Structured Cabling, a complex network of cabling often used in office buildings and on campuses, consists primarily of CAT-5, CAT-5E, CAT-6 and or fiber optic cables. The basic principal behind structured cabling is to organize a large quantity of cables in such a way as to make network maintenance, repairs and additions simple for those individuals who maintain the system. Looking forward though, it is easy to see that long term there will likely need to be changes made to these types of structured systems.
While the systems are able to maintain a significant amount of efficiency in terms of transfer of data and network speed, inefficiencies remain in terms of the amount of man hours required to design, develop and deploy these structured cable systems. When a single system may utilize literally thousands upon thousands of individuals cables, the physical effort required to implement such a solution into a business, or university, or government building is quite monumental. As we enter an era of never before seen efficiency in many arenas; manufacturing, food production, lending and banking, etc… it is not difficult to see that this efficiency must extend to the networks that support these businesses.
So one must ask, “What’s next for structured cabling?” While the question is certainly one that is on many minds, the answer is not so simple to find. Surely there are those who dream of a day that finds wireless standards capable of carrying the amount of data that these systems support, but realistically this is not a likely possibility in the near to mid term. While wireless standards are able to achieve the high rate of transfer that these systems often support, when saddled with high capacities the wireless connections slow more rapidly than their cabled counterparts.
While one does not have the gift of clairvoyance, it is not difficult to understand that there are many talented minds working hard on these very questions. Not long ago Google began rolling out their Project Loon, balloons can be deployed, allowing for internet to be brought to developing regions and areas struck by disaster. Notwithstanding that such a project does not have many practical implications for structured cabling, it does not take a crystal ball to see that this type of abstract thinking is what will be required for the next significant advancement in structured cabling.
The future of structured cabling is on the not too distant horizon. The minds that will mold and form the deployments of the future are in schools now. The dreamers that will influence the way that we transfer data in 10, 15 and even 100 years from now are likely day dreaming about how to make their mark on the world. While the transference of data is far from being the sexiest of technologies, make no mistake that when the idea that changes the way that we support businesses comes along some young person will be made rich in a very short amount of time.