optic cable without losing strength.

Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable

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Shielded twisted pair (STP) cables are a special type of local area network (LAN) and copper telephone wiring commonly used in business installations. STP cables contain a shield that acts as a ground to regular twisted pair wiring to minimize radio frequency and electromagnetic interference (EMI).

There are three main types of shielded twisted pair cabling options. These configurations include braided, which offers 90 percent EMI shielding, spiral, which offers 98 percent EMI shielding, and metal-coated mylar or foil, which offers 100 percent EMI shielding.

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable

Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cables are some of the most used network cables for businesses. This type of cable is a 100-ohm copper cable that contains two to 1,800 unshielded twisted pairs that are surrounded by an exterior jacket. UTP cables do not have a metallic shield which makes them smaller in diameter and unprotected against EMI.

UTP cables are one of the least expensive wires available and are suitable for basic phone systems. These cables have also been successfully used in video applications, such as security cameras, due to an improvement in bandwidth. UTP cables are made up of four components: conductor, insulator, twisted unit, and sheath.

There are several commonly used types of UTP cabling, including:

  • Category 1 (Cat1) – Mainly used for telephone communications. Cat1 is not suitable for transmitting data.
  • Category 2 (Cat2) – Can transmit data at speeds of up to 4 Mbps.
  • Category 3 (Cat3) – Typically used in Token Ring networks. Is capable of data at speeds of up to 10 Mbps. 
  • Category 4 (Cat4) – Typically used in Token Ring networks. Is capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 16 Mbps.
  • Category 5 (Cat5) – Is capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
  • Category 5e (Cat5e) – Commonly used in networks that run at speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps, including Hosted VOIP and IP Telephony.
  • Category 6 (Cat6) – Consists of four pairs of 24 AWG (American Wire Gauge) copper wires. This is currently the fastest standard for UTP cables.
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Selecting the Right Network Cables

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There are several things that small businesses should consider when setting up an office network. First, plan the layout of the office. Will, there be a data center present, and how many computer stations will the space include?

Consider if employees will be using desktops, laptops, or both to perform work and how old or current are the OS’s and NIC cards. It’s also important to allocate enough space for servers and other types of network equipment. If a small business plans to create a wireless environment, some cabling is still required to bring an internet connection into the office.

Schedule A Consultation with Meteor Telecommunications Today

Technology is always changing and evolving, and small businesses must keep pace or risk falling behind their competitors. To keep equipment running at peak performance and ensure that the business has access to the data it needs, it is necessary to have the right cable systems and compatible interface components in place.

Meteor Telecommunications is a leader in infrastructure networking, offering services like network installation, hosted virtual phone systems, and structured cabling. We are fully trained and authorized on NEC phone systems, NEC Univerge Blue Hosted phone systems, including Hybrid/Private VOIP telephone systems. To learn more about office cabling or Hosted VOIP service, call and request a consultation with an experienced organization with over 25 years of experience in the Toronto and GTA, Meteor Telecommunications at 905-595-4444 or Meteortel.com