The ins and outs of planning your structured cabling solution

The ins and outs of planning your structured cabling solution

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The implementation of structured cabling is something that stands to greatly benefit your business or organisation. A good set up will help to equip even the smallest business with all of the tools it needs to succeed in the digital age.

Planning for such a project is therefore vital so it is important to ensure you are aware of every possible consideration.

What applications?

The first thing you need to consider is what your system is actually going to be used for both at present and in the future. For instance, you may not want to use voice over internet protocol now, but that does not mean that it will not be a viable option for your operation later down the line.

It is therefore important that your system is set up with open standards and is able to support a variety of applications regardless of the vendor. This means that aspects such as bandwidth and even the physical size of your system should be considered carefully and ideally allow for expansion.

You want to plan on a lifespan of around ten to 20 years as your cabling system should boast the longest life cycle of any component ion your network.

Other components, such as a network switch, should also be considered as an integral part of your setup, but their lifespan is probably around five years.

It is important to see your cabling system as a critical building asset that helps to reduce costs, simplify the deployment of applications, while also enhancing the experiences of those within the workplace.

Cabling specifications

Specifying the cable correctly is an essential starting point for almost any project. Before commencing the installation process, you should be asking why you need to implement certain options and what they need to include.

Compile an accurate cabling specification document before embarking on any project as this will help to prevent any potential problems further down the line.

A good document will include guidelines on grounding and bonding, EMC protection and installation practices among others.  

Standards of cabling design should also be considered. Examine the ISO and TIA Standards and ensure you know just how these will impact your wider system both on a physical level and in terms of installation and compatibility.

Make sure you can take the heat

New and emerging technologies such as virtualisation, cloud computing and consolidation have caused the level of heat density to increase within the data centre, a situation brought about by the extra need, which can in some cases lead to "air dams" if they are not properly planned or laid out.

The inclusion of supplemental cooling in the design of your cabling setup should therefore be considered of pressing importance.  

In terms of the design of the data centre itself, there are a predictably a whole number of options available. Ensure you can research what solution is right for you as this will save time and space, meaning you are better equipped for future expansion.

Seek expert advice

It may be the case that your business or organisation has the right staff at your disposal to successfully implement a cabling system, yet it is still hugely helpful to seek the advice of professional architects, designers, planners and consultants, as they will often be able to offer a second opinion about your project and may also be in a position to point out any thing you had not previously considered.

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