What are all the parts of a data network?


CAT5e - A CAT5e cable is the enhanced version of the CAT5 cable that significantly improves the performance. They are typically twisted pair wires which can support Gigabit networks up to 100metres.

CAT6 - A newer form of cable than CAT5e, CAT6 is backward compatible with older CAT5e and CAT3 cabling. CAT6 also supports Gigabit networks, but have the ability to support up to 10 Gigabit networks.


The ADSL, or router, works as an access point from the main network. Openreach owns the UK’s landline infrastructure, so to have an ADSL connection you need to rent the phone line from then, and broadband is added onto the package.


A Firewall is a network security device that is able to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic and permits or blocks data based on security parameters. They can be built into the ADSL, but often come as an external device between router and server. It is designed to block bad traffic like viruses and hackers.


A server is software or a device that provides a service to another computer program and its user, known as the client. A server is essentially a computer without anyone working behind it with a monitor. There are many kinds of servers such as: web servers, mail servers, file servers etc.


A network switch is used to network multiple computers together. Switches are able to limit the traffic to and from each port so that each device connected has sufficient bandwidth to operate.

Patch Panel

Also referred to as patch bay, patch field or jack field, a patch panel is mounted hardware that contains a number of ports to connect and manage the incoming and outgoing cabling. Inside a wiring closet, it is common to have at least one patch panel per rack - they are predominantly used to manage a mass of cabling.

Data Outlet & Patch Lead

An outlet is a hub for connecting individual PC’s to the network, with the patch lead (ethernet cable) connecting one to the other.

Download our structured cabling guide here.

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