Wires made of either copper or glass that are used to connect computers and other network components to enable them to communicate, thus forming a network of computers. Laying cables is the foundation for both creating local area networks (LANs) and connecting LANs into wide area networks (WANs). Network administrators are usually involved only in the planning and laying of LAN cabling, since WAN cabling is the responsibility of telecommunications carriers.
There are two basic types of cabling used in LAN networking environments:
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) have defined a series of standards on proper layout and organization of premise cabling called the EIA/TIA wiring standards. Cabling installed in a building must meet all legal requirements, including federal and local building regulations. Do not attempt to wire a building unless you are fully familiar with the required regulations. The EIA/TIA-568A Commercial Building Telecommunication Cabling Standard specifies standards for each of the following:
Specialized cables—such as serial, parallel, or SCSI cables—are used to connect peripherals, and therefore do not serve the same purpose as the cables just discussed. Serial cables and other special purpose cables are generally very short and are not permanently installed. Cabling for a LAN must be installed according to the standards described in the previous list. Not all networks use physical cabling. Wireless networks can use infrared, microwave, radio, or some other form of electromagnetic radiation to allow networking components to communicate with each other.
Choosing the right kind of cabling at the beginning of an installation can save considerable expense when networking equipment is later upgraded for higher transmission speeds.
To learn more about Cabling you have to check this book by Sybex, Cabling: The Complete Guide to Cooper and Fiber-Optic Networking.