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In today's high-density data center, a well-designed structured cabling system increases uptime, scalability and return on investment while simultaneously decreasing your technology footprint and operating expenses.
AC/DC power, ground, copper and fibre optic are the main types of network cabling used in data centers. The interface that is available on the equipment used in the data center is the primary means for determining which type of cabling should be used. The network data cabling may also be selected based upon the bandwidth requirements of the equipment being used in the data center.
Cabling within a data center may be either structured or unstructured. Structured cabling uses predefined standards-based design with predefined connection points and pathways. The cabling used in a structured wiring design is specified by the bandwidth requirements of the system and is tested to ensure proper performance. The cables used in a structured wiring system will be well organized and labelled. Although a structured cabling system may take longer to install and have a higher initial cost, the operational cost will ultimately be lower, and the life cycle of the system will be longer when compared to an unstructured system.
Basics of Structured or Unstructured Cabling:
Unstructured cabling system represents a jumbled mess of cables when the optical links are deployed from device to device without the use of patch panel. Because of this, the unstructured infrastructure lacks order and can easily become congested with the number of optical patch cords. The routing of new patch cords can be a hassle since the lack of order requires the patch cords to be routed through undesirable places, for instance, the floor or the ceiling. Additionally, the data centers having unstructured infrastructure are prone to overheating as the congestion leads to restricted air flow.
As the name suggests, the structured cabling system is a sophisticated network of wires and cables that are managed through patch panels for better control. Apart from the usual expenses, the structured cables require additional investment in the form of pre-terminated MPO cabling to help create a systemized cabling infrastructure. Because of this, the entire infrastructure is easily scalable and much easier to manage. Apart from the downsides of expensive nature and link-loss budget, the structured cabling infrastructure still remains a favourite choice among many organizations due to the ease of use that accompanies it. So, the aspect of well-organized cables easily trumps the unstructured cabling infrastructure.
The unstructured cabling infrastructure has high energy costs, a limited life cycle and is difficult to expand when it comes to introducing new devices to the existing system. It has low installation costs and can be easily set up. However, the lack of order causes it to face excessive downtime that impacts the overall performance. Comparatively, the structured infrastructure is difficult to install, has high installation costs; however, the high performance and its easily buildable nature easily trumps its downsides. That said, choosing the infrastructure solely comes to your preferences and building space.
Best Suitable Fiber , Copper or Both for Data Cabling Center:
The next step in building a suitable infrastructure is choosing a type of cable for the purpose of data transmission. Earlier, industrialists relied on copper wires or coaxial cables to meet the data center demands. On the other hand, the introduction of the fibre optic cables has been garnering attention and praise due to its high performance. That said, it is not necessary that you also make a switch to the latter option since copper cables are equal to fibre optics when it comes to great performance. One exceeds where one lacks and where one lacks the other one exceeds. To better understand which will be better for your data center, we have broken down the qualities of both the options:
The performance of copper cables exceeds when it comes to data centers. Apart from being a suitable option, the copper wires have low overall costs accompanied by lower operational expenditures. That said, opting with the best copper wire will not solve all your problems as you would still need high-quality patch panels, connectors (Cat 6 connectors, etc), patch cords, termination and much more to amplify its performance.
Benefits of choosing copper or coaxial cable for cabling purposes:
Data centers require cables and wires that could meet with their requirements for high reliability, enhanced performance, and high bandwidth data transfer capabilities. Fibre optics is not far behind when it comes to meeting with these requirements. Here are some of the other benefits one could avail once they choose fibre optics:
Right Cabling Design
There are two major cabling designs in data centers: horizontal cabling and backbone cabling. The horizontal cabling supports mechanical termination, patch cords, and horizontal cross-connect when it comes to the Horizontal Distribution Area (HDA). In addition, the horizontal cabling supports all types of cabling options, i.e. fibre optics, copper or the combination of both.
On the other hand, the backbone cabling focuses on the simplification of the data center's design since it supports mechanical termination, patch cords, and main connects to other parts of the data center. Because of this, backbone cabling is better managed; however, the problem arises when the cabling is to be done in a distributed data center environment or in one that has multiple entrances.
There is another approach to the cabling design called zone cabling. This cabling design is also great; however, it can add up to the overall costs since it requires tons of moves, changes, and additions. Also, this approach is rendered useless when it comes to a cross-connector channel in the data centers.