Since the early 80’s when structured cabling was introduced, patch cords have changed very little. From Cat5 through to current day Cat6A and beyond, the humble patch cord has been produced using predominantly 24AWG & 26AWG* stranded copper cable. (Typically 5.5-5.7mm diameter). This is in line with standards such as ANSI/TIA-568.C.2 & ISO 11801 which define performance and recommend the copper conductor diameter of patch cable to be 22-26AWG. (Note a smaller AWG number is a larger diameter)  As the demand for data network points increased, congestion challenges arose in the Telecommunications Rooms (TR) and patch field management became increasingly important. Mitigating the congestion of patch fields was made possible by introducing horizontal and vertical rack cable managers and increasing rack U space. The introduction of the angled panel was another innovation to aid patch field management. These measures were effective for the typical enterprise network where the TR was located in the office building. However, times have changed and over the past 10 years virtualisation has seen large scale migration of data networks, storage and servers away from the office and concentrated into data centres, creating yet higher densities of cabling and patching. In addition, network devices such as core switches and blade servers have increased in computing power requiring higher speed 10G connections. The increased diameter of shielded Cat6A patch cables, coupled to a higher density of connections has exacerbated the problem. Additionally, increased power loads dictate increased cooling and the need to avoid restricting airflow with cables. These factors all add up to a headache for network designers whilst moves and changes becomes more problematic. Nowadays you may need slim fingers to be able to relocate a patch connection! One recently introduced solution is the development of smaller diameter 28AWG patch cords. A few innovative network cabling manufacturers have pioneered development and testing of these small diameter cords. When bundled they can have a dramatic effect on the overall diameter. Combined with slim line plugs this alleviates the problems of congested patch managers, improves airflow and enables higher density patch panels e.g. 48 way in 1U may be used without the need of special tools for patching. When applied to a congested data centre this can make all the difference in ensuring that existing space is optimised to the full.  The area that can benefit most are network switches i.e. switch harnesses and one to one switch to panel links. Link, Channel and de-rating factors  There are of course some limitations to the use of smaller diameter cords but the benefits usually far outweigh these. Higher attenuation means that a higher de-rating factor will need to be applied when designing the cabling system. If using PoE, PoE+ or proposed PoE++, bundle size is limited due to heat dissipation. This is more likely to be encountered in offices than data centres where PoE is more applicable. Cords using 28AWG copper fall short of the recommendations in ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 & ISO11801: Typically a 24AWG patch lead will have a de-rating factor of 1.2. which increases  to 1.9 with 28AWG patch cords. This translates for example to a channel with a 90m permanent link and 6m of patch cords i.e. a 96m channel overall. In the majority of offices and data centres this would be more than adequate length. It is fair to say that using small diameter patch leads can free up much needed space in a congested network cabinet but design principles should always be applied before implementation. Small diameter patch cables are available in Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6A, meaning that most existing installations can benefit from retrofitting them.  Networks Centre supply a full range of small diameter patch cords. Call 01403 754233 for more details. More
Nobody likes to spend money replacing a tester that has proved itself to be ultra-reliable and a workhorse for Datacom Engineers the world over. That can truly be said of the Fluke DTX-1800.  After 12 years in service and over 1Billion links certified worldwide the DTX maintained its position as certification tool of choice for professionals globally. A testament to it’s advanced design and Fluke Networks best in class support. Alas, technology has moved on significantly and the replacement launched in 2013 – the Versiv DSX-5000 is proving to be a worthy successor. So what?  Why would an experienced user upgrade before 30 June 2018, the date from which calibration & service support for many DTX models will no longer be available?  In a word –Productivity. Productivity gains manifest themselves in many ways in the Versiv, some of which are not immediately apparent. One of the most obvious as you would expect is processing power. This has enabled Fluke Networks to reduce testing cycle time dramatically. For example the cycle time for Cat6A Class EA link is reduced from  22s to 10s. For fibre the improvement is even more dramatic with a 4 fold reduction certifying two fibres at two wavelengths in 3 seconds!  However that is just the beginning.  Versiv is a completely new platform developed with a holistic view of the process, starting with network design all the way through to acceptance with a project based approach. Previous generations of testers were unable to facilitate this aspect very well. Consequently productivity was reduced due to incorrect test parameters or other set up errors causing unnecessary return visits and re-testing. Indeed research has shown that over 90% of contractors have had set up, testing & reporting issues. ProjX is a new feature that enables test parameters to be set up in advance and managed for multiple testers and locations, integrating with Linkware Live Cloud Services. With a memory capability far in excess of the DTX (12,000 CAT6A results with plots vs 250 CAT6A) and the ability to upload wirelessly, there is no need for return trips to the office. Other productivity improvements come from simplifying use; The correct reference set up procedure for testing fibre link loss has long been a source of uncertainty and errors leading to inaccurate results or incorrect pass or fails. The Versiv CertiFiber Pro OLTS provides a simple to follow, automated wizard to ensure accurate reference setting by anyone who can follow simple instructions. Offering new testing and certifying capabilities not previously available, driven from an intuitive touch screen menu, the Versiv modular platform looks to the future with additional test capabilities. For example the DSX-5000 is independently verified to meet the requirements for testing Class FA - Cat 7A.  It is also equipped to test for DC Resistance Unbalance which can cause transmission issues where PoE is used in conjunction with applications using both pairs of a data cable such as Gigabit Ethernet. Many large Network Infrastructure companies have already moved their fleets over to the Versiv platform. The Gold membership support offered by Fluke and managed by Networks Centre makes it even more compelling by removing the headache of having testers away for calibration or repair. More
Network Centre Training Academy is pleased to announce a new partnership with Capitoline and Squaremile. The partnership allows Networks Centre Training Academy to deliver Data Centre Design, Data Centre Operations Management and Visio for Data Centre Professionals. Capitoline, a data centre consultancy, specialise in training experts in the design, operation and management of data centres. Our certified courses include DCD Data Centre Design and DCOM Data Centre Operations Management training. DCD Data Centre Design training is a 3 day course focusing on the best practices for infrastructure design and layouts of a data centre or computer room. Experienced trainers guide delegates through the planning and designing process. The comprehensive course covers the essentials from defining the best rack layout for your computer room to understanding the size of UPS and the generator required to provide back-up power. Delegates will learn how to implement cooling systems and what capacity is required. DCOM Data Centre Operations Management is a 2 day course specialising in the management and operations of a data centre. Delegates will learn exactly what documentation, policies and procedures you should have in place to ensure the smooth running of your facility. Delegates will learn from experienced teachers who have audited 100s of data centres around the world. Avoid common failures by learning the critical ‘must have’ processes. Each class offers a careful balance between theory and practical experience gained. Squaremile, a professional IT service provider, offers relevant training for networking specialists. Visio for Data Centre Professionals helps delegates unlock the hidden features such as data-driven diagrams, dashboards and automation. The intermediate course will save over 90% of the wasted time when creating and updating diagrams. Alongside BICSI RCDD, each course can earn delegates BICSI Continuing Education Credits (CECs). More information on course specific CECs can be found below: Course Description BICSI CECs Course Date BICSI RCDD Accreditation 37 25th - 29th April 20th - 24th June Capitoline Data Centre Operations Management 12 6th - 8th June Capitoline Data Centre Design 21 9th - 10th June Visio for Data Centre Professionals 14 TBC Networks Centre Training Academy continues to offer industry leading courses from BICSI, City & Guilds, Capitoline, Squaremile and more. For more information on training opportunities, call 01403 754233 or email training@networkscentre.com X More
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