To understand backbone cabling, it helps to understand the six subsystems of structured cabling. These subsystems are often found throughout a building or complex and are connected together so that various types of data can be transmitted consistently and securely.
Entrance Facilities. These rooms are where both public and private network service cables communicate with the outside world.
Equipment Rooms. A room (or space) with equipment that serves the users inside the building.
Telecommunications Rooms. These rooms contain the telecommunications equipment that connects the backbone and horizontal cabling subsystems.
Backbone Cabling. A system of cabling that connects the entrance facilities, equipment rooms and telecommunications rooms.
Horizontal Cabling. The system of cabling that connects telecommunications rooms to individual outlets or work areas on the floor.
Work-Area Components. These connect end-user equipment to outlets of the horizontal cabling system.
Backbone cabling is the key part of a network infrastructure because it connects every main server and device and enables the exchange of data and information over the cabling, connectors, terminus points and other components that that stretch across a building or complex. When this type of cabling goes between buildings, it is referred to as campus backbone. When it goes between floors or closets in a building, it is referred to as building backbone. Therefore, it may be buried underground, run through ductwork or installed using other types of cable management systems.
Though the amount and physical configuration of backbone cabling varies depending on the size of the facility, it is often designed to handle high capacities of data. It must be meticulously installed in such a way that supports current needs and will afford future expansion. With so many organizations dependent on computer, phone and related systems, many buildings are now designed with features that specifically accommodate backbone cabling.