Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 23 - Page 54

FEATURE: CABLING STANDARDS speeds, including 25 Gb/s and higher, to support these connections. Class I, class II, and category 8 cabling has a unique channel topology that is optimised for support of 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T server to switch connections in the data centre. These cabling solutions are characterised to 2 GHz and supports 30 metre cabling channels that contain no more than two connectors. Data centre designers that can arrange their rack and cabinet layouts to support maximum 30-metre channel connections at these locations today will be well-positioned to migrate to 25G/40GBASE-T when the technology becomes available. In the data centre backbone, where switch-to-switch backbone links are rapidly migrating to greater than 40 Gb/s speeds, optical fibre cabling provides the best cabling option. What is the best way for those wishing to install new cabling infrastructure to judge the standard of its reliability? In order to judge the reliability of the installed products, it is highly recommended that those installing new cabling infrastructure carefully review worst case (not “typical” or “average”) performance guarantees and ask vendors to provide independent third party certificates for their proposed products and solutions. Customers are urged to always source their equipment from the reputable manufacturers with a proven track record and a comprehensive range of end-to-end cabling solutions for the LAN, intelligent building and data centre networks. How long should cabling infrastructure last and how many generations of equipment should it support? Cabling typically represents two to three per cent of an overall network hardware budget and it is expected to perform for 10–20 years and support two to three generations of active electronics. However, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration when determining the category or class of cabling that will be used in a network infrastructure. These include the time an end-user will occupy a facility, the expected installed lifetime of the cabling plant, the applications that will run on the cabling plant over its useful life, the timeframe during which standards, applications and electronics manufacturers will support the cabling plant, the cost of active electronics, warranty length and covered components as well as price as it relates to performance. All major cable manufactures are required to make their cable to minimal standard compliances for each grade. How do these vary between the grades currently being installed? Whilst many the cable manufacturers provide minimally compliant cables and connectivity, the headroom provided by the cabling system is highly desirable because it helps to ensure that the entire cabling system will perform reliably and robustly over its lifecycle. Headroom, as provided by Siemon’s category 6A shielded and unshielded cabling solutions, is especially beneficial when the cabling plant is subjected to frequent changes and allows the cabling to be more tolerant of variables associated with real-life cabling installations. In networks with hundreds or thousands of installed drops, even a low percentage of links having marginal test results can consume hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to resolve. “Cabling is expected to perform for 10–20 years and support two to three generations of active electronics.” 54 INTELLIGENTCIO www.intelligentcio.com