The Backbone of Your Entire Communications System

The key for today's IT leaders is to build a network infrastructure that will support the organization today and well into the future. While the structured cabling system represents a small portion of the overall network investment, it can represent nearly 80% of your network efficiency. It’s also the bedrock upon which any organization is built.

As a structured cabling provider, Black Box can help you plan and execute a structured cabling system that's optimized to provide reliable communications, regardless of what applications the future brings. A structured cabling infrastructure that supports your wired and wireless networks will give you a flexible growth model and a way to implement the ever-evolving technologies for data transformation, smart buildings and IoT.

Whether you’re building a new location or want to upgrade your existing infrastructure, bring smart office technology with you. Black Box is the only partner you need.


Laying the Foundation for Growth

No matter if your network consists of a two-room office or a multi-building campus, decisions you make now about your network design will impact your business’s or organization’s  for  years to come. Proper planning, design, installation, and maintenance of your structured cabling infrastructure  can have a positive impact on your company’s day-to-day operations and can contribute to its success.
6 Reasons CAT6A is in Your Future

CAT6A is the cable of choice for future-proofing infrastructures and here are six good reasons why.

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TIA 568.2-D: 5 Things You Need to Know

There are five big changes in 568-2.D that make it different than its predecessors.

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Structured Cabling Design Considerations

Find out what you need to consider when planning a structured cabling system.

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Comprehensive Solutions to Support All Your IT Initiatives

A smartly planned structured cabling infrastructure can enable transformation at the intelligent digital edge now and for years to come. We can design, deploy, and manage structured cabling systems for one site or a global deployment.

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    The Internet of Things is driving transformation. Integrate the physical world with the digital world resulting in improved efficiencies, greater innovation, and better user experiences. 

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    Data Centers

    Meet escalating data network storage needs and multimedia communication support with a trusted partner who has large-scale implementation capabilities and technical expertise.

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    Leaverage the experience of thousands of specialized technicians to minimize disruption, free up internal resources, and provide consistent and repeatable outcomes across your enterprise.

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    Support your mobile-first strategy by providing connections for the multiple wireless technologies that enable rapid and reliable wired access to information and resources. 


Structured Cabling Design Considerations.

A structured cabling system that’s smartly designed takes careful planning, even for the most seasoned professional. It’s much more than just pulling cable through the ceiling. It’s a complex undertaking that involves integrating different technologies and cabling types, projecting future capacity requirements, and making sure the whole system operates smoothly and reliably. Find out what you need to consider when planning a structured cabling system.

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Black Box Structured Cabling & Infrastructure Integrations Partners

As a structured cabling provider with best-in-class partners, we can help you build or transform your network infrastructure into one that gives you a flexible growth model that will support ever-evolving technologies well into the future.

Click on the partner logo to discover additional resources and information.


Customer Success Stories

Related Resources

Read more about how to solve challenges of deploying IT in Connected Buildings and in dispersed, multisite enterprises.

6 Reasons CAT6A is in Your Future

Jul 1, 2019, 15:16 PM by Black Box Corporation
If you’re in the market for structured cabling for a new installation or for upgrading existing infrastructures, you really have only one choice—CAT6A. It is now the cable of choice and the de facto standard for future-proofing cabling infrastructures and here are six good reasons why.

If you’re in the market for structured cabling for a new installation or for upgrading existing infrastructures, you really have only one choice—CAT6A. It is now the cable of choice and the de facto standard for future-proofing cabling infrastructures and here are six good reasons why.

  1. Performance and RoI

    First, a little history: CAT6A, first recognized in 2009, is a four-pair twisted-pair copper cable designed to support 10-Gigabit Ethernet networks over a 100-meter channel. It’s also guaranteed to support 2.5/5GBASE-T over 100 meters.

    CAT6A gives you ten times the performance and twice the capacity of CAT6 cable. It takes a giant leap forward by supporting transmissions of 10 Gbps versus 1 Gbps and it doubles the bandwidth from 250 MHz to 500 MHz. While CAT6A may cost 10 to 20 percent more than CAT6 cable, you’re going to get a much better performance and RoI in the long run.

    Cabling typically represents only about 5% of the overall infrastructure budget and about 10% (give or take a few points) of the total network budget. But it is also the one of the most important and overlooked network investments. The cable you select will probably not be upgraded or replaced for 15-20 years (or longer)! But the network equipment you use will most likely be replaced in five to seven years. Think about it. If you spend a little more now, you’re giving yourself application assurance that the cable you choose today will be able to support at least two, maybe three, generations of newer and faster equipment.

  2. 10GBASE-T 
    This may seem obvious, but data is driving the demand for speed and capacity. It’s estimated that by 2020, the accumulated volume of big data will increase from 4.4 zettabytes to roughly 44 zettabytes or 44 trillion GB. By 2025, the amount of data created will double every 12 hours. 10GBASE-T is now becoming widely adopted as the best way to handle that explosion of data. It’s defined as supporting 10-Gbps transmissions up to 100 meters over CAT6A cable, not CAT6 or CAT5e.

  3. PoE

    Power over Ethernet is also exploding. Cables are being used to deliver power to more devices than ever before. It’s estimated that more than a million devices are now PoE powered, such as IP phones, access points, displays, lighting fixtures, PoS kiosks, security cameras, access control, and more. And that number will only grow with the latest IEEE 802.3bt standard, which doubles and triples the amount of power that can be delivered from 30 watts to 60 watts to 100 watts. 100 watt PoE will go a long way in driving the development of more and more smart buildings. The recommended cable for these new PoE cabling installations? CAT6A.

  4. HDBaseT

    HDBaseT™ technology enables the transmission of audio, video, power, control, and 100BASE-T Ethernet signals up to 100 meters over a single twisted-pair cable. The HDBaseT Alliance allows for CAT5e, CAT6, and CAT6A to be used. But depending on what you’re transmitting, you’re better off sticking with CAT6A. If you plan on sending high-bandwidth 4K signals, the Alliance recommends CAT6A. You’ll get a true 100 meter reach versus 10 to 40 meters for CAT5e and CAT6 respectively.

  5. Wireless

    Today people want wireless access everywhere and anywhere and most businesses are accommodating these expectations. Access points for the current 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard are capable of delivering up to 6.9 Gbps. The 802.11ax standard (Wi-Fi 6), expected to be ratified in September 2020, will change everything. It will be capable of delivering speeds up to 10 Gbps. But there is a catch. To get these speeds, the TIA specifies that you need two CAT6A links to every access point.

  6. Standards and Compliance

    Of all of the reasons to choose CAT6A, this is probably the most important. If you want to be in compliance with industry standards, you’ll need to adhere to these best practices, which all recommend CAT6A for any new project.

    TIA 568.2-D Balanced Twisted-Pair Communications Cabling and Components specifies performance requirements for 100-meter CAT6A channels, permanent links, and components. ISO/IEC 11801-1 Generic Cabling for Customer Premises specifies Class EA (the ISO equivalent of CAT6A). And IEEE 802.3 an specifies channel performance for 10GBASE-T over CAT6A.

  7. Some other notable standards that recommend CAT6A are:

    TIA-941-B lays out the minimum requirements for the telecommunications infrastructure of data centers and computer rooms. It recommends that CAT6A be used for the horizontal cabling.

    The TSB-162-A Telecommunications Cabling Guidelines for Wireless Access Points recommends CAT6A horizontal cabling in new installations. It also specifies two CAT6A links to each access point to support 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6). CAT6A is also recommended to support 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5).

    To better support IEEE 802.3bt four-pair PoE (100 watts), TIA TSB-184-A increases the requirements from CAT6 to CAT6A. The ISO/IEC equivalent is 11801-6.

    For health care facilities, TIA 1179-A recommends that CAT6A be used for both backbone and horizontal cabling in all installations. The TIA 4966-1 standard for educational facilities also recommends CAT6A for all new installations. TIA-862-B-1 specifies CAT6A for intelligent building systems.


    CAT6A: The Cable of Choice

    So whether you’re planning a new installation or are migrating an existing installation, you now have six good reasons why you should use CAT6A. Better yet, CAT6A is completely backwards compatible so if you wish, you can upgrade your infrastructure in sections rather than all at once. From PoE, IoT, and smart buildings to Wi-Fi 6 and 10-GbE, CAT6A will serve you well for many years to come.

    Also, download our quick reference guide to see why CAT6A is in your future.

    Learn more about Black Box’s SimplEdge “network-in-a-box” solution for branches that includes everything from the CAT6A cabling, SD-WAN, Wi-Fi, and security to all deploy, manage, and support services, go to blackbox/simpledge, call us at 855-324-9909, or email us at [email protected].

    If you would like to receive our quarterly newsletter, View from the Edge, you can sign up here.

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Our dedicated team of technical experts will help you lay the foundation regardless of what applications and devices the future brings. As your trusted partner and leader instructured cable installation, we will helpyou design, deploy, and manage the right solution to transform your building, data center, hospital, or anywhere your network covers and ensure optimial connectivity and bandwidth support.

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