Data Center Structured Cabling
Professional Structured Cabling for Top Quality Results
The AIS Professional Services team offers exemplary structured cabling services consisting of cage, suite, building, or campus telecommunications cabling infrastructure.
Let us do your cabling work and enjoy a professional, high-quality outcome with superior value and satisfaction.
Why Structured Cabling from AIS?
Structured cabling solutions are often overlooked or taken for granted, but even the major equipment vendors capturing the majority of the data center market will be the first to say that all of their devices are useless if the cabling is incapable of supporting the applications.
Understanding the data center standards, identifying cabling objectives, and choosing the right components will go a long way toward ensuring reliable performance and operation. It is a decision that can save time, money, and frustration – both now and in the long run.
Cooling is a very real concern in data centers with dense copper cabling, which is one reason why fiber is gaining popularity in these applications. If you have hundreds of copper cables running back to your switch, you would actually be impeding airflow – hence by dealing with relatively smaller and thinner fiber cable one can avoid the airflow block.
The driving force behind most data center designs is cost, but increasingly enterprises are taking the focus off the cost factor and view it as an essential investment. Flexibility is a key to designing a data center. Revenue is too valuable particularly for clients to wait weeks, days, or even hours for data center equipment to be up and running.
Cabling components that are modular and simple to use without tool kits, consumables, field termination, and training offer the fastest start-up time, better cable management flexibility, and easier moves, adds, and changes. To further cut down costs, components must be considered that are easy to order, inventory, replace, and connect to enable installation in phases.
Some data center installations may require more than 1,000 sq ft of rack space just to house storage devices. Some turn to remote storage locations, but any environmentally-controlled real estate is expensive. Higher density cabling components can help reduce the amount of floor space, rack space, and associated costs.
Data Center Structured Cabling
A data center cabling design is different from normal commercial building cabling design. The most important areas to be addressed in data center are as follows.
- Manage higher densities: Data center cabling typically will have very high fiber density and this should be scalable and easy to maintain.
- Cable management: Higher densities lead to difficulty in cable management and moves, adds, and changes become difficult. Proper cable management with bend radius protection is required in a data center.
- Heat control: Poor airflow is a major concern in data centers; proper cable management addresses this.
- Cabling may be copper (UTP/ScTP) or fiber (SM/MM) which will depend on the interface of the equipment to which it is connected. Typical structured cabling services allow for dark fiber (unused strands) to be run along with the active fiber. Equipment may be active or passive.
- Fast deployment and accurate moves, adds, and changes
- Standards-based open systems
- High performance and high bandwidth with growth factors incorporated
- Support for 10G or higher speed technologies
- Support for storage devices (i.e., fiber channel, SCSI, or NAS)
- Support for convergence with growth factors incorporated
- High quality, reliability, and scalability
- Redundancy and path diversity
- High capacity and density
- Efficient allocation of space
- Proper racking, enclosures, pathways, and access flooring
- Incorporation of data center security and monitoring systems
- Copper or fiber cabling
- Initial investment protection
- Structured Cabling in a Data Center
Data centers contain highly consolidated networks and equipment, and this high consolidation requires high density structured cabling systems. Cabling pathways in the data center generally consist of a combination of access under a raised flooring system and overhead cable tray. Raised floors provide the benefit of aesthetic pleasure along with heat management and easy access to hidden cables.
Cables under a raised floor should be run in raceways (cabling channels) to protect them from power cables, security devices, and fire suppression systems which may be run in the same environment. Power cables can be run either in conduit or in power raceways and should respect the minimum distances outlined in industry-standard specifications. Raceways aid in the distribution of cool air, facilitate future cable moves, adds, and changes, and ensure superior cable performance.
The fiber cabling pathway and management in the data center should be provided by a dedicated duct system. This provides a safe and protective method for routing and storing optical fiber patchcords, pigtails, and riser cables among fiber distribution frames, panels, splice cabinets, and termination equipment. Fiber carries different stress and bend radius requirements than copper due to the fact that it carries light rather than electrical signals. Planning is required to assure that proper space allowances are provided.
One needs to watch out for factors that can make or break the start-up of a data center installation. The traditional cabling process of pulling in cables, connecting the cables, populating patch panels, and testing and troubleshooting introduces delays and uncertainties.
Since future rack placement is typically determined in advance, trunk cables of predetermined lengths can be ordered in advance and stored until needed to enable cost-effective installation in phases and easy upgrades with minimal downtime.
In addition, traditional cabling components do not provide high-density options for space savings. Selecting MPO fiber optic and MRJ 21 copper pre-terminated trunk cables, breakout cassettes, and cable assemblies is an ideal solution to meeting data center objectives.
Most network equipment is not equipped with an MPO interface, but rather with existing MT-RJ, LC, ST, or SC type interfaces. Modular cassettes transition the 12 fibers of an MPO connector by routing each fiber of the MPO connection on the back of the cassette to the appropriate interface port on the front. Cassettes fit into existing patch panels and enclosures, and standard patch cords are used to connect ports on the front of the cassette to the network equipment interfaces. MPO cassettes can also be purchased and stored until needed.
MRJ 21 high-density copper connectivity solutions also include pre-terminated and tested trunk cables. The trunk cables are high performance 25-pair cables terminated with MRJ 21 connectors, which offer much higher port density than the common RJ45 interface. The MRJ 21 connector plugs into the back of high-density RJ45 panel-mounted cassettes or into a fixed-port and straight 1U patch panels or into equipment with the MRJ 21 connector interface.
The modular set up of eight pluggable MRJ 21 connections instead of 48 individual RJ45 terminations significantly reduces on-site labor, increases system uptime, and offers better cabling efficiencies. Connecting equipment using the MRJ 21 solution is about six times faster than with standard four-pair wiring.
As owners and operators strive to meet their cabling objectives, MPO fiber optic and MRJ 21 copper connectivity solutions are ideal components for providing reliable transmission, reduced real estate costs, quick deployment and upgrades, low investment, and long-term cost-effectiveness.
Contact AIS to learn more about Structured Cabling.