Prewire Structured Cabling

Voice & Data Implementation: It All Begins with the Prewire

“Prewire” is the term used for the structured cabling that lays the foundation for any telecommunications or networking installation.  Whether you are installing a premise-based telephone system, hosted PBX or networking hardware such as routers and switches, it is likely that you will first need to think about your prewire needs.

The most common cable installation is Category 5 Enhanced (“Cat 5e”).  It is capable of carrying various types of voice and data signals, making it very versatile in a structured cabling environment.

Category 5 cable (Cat 5 or Cat 5e) is a twisted pair cable for carrying signals. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet. The cable standard provides performance of up to 100 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet). Cat 5 is also used to carry other signals such as telephony and video.


networkHere are some of the questions you need to consider when planning to implement or expand your hardware:

  • Do I have existing cabling in place?  Are all necessary locations currently wired?
  • If so, does the existing cable meet the minimum requirements of the new hardware to be installed?
  • Will plenum cable be required, or is non-plenum sufficient?

Analyzing your prewire needs isn’t just about the cable.  There are other things to take into consideration in the data closet.
Are you planning to integrate your new or expanded voice solution into your existing data network?

  • If you are integrating your voice and data networks, do you currently have the capacity on existing routers and switches?
  • If you are planning to keep voice and data networks separate will you need to add hardware, or is this included in the voice solution being proposed by your provider?
  • Will power over ethernet (PoE) switches be necessary to power phones? Are these switches in place, or will existing switches need to be updated to provide power?

The prewire / structured cabling stage of the implementation can be one of the most important to plan, and can have a big impact on the budget of your project.  Installing a new premise-based IP-PBX or hosted PBX solution can provide your organization with many productivity benefits.  Don’t forget to consider the prewire as the foundation for your implementation, whether it’s premise-based, hosted, voice or data. The long term success of the install hinges on having the right prewire foundation in place.