Smart Building

Zone Cabling: Building Workplaces of the Future

Daniel Charles

The way we work is changing – and workspaces are being redesigned to support mobile workforces. Employees no longer sit at their assigned desks from 9am to 5pm, using wired devices connected directly to the network.

With smartphones, tablets, wearables and laptops, people are on the move all day, every day. They may spend 30 minutes at their workspace before dashing off to a meeting on another floor (probably checking email on their phone while they’re walking or waiting for the elevator).


Then, on their way to the cafeteria, they stop in the hallway to chat with a coworker to discuss talking points for an upcoming presentation. (Whew! We’re tired already!)


After lunch, they’re ready to collaborate with colleagues on a future launch. Everyone brings their laptops to a collaboration table so they can take notes and follow along (and keep up with email, of course).


With wireless access points installed throughout buildings, employees can stay connected wherever they go – at their desks or not. But this creates challenges for your behind-the-scenes cabling infrastructure, which ultimately supports all of this mobile activity.


office comparison


How Zone Cabling Supports a Mobile Workforce

Enter zone cabling! This cabling approach runs cables from the telecommunications room out to ceiling consolidation points located within specific building “zones.” These zones are also reflected inside the telecommunications room. Consolidation points allow users to easily connect any system or device.


In addition to ease of use and constant connection for employees, there are other important benefits to zone cabling:

  • Streamline cabling by replacing individual cables that run from the telecommunications room patch panels to multiple workstation outlets with shorter cables that all run to the consolidation point enclosures
  • Improve flexibility by connecting various devices directly in the consolidation point with a patch cord or running from the consolidation point to a fixed workstation outlet with pigtails
  • Reduce labor and material costs during reconfiguration because the cabling from the telecommunications room to the consolidation point stays intact

Building owners are seeing the benefits of zone cabling in leased buildings as well. In these applications, zone cabling saves time, money and hassle. By taking this cabling approach, owners can be prepared for any tenant, regardless of how they may want to arrange their workforce when they move in.


Without zone cabling, the horizontal cable runs going out to each outlet may have to be moved or removed based upon tenant requests. With zone cabling, cable doesn’t need to be removed or taken back to the telecommunications room. Instead, you’re dealing with a cable run of 10 m or 15 m, which is more manageable. This also prevents you from having to access the “fixed” part of your infrastructure (the cable that runs from your data center or telecommunications room to the consolidation point).


How REVConnect Complements Zone Cabling

Emerging technologies demand higher performance and higher power levels, driving an increase in demand not only for zone cabling, but also for a variety of RJ45 connection types.


Belden’s REVConnect Connectivity System was designed to support smart buildings in this way: It’s a versatile solution to deploy within zone-cabling infrastructure that uses one quick-and-easy termination method for all system configurations (any IoT or PoE device that uses an RJ45 plug). It also allows for quick exchanges between jacks, plugs and couplers as needs and endpoint devices change; the process is so simple that end-users can make the changes themselves.


REVConnect guarantees Category 6 and 6A performance and headroom, supporting PoE up to 100W. Any deployment can easily be supported with REVConnect and makes upgrades to existing infrastructure faster (up to 50% faster, in fact, based on comparable systems).


The REVConnect Coupler works well with zone cabling: It’s the best solution available for consolidation points. With a keystone footprint, it can be used in patch panels or purchased as a preloaded patch panel. REVConnect Pre-Terminated Assemblies are also a good fit for zone cabling. Because consolidation points are located in specific places throughout each floor, deploying a pre-terminated system can feed the panels in these consolidation points to save time.


Have questions about whether zone cabling may be the right approach for you? Contact us and we’ll answer your questions!