Data Center Cabling Solutions
The Importance of Structured Cabling During a Crisis

The Importance of Structured Cabling During a Crisis

  • Apr 8, 2020
  • cabling design, structured cabling
  • Rick Dallmann

Normally, any day of the week, you’ll find the CABLExpress data center architects educating our clients on the importance of the TIA-942 Standard for fiber optic and copper cabling design and its specifications for structured cabling. During this time of pandemic crisis, the benefits of a properly defined structured cabling system are as important as ever.

What is structured cabling?

Defined as building or campus telecommunications cabling, structured cabling is infrastructure that is comprised of several standard components, such as patch panels and multi-fiber or multi-copper custom-length trunk cables. With port replication, our own structured design solution, you’ll have a data center cabling infrastructure that’s ready to take you into the next decade without hesitation. Additional benefits are quickly realized with an infrastructure that will predictably perform and flex to accommodate moves, adds, and changes at lightning speed.

By the standard and design, the fiber and copper ports required for immediate need and for future growth are deployed and distributed throughout the cabinets in the data center, (i.e. MDA, EOR, ZONE, etc.). This enables the active ports to be managed, brought into service, or taken out of service in a passive environment.

This maximizes system availability, provides redundancy, and future-proofs the usability of the cabling system. All this is accomplished without risk to active machines or switch ports, reducing the likelihood of downtime. The diamond in the rough here is that all this is accomplished by utilizing standard, off-the-shelf components and patch cables, no more than a meter or two in length, if done properly.

The opposite

The exact opposite of the port replication methodology is defined as “point-to-point” cabling. Just imagine having to run a cable from the second floor of your home to the circuit breaker box in your basement each and every time you had to use your hair dryer or charge your cell phone. Not an optimal way to have your home configured and not the way to have your enterprise-class data center configured. But that's essentially just what you'd have to do in a point-to-point cabling topology.

Why is this important today?

So why bring this up now? Today, we find ourselves, our country, and our industry in uncharted territory. The need to add capacity quickly to our data centers as the workforce shifts to a “work from home” model has never been more important.

Our network and data centers must accommodate new needs quickly, and yet still provide its original specified transactions and processes. CABLExpress uses four production facilities in the USA. We have been running at full capacity through this pandemic, keeping up with demand for fiber optic and copper infrastructure cabling.

However, the majority of the industry’s pre-terminated fiber optic and copper cable products are being manufactured outside of the USA, making acquisition challenging and unpredictable. A lot of this chaos could have been eliminated if structured cabling systems were deployed originally in our data centers.

The capability to add capacity and redeploy assets easily and quickly with standard and mostly off-the-shelf product is priceless in a time like this. These benefits could make or break a business. 

While our nation fights to keep up with the technology changes made necessary by COVID-19, let’s make structured cabling part of our long-term disaster plan in our networks and data centers!


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