History of Cable Installation and Advancements Made in the Past 20 Years

the history of cable installationWhen the cabling industry had to upgrade itself to fit in with the new boom of technology that began in the 1990’s, no one knew quite what this would look like. At the time, there did not exist the standards which exist now. While other industries, such as IT, had evolved in a way that allowed them to develop their required technology as the industry grew, the cable industry was left in the dark to figure out what was needed.

The cabling industry saw its birth in the 1940’s and 50’s. The mission of cabler installers at the time was to enhance the television reception in remote areas, especially those in Arkansas, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. They placed towers upon hilltops and other high points in order for transmissions to be sent out with a clear line of sight. The towers had to be hard wired to another tower or to a broadcasting location.

In the 1960’s the demand for cable installers rose. There were more TVs and radios in homes and each of these homes needed electricity to power their machines. One television per home was still the norm, but this would change as television and radio technology got smaller and more advanced. Networks like HBO were being founded by the 1970’s, meaning that the basic three channels had to upgrade. This meant an increase in regulations and overall uniformity being initiated.

The 1990’s is when the knowledge of cable installers was put to the test. Satellite technology, which had previously been used for government applications was making its way into the homes of millions. An even greater challenge was the advent of the internet. This was before CAT wire came out and there was no regulations for how to install the cables. The first standard was actually put in place in 1991 by the Electronic Industries Alliance and the Telecommunications Industry Association.

Prior to the integration of these standards, cable installers largely installed how they were taught, with there being no uniformity from region to region. There was no color coding with the early system of cable installation, so connections were often full of splices.

Even wireless technology, which made its public debut around the late 90’s, had to be wired at some point. Connecting houses, apartments and business’ which had their cable installed prior to the 1990’s (pretty much all of them) was proving to be a headache for many professionals in the industry. CAT3 was the first color coated wire, which also offered twisted pairs. It revolutionized the cable installation industry. As the cable was improved, so to were the connections and the composition of the materials used.

The industry still had complications. CAT3, CAT4, and more recently CAT5 components were often merged together. Installation practices have greatly improved since the turn of the last century, but examples of these mixed components and poor installation practices can still be found on older installations. These are reminiscent of a bygone era when the internet and digital technology wee still in their infancy.

There are still challenges to be faced as new technologies are created on a seemingly daily basis. But the cable installation industry quickly caught up and since then has made it a priority to stay ahead of the curve. Whatever technologies come out over the next few decades, cable installers will be prepared.

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