The general news media often comments on Moore’s law which essentially declares that chip speeds will increase every 18 months or so. Computer users will replace their devices every five years or so and in businesses with the capital to do so, every three to four years. The network infrastructure equipment such as routers and switches will see similar replacement strategies. Cabling, however, is often overlooked. After all, it is behind the wall, under the floor, above the ceiling tiles. Copper is copper and who bothers to think about metal?
Good cabling installations are an essential component of a powerful, reliant, fast network. They allow devices to be connected to the network from disparate locations within a facility. They are fixed in their locations and rarely break. When they do, they can be difficult to identify as the problem, more difficult to locate and time-consuming and expensive to repair. Identifying a single cable in a bundle of 25 or more and replacing it from the IDF or MDF to the local jack takes time.
Cabling of a facility is usually a one-time event that is expected to last 10 or more years, but what about the changes that have occurred in technology and computer use during that time? The advent of the Internet has now moved to the advent of cloud computing. We often concentrate on the uplink and downlink speeds while neglecting to look at the data transfer rates from our routers to our MDF switches to our IDF switches. These can choke the data transfer speeds of the best internet connections.
Modern Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony that travels on your data network adds to the equation as quality of service concerns can be created through bad cabling or cabling that has aged. Cable installations that were done many years ago may not take advantage of advances in fiber optics and gigabit speed capabilities.
New facilities that are being planned have the opportunity to take advantage of current best in class technology and planning for future technologies and expansions. Proper planning for these activities by knowledgeable professionals can help to ensure that expandability, documentation, and best practices are applied.
Existing facilities with ongoing business operations can apply the same principles of design and implementation as new facilities to future proof their design. A few considerations should be discussed in the design phase:
- Will you be integrating new wiring into the older design, if so what effect will that have on performance?
- If you are creating a new installation how will you handle the cutover period?
- Do you plan on doing cable abatement (removing the old cable)?
- Will you introduce a new network schema at the same time?
A full service IT support organization with a strong cabling and network architecture practice can help guide you to the proper architectural design, implementation, and installation to ensure that your new cabling helps to provide the five nines reliability of the POTS model that is inherently expected by your customers.
If you are in the Miami/South Florida area contact 4 Corner IT, for information about current cabling practices, network cable installations and any other IT support needs.