Modern businesses rely on lots of moving parts to keep their operations running smoothly, such as computer workstations, tablets, teleconferencing platforms, and voice-over-IP devices. Without these modern communication tools, it would be impossible for a business to interact with its suppliers, customers, and stakeholders.
And all of them rely on one thing to make them work – low voltage cabling.
In this article, we’ll discuss what low voltage cabling is, where you can use it, and why it’s a worthy investment for your business.
What is Low Voltage Cabling?
As the name suggests, low voltage cabling is a wiring system designed to carry a smaller voltage.
This is often used to transmit power or data between smaller devices and equipment throughout a building. But they’re versatile, supporting anything from garden lights to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The cabling requirements of individual systems (such as telephone, audio/visual, and surveillance) require a dedicated wiring network to function – one that’s separate from the primary electrical wiring.
So, what is considered low voltage wiring? According to the low voltage wiring definition, it should transmit less than 50 volts of electricity. As such, you can classify a low voltage cable into one of three categories: 12V, 24V, and 48V.
Some of the most common low voltage wires include Category 5 (Cat5), Category 6 (Cat6), fiber optic, and RG-6.
Cat5 and Cat6 are the standard cables for data transmission, both capable of speeds of 1,000 Mbps. They are the primary wires for Ethernet networks.
Fiber optics is a medium that’s especially suited for high data transmission rates. Thus, it’s often used for high-speed Internet connections.
RG-6 is a type of coaxial cable. It’s often used as the standard wiring for video signals or cable TV.
A network of low voltage cables is called structured cabling. This system describes not only the arrangement of the wires themselves, but also the other components involved. Examples include switches and routers.
Your low voltage cable system should also comply with various standards, depending on the wires you plan to use. For example, twisted pair cables are under the ANSI/TIA-568 standard, which covers wire dimensions, insulation, and distance. Coaxial cables, on the other hand, are governed by the ISO/IEC 11801 standard.
Due to its different nature, planning and installing a low voltage cable system requires the expertise of a licensed technician. They should have the proper training and knowledge to handle low voltage wiring for various situations.
What is Low Voltage Wiring Used For?
A low voltage structured cabling system is crucial because it forms the backbone of all the critical devices in a modern business.
For instance, your building’s telephone system requires a low voltage wiring installation to work. This is in the form of fiber optics or Cat5/Cat6 cables that support voice and Internet connections. Even wireless Internet requires a low voltage cable to connect to the company’s Internet service provider (ISP).
Low voltage wiring is also the foundation of your company’s network. A structured cabling system connects workstations and devices with an Ethernet connection via a central hub.
Many modern businesses today also heavily use audio-visual equipment in conference and meeting rooms, such as speakers and intercoms. Wiring for these is often through low voltage cables. Also, suppose you want to provide cable TV programming (for example, in public waiting areas). In that case, you need a low voltage system as well.
Low voltage cabling is also critical for your building’s security and surveillance. This is used to interconnect the different components of your security system, such as security cameras, motion sensors, and alarms. Doing so effectively requires thoughtfully mapping out where each device is located.
Low voltage cabling is also critical for devices that require data and power but are situated in places that can only support one cable. One good example is VoIP phones that use Power-Over-Ethernet (POE), a low voltage cable that allows data and electric transmissions.
In a nutshell, low voltage wiring enables devices to communicate with each other efficiently.
The Business Benefits of Low Voltage Cabling
In today’s information age, it’s virtually impossible for a modern business to run without low voltage cabling.
Remember that all modern communication channels – from telephone to videoconferencing –need low voltage cable networks to function. Thus, having an efficient low voltage cabling system enables your business to operate faster and smoother.
They can also help unify your operations. For instance, low voltage cabling allows you to have a central hub for all your security and surveillance devices, thus enabling you to deal with threats much faster. But low voltage cable solutions also offer other benefits for businesses.
One is that they’re energy efficient. As the name suggests, low voltage cabling (and the devices it connects) consume less electricity than the typical electrical wiring system. That makes them more cost-efficient and cheaper to maintain.
Because of their lower electrical capacity, low voltage cables are also safer; thus, there’s a lesser risk of injury in the workplace. This is suitable for certain businesses, like daycares and schools. Also, the lower voltage of these wires won’t interfere with other equipment – an important consideration for mission-critical places like hospitals and airports.
Low voltage cabling is also very versatile. It can be wired any way you choose, depending on the needs of the business. This is due to the relatively smaller sizes of their wires, thus making them easier to route through a building.
Due to their versatility, low voltage cabling systems are also easy to scale and expand when properly planned. This is invaluable as it helps make growing your business fast and inexpensive. For example, let’s say you wanted to bring a new team into your office building. You can simply extend your structured cable system with new wires and switches to accommodate additional workstations and devices.
Or, say you wanted to add audio-visual capabilities to your old office building. You can easily do this with a low voltage system. And you don’t even need to modify the existing electrical wiring – you just build alongside it.
Most of all, low voltage cables are very reliable. You can expect them to work consistently for years without extensive maintenance. That also makes them cost-effective.
Partner with Signal Solutions
Since 1987, Signal Solutions has been one of the leading low voltage wiring solutions in Northern and Southern California. We have planned, installed, and maintained the structured cabling systems of small and large businesses in the state, including Amazon, Six Flags, and Jackson Family Wines.
Need to install or upgrade your structured cabling in San Francisco or surrounding areas? Contact us today and see how our expertise and experience can make a difference!