How Telephones Network with Cables
The huge telephone lines running alongside roads carry bundles of copper wires which can transmit electronic signals along their length. Individual cables which run underground connect buildings to the larger telephone lines. Finally, individual telephones can plug into the cable through a phone jack. In order for a telephone call to work, the telephones on both ends must be connected somewhere to this enormous international network of telephone lines. Even wireless phones are only wireless in that the handset can communicate wirelessly with its base, which is still physically connected to a telephone line. Cell phones connect to the network wirelessly through signals broadcasted ‘by cell phone towers’. These towers are connected to the land lines – so cell phones can essentially be thought of as wireless phones with an extremely long range.
History of Telephone Cabling
Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the invention of the telephone, which first used telegraph lines to transfer sound. These telegraph lines were open, single-wire earth return circuits. Telephone companies replaced these with balanced circuits in the 1880s, which helped to increase range. However, both of these types of cabling had a very limited capacity to transfer information and became outdated as more and more people got telephone service. Additionally, they were awkwardly strung over land and only reached short distances.
To make telephone lines more accessible and keep them mostly out of the way, they were grouped with power lines, the same way they are today. Unfortunately, the close proximity of the electricity could cause significant interference with the telephone wires. Engineers helped this problem by using wire transposition: every several poles, wires would swap positions. This was an early version of twisted pair cables, which are still used today.
Alexander Graham Bell used twisted pair cables as early as 1881, and they were widely used by 1900. These copper cables feature multiple pairs of wires within a single cable, each wire pair twisted around each other at different rates to minimize outside interference. Today, twisted pair cables are still very much in use for all kinds of purposes, including Ethernet and telephone networking. Cables have become increasingly faster and able to span greater distances over time, but the materials in use and the principles behind the cables’ construction have remained the same.
Types of Telephone Cabling
Telephones use Category cable, which is comprised of twisted pairs of copper wires. The leading types, all of which Active Communication Company works with, are Cat3, Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and Cat7. Larger numbers denote newer cable which is able to transfer more information more rapidly. Cat5 and up is mainly used for Ethernet connection. Since telephone lines require very little bandwidth, Cat3 is usually more than sufficient for a small business’ landline. However, if a building wishes to set up a more advanced network with Ethernet and Internet access, it’s a good idea to combine these different functions with better cable. Active Communication Company Ltd can survey a site and recommend the best type or types of cable to use depending on the specific usage desired.
When is Professional Installation Needed?
There are a few circumstances in which professional installation of telephone cabling is required. If a building is being built from scratch, experienced installers will need to be on-site during construction to wire the building. Professionals should also be called upon if a complex network of telephones is being created within a new or pre-existing building. Forwarding systems and extension lines, for example, will need a trained installer. A professional installer will also be necessary if a company wishes to set up a more advanced network which includes telephone access, such as a combination Ethernet, Internet and telephone network.
Professional aid isn’t necessary for very simple telephone wiring, such as the type which would be seen in a home: one or two telephones plugged in to pre-existing jacks. For example, a restaurant or gas station would likely be able to set up their own telephone. If there are any doubts as to whether or not professional installation is needed, the experts at Active Communication Company Ltd are always happy to provide advice.
Installing Telephone Cabling
Under the circumstances described above, professional telephone cabling installation is a very good idea, or even a downright necessity. Professional cable installers absolutely must be on hand to handle telephone cables during the construction of a building, and are also extremely useful when setting up a network within a building which has already been wired. Cables need to be hooked up to the main telephone lines, which can require significant digging work and also constitutes an electrocution hazard to those who don’t take appropriate safety measures.
Once the building has connectivity, professional installers can create a usable network with features like extension numbers, forwarding and voice mail, et cetera. Since every individual telephone needs its own physical cable and phone jack, the network can become very complicated very quickly. Cables must be kept out of the way and have to be perfectly connected in order to work, which is a tall order when there are dozens of them to keep track of. Fortunately, experienced installers at Active Communication Company Ltd are ready to help!