ISP stands for Inside Plant and OSP stands for Outside Plant. According to Building Industry Construction Service International (BICSI), OSP is any network infrastructure installed external to buildings. Our scope includes optical fiber cabling, balanced twisted-pair cabling, and support structures to link locations.
OSP cables are underground, direct-buried, or aerial. ICG specializes in direct-buried which utilizes trenches, pedestals, and communication maintenance holes.
ISP refers to cable installed inside of the building. This includes everything from the patch panel, patch cord, and switch to the cables and jacks.
Each may require a different type of cable and a different method of installation. ISP utilizes wall and ceiling drops, while OSP will likely require trenching.
Structured cabling can sound complicated with multiple types of copper and fiber optic cabling available. So first let us explain the differences of each type of cable.
Fiber optics will provide you with the fastest speeds, although CAT 6 cables will support up to 10Gb/s which may be fast enough for your business. Fiber optics has the additional benefit of transmitting light rather than electricity which means it is not subject to electromagnetic interference, it is much harder to intercept, and it is not subject to the hazards of electrical current. Alternatively you can use Shielded Twisted-Pair (STP) copper cables to avoid electromagnetic interference as well.
The second thing to consider is the scope of the job. You may be forced to used single mode fiber if your project spans multiple buildings (Outside Plant – OSP) or long distances. If it is a one building project (Inside Plant – ISP) you still need to choose between multimode fiber, cat 5e, cat 6, and cat 6a. This choice may come down to whether you must run cable outside or it may be personal preference of the business owner as multimode fiber is comparable to Ethernet when cabling in a small to medium size building.
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