You may think with the rise of wireless connectivity that there’s not much need for cables any more.

But network cabling is still very much at the heart of business connectivity and communication.

Despite the huge rise in home working that’s been accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic, cabling still drives businesses in the digital age and is an essential part of office infrastructure – especially when it comes to office phone systems.

If you want to ensure that you choose the best cabling system for your office and hosted phone system and that it’s installed, maintained and managed efficiently, have a look at Time Communications’ handy guide…

Types of phone cabling

In order to connect to the network, phone systems use Structured Cabling, which basically consists of twisted pairs of copper wires encased in a durable plastic coating. The primary types in use currently are Cat3, Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and Cat7.

Higher numbers denote newer generations of cabling which can transfer more information more rapidly.

Cat5e and upwards should all be suitable to carry data for modern VoIP systems. However, the requirements of your office network overall will decide if you need a lower or higher specification.

For the majority of installations Cat6 is now recommended as the minimum standard for data cabling.

VoIP systems don’t actually need super-fast speed capabilities in order to transmit voice data, but it does need to be a stable connection, and with demands on office bandwidth also coming from web use, email and video streaming among others, high-capacity cabling is seen as the future-proof choice.

There is a cost implication, and some clients still opt to install Cat5e in order to minimise costs. Both Cat5e and Cat6 can cope with speeds of 1 gigabit, so either would be suitable for a majority of installations.

Some customers consider installing Cat5e/Cat6 cabling for their phone system and separately using Cat6a/Cat 7 to link up their PCs on much faster connections of up to 10 gigabits.

This would technically work, but it loses all the benefits of a well-structured cabling network, which uses standardised cabling that can cope with changes to layout, equipment or technology. Additionally, the extra time spent installing two different types of cable would negate any savings made in material costs.

Great for security and reliability

Many IT providers and clients are wary of relying on wi-fi connections for two reasons. Firstly, wi-fi isn’t always robust enough for voice calls. Sometimes calls can ‘clip’ (short interruptions) and the causes can be difficult to find. Often there can be signal interference from nearby equipment such as microwave ovens, lighting, or electrically-powered machinery. Secondly, users are wary of the security of wi-fi and its vulnerability to potential hacking. Naturally, physical cabling helps in both cases.

Phone system cabling advice

In summary, if you only need to connect your phones without other technology using the same network, then install Cat6 cable. If cost is an issue, then possibly go for Cat5e.

If speeds of up to 10 gigabits might be required within your network, then it’s best to opt for  Cat6a or Cat7 throughout your building, as this will give you plenty of future flexibility.

If you would like to learn more about how cabling, office phone systems and VoIP, Time Communications would be happy to talk you through the options available to you. Contact Time Communications’ expert team on 0113 2059640, you can request a callback on our home page, email at [email protected] or message us here.