Copper cable installation: 8 guidelines to protect your hardware

You can invest in the best cable and hardware, but if they’re not installed properly, they won’t work, or at least they won’t work well. Protect your investment and follow these installation guidelines.

cable-pair-twists1. Cable pair twists. This is the most important guideline you can follow for twisted-pair cable. The pair twists are responsible for much of cable’s performance. If you lose the twists, you lose performance.

When terminating CAT5e or higher, maintain pair twists to within 13 mm (0.5 in.) from the point of termination. And remove as little of the sheath as possible.

When terminating cable, only strip back the cable sheath 1″. Keep pair untwists to a maximum of 0.5″.

Bend-radius2. Bend radius. If you bend twisted-pair cable too much, you loosen the twists, and yes, lose performance. The following bend radii are under no-load conditions:

  • UTP horizontal: 4 times the cable diameter.
  • Sc/UTP horizontal: 8 times the cable diameter.
  • Multipair backbone: 10 times the cable diameter.

3. Tension. To avoid stretching, pulling tension should not exceed 110 N (25 lb./ft. or 110N). Pulling too hard untwists the pairs, which can cause transmission problems, and can affect cable certification. Use supports and trays in cable runs to minimize sagging, which pulls on the pairs and degrades performance.

Cable-wrap4. Cinching. Take care not to cinch cable bundles tightly, which causes stress and degrades performance. Tie cable bundles loosely. And never staple cables.

5. Connecting hardware. Use connecting hardware of the same category or higher. The transmission of your components will always be the lowest category in the link. So, if you’re using CAT6 cable, use CAT6 connectors.

6. Miscellaneous considerations. Visually inspect the cable for proper terminations, bend radius, tension, nicks, etc. Don’t uncoil UTP cable on a spool. It can cause kinks. Rotate the spool instead. Plan for 12 inches of slack cable behind wall outlets for possible future reterminations. Continue reading

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11 Data center design tips

What are the most important things to consider when designing a data center?

The first step in designing and implementing a new or upgraded data center is to step back and assess your needs. The more complex your data center is now, the more important it is to successfully plan for growth. No matter if your network consists of a two-room office or a multi-building campus, decisions you make now will impact your business’s or organization’s success for many years to come. Here’s a short list of data center design tips:

  1. Consider initial and future loads.
  2. Lower data center power consumption and increase cooling efficiency by grouping together equipment with similar head load densities and temperature requirements. This allows cooling systems to be controlled to the least energy-intensive set points for each location.
  3. Reference 2011 ASHRAE Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments to review the standardized operating envelope for the recommended IT operating temperature.
  4. Identify the class of your data center to determine the recommended and allowable environmental envelopes.Caution sign
  5. Implement effective air management to minimize or eliminate mixing air between the cold and hot air sections. This includes configuration of equipment’s air intake and heat exhaust paths, location of air supply and air return, and the overall airflow patterns of the room. Benefits include reduced operating costs, increased IT density, and reduced heat-related processing interruptions or failures. Continue reading