Most homes today have multiple cable networks. The LAN network is one, but there is also cabling for television, telephone, speakers, et cetera. These various networks can be set up using standard cables that are prescribed for each separate network. However, this approach has distinct disadvantages. Once such cabling is installed, the function of each connection in the wall is determined. It leaves no room for flexibility. However, things can be done differently by using a multimedia network, a patch panel, and some active components.
Many networks can or even must be set up using a star topology. This means that a cable starts from a central point and runs to each outlet of that specific network. At the central point, an active component is installed, ensuring that all outlets are connected into one system. In case of the data cabling for LAN networks, CAT5 or CAT6 cables lead to each RJ45 wall plug. All of these cables come together at connectors in a patch panel, where the active component is installed (a cable modem with a router). The connectors and hence the RJ45 wall plugs, are connected with the router via short patch cables.
More flexibility is possible
Multimedia cabling can greatly increase the entire installation’s flexibility by using a shielded cable with multiple twisted pairs. Often, one of these twisted pairs is shielded separately and can be used for transporting TV and video signals. Each multimedia cable leads to omnimedia wall sockets. On the other side, the cable is attached to connectors in a patch panel consisting of various active components such as the router, TV splitter, telephone exchange, distributor and amplifier for audio and radio, et cetera. By patching the connectors in the panel, users can choose which function (internet, telephone, TV, satellite, music, et cetera) they want to give to certain outlets at any time. In other words, today a certain connection can be used for TV; tomorrow it can be used for telephone. With this array, the user is entirely free to choose now and change later; the network will send the signals to the desired outlet. That flexibility comes in handy when you want to relocate your TV or when you suddenly need a telephone or internet connection in a specific room.
By connecting certain devices to the cabled network, the load on the WiFi network is relieved. In addition, a cable network is safer, faster, and more stable than a wireless network. A cable network is the better choice for certain systems. Some devices that normally belong to another network can be connected to each other. For instance, it allows you to look at the vacation pictures on your computer or tablet using your TV.
Cabling is part of the basic structure of your home, as are the bricks, floors, windows, and doors. The smart move is to build in flexibility for your internet, telephony, and multimedia devices during the construction or renovation of your home.