What Is Voice Cabling?

June 01, 2015    by Anton Busch, eHow Contributor

Function

Voice cabling is the primary step in installing a land-based phone line, modem or analog line. This wiring is essential for telephone cabling as well as for other network applications that allow for spoken communication or other voice services over long distances. Voice cabling uses voice-grade wire and standard telephone jacks to connect telephone landlines to local communication systems.

Types

There are several types of voice cabling, and newer varieties have been developed in recent years to comply with national and global communication technology standards.

Category 1 cabling was a common type of land-line cable that is no longer recognized by the Telecommunication Industry Association. It was used for basic telephone communication and doorbell wiring.

Category 3 cable is a copper, unshielded twisted pair cable created to transmit up to 10 mb of data per second, and is the current voice cabling standard.

Category 5 cabling is another commonly used unshielded twisted pair cable designed for high signal reception that allows for far-end communication.

History

Voice cabling has evolved over the years in order to comply with telecommunications standards and to ensure higher performance. Category 3 cabling was a commonly used option with computer network administrators in the early nineties, but was then usurped by the more efficient Category 5 cabling. Most recently, Cat 5 cabling was updated to Cat 5e in order to comply with standards and allow transition to Voice Over Internet Protocol. The Cat 5e cable is what we now commonly refer to as an "Ethernet Cable."

Identification

A typical voice cable, such as a Category 3, consists of unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) copper or fiber cabling. This means that there is a bundle of four individually twisted cables that are unprotected by an outer layer. At each end, there is a connector, which allows the cable to be plugged easily into a device. Unlike speaker wire, which is often nothing but exposed wires at the end, the connector provides a more secure, less damageable connection. Aside from the connecting pieces, most voice cabling is covered by a plastic or other type of synthetic covering in order to prevent breakage due or corroding from the elements.

Considerations

Proper installation and telecommunications compliance is considered of the utmost importance in setting up new voice cabling. Because a breakdown at any given point in the voice cabling network can equal a general failure in the entire system, it is imperative that a cabling system is both professionally installed and well supported. Experts also advise getting a warranty on your voice cabling system, as well as a guarantee that proper technical support is available promptly.

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