Data Center Cabling Solutions

Product Manager Josh Taylor shows us why we should Respect Layer One copper. A quick tutorial on the what it is, what it does, why it is important and why we should respect it.



                       Hi, I'm Josh Taylor, product manager with CABLExpress. Today we're going to talk about layer one, specifically what it is, what it does, how it works, and why you should respect it. The best way to understand about cabling is to learn the standards, like this right here, the TIA-942 standard. Layer one is the physical media that works on the electrical and the mechanical level. In other words, the cabling and the ports that it plugs into.

                        Now I'll keep this pretty generic and I'll use common scenarios around businesses. Here's where all the work gets done, so this is where I like to begin. Let's start with layer one here at the desktop. Unless you're using wireless your desktop is probably connected to the network with a patch cord, witch then plugs into either a face plate or a surface mount box. Inside either one of the those is a jack, 110 punch down jack, which connections to some bulk cable like this, just a little sample piece, which punches down on here, which is called a 110 punch down. You should respect this area. This area is a little bit of a mess right here. Cords can get tangled. You can kick the cord out. You can damage this jack. There's a lot of different things that can go wrong, and then you know what? You can't email, can't get your work done. It's not good.

                        That bulk cable runs through the walls and it ends up in the IDF, or intermediate distribution frame, here's where a lot of data converges in this room depending on the size of the building, size of the work force, and other areas. You need more bandwidth in this area. It's not just one lane of traffic. As you can see, you have multiple desktops basically represented in this area. Here's an example of not respecting a layer one. It is always worth the time to label and properly route your cables to avoid confusion like this. This confusion could lead to downtime, and nobody wants that. I could accidentally unplug one cable and bring down the whole accounting department, and now you're not getting a paycheck.

                        Then from your IDF or multiple IDFs they all converge into the data center or the computer room. That's basically the hub or nucleus of the whole system. This is where layer one is absolutely critical. Bandwidth needs are rising dramatically. Port counts and/or redundant connections are growing exponentially. A lot of data centers were built in the 80s or maybe the 90s, and that means is that a lot of cabling was laid out at that time and it's very difficult to upgrade the cabling because you have to have downtime at that point. This is where it's very important to evaluate your cabling. Respect the layer one. Find out what you have and find out where you need to go because you certainly don't want to end up in a position where you buy new hardware, you have a big upgrade, you plan an outage, and your cabling can't support that upgrade.

            There's a few things you could do to avoid these types of situations. First off, do your research. There are standards out there. Read on them and learn about the technology. Secondly, and most importantly, evaluate your infrastructure. Go section by section. Start at the desktops, move to the IDF, and then end up at the data center and find out where your weak points are. Then lastly, when your go to purchase an upgrade, do you research. A lot of cabling looks the same, but trust me, it is not. Thanks for watching. I hope you learned something. For more information visit us on