Structured cabling is building or campus telecommunications cabling infrastructure that consists of a number of standardized smaller elements (hence structured) called subsystems. Structured cabling falls into six subsystems:
Structured cabling design and installation is governed by a set of standards that specify wiring data centers, and apartment buildings for data or voice communications, using category 5 (CAT 5E) or category 6 cable (CAT 6) and modular sockets. These standards define how to lay the cabling in a star formation, such that all outlets terminate at a central patch panel (which is normally 19 inch rack-mounted), from where it can be determined exactly how these connections will be used. Each outlet can be 'patched' into a data network switch (normally also rack mounted alongside), or patched into a 'telecoms patch panel' which forms a bridge into a private branch exchange (PBX) telephone system, thus making the connection a voice port.