Structured cabling is a telecommunications cabling infrastructure that is composed of a number of structured elements that follow International network cabling standards. The standards specify the layout of the wiring for data centres, offices and buildings for data or voice communications. Various kinds of cables are used but most common are the category 5e (CAT-5e), category 6 (CAT-6) and fiber optic cabling and modular connectors. Depending on the typology, a series of patch panels and trunks are used to create a structure that allows for hardware ports to be connected to a patch panel at the top of the rack.
Structured cabling has many benefits that make it supersede point-to-point cabling in larger networking systems. For example, structured cabling is often much quicker because the MDA (Main Distribution Area) enables MACs (moves, adds and changes) as opposed to running long patch cords from equipment racks. Also, the potential for downtime is reduced because of the organisation, it saves time because port tracing becomes easier and it looks much neater and tidier!