Fiber Optic Tech

Introduction to Horizontal and Vertical Cable Manager

For many IT manager or data center professionals, one of the most difficult task is to keep cables in proper order. Image that you walk into a sever room to troubleshoot cables because of the bad cable management, you see the cable here, cable there, cable everywhere. Can you walking through this without crying?

bad cable management

Now that you have looked at the horrible cable management, it is time for you to do something to avoid joining the terrible cable management hall.

From the above image, we can see that there are bunches of cables in one sever room, which includes power cables, network cables, and in some cases, keyboard or mouse cables. In this situation, proper rack cable management is absolutely essential. Without it, you will need to trace out every cable in the rack anytime, this, of course, can be very time consuming and difficult.

Fortunately, there are many excellent products available on the market, such as cable manager, wire duct, patch panel, cable ties and so on, which can help make cable management in rack environments much faster, easier and more effective. Whether you handle running cables for a massive corporate data center or for a small business, learning more about cable management can be very helpful. This article will have a brief introduction to the vertical and horizontal cable managers.

Vertical & Horizontal Cable Manager

Good cable management is essential. When installing cables in a sever rack, you will undoubtedly have to run them both vertically and horizontally. The best solution for this cabling is to run all the cables horizontally from the sever directly to the vertical cable management rack. In this case, you would need the cable managers to hold the cables smugly and safely. This vertical and horizontal cable manager provides plenty of room for all the cables.

Vertical cable manager just as seen in the below image, utilizes the additional space to manage the slack from patch cords, and make sure that they can easily route the largest cable diameter in your plan. For static environments, you can consider installing another vertical cable manager behind the racks, which does not block access to components in the space between the racks. Vertical racks can be also installed under a desk or against a wall and accommodate networking equipment up to 4 RU.

vertical cable manager

Horizontal cable managers allow neat and proper routing of the patch cables from equipment in racks and protect cables from damage. If you are using flat-faced patch panels or network switches that cable from above or below, horizontal cable manager will complete the support pathway for patch cords between the cabling section and the exact connection point (port) on the patch panel or switch. Alternately, horizontal management can be used to create rack-to-rack pathways for patch cords. The following image shows the 2u horizontal cable manager panel.

horizontal cable manager panel

Select a style of horizontal cable management that complements the cabling section (vertical manager). Generally, it is good practice to plan 1U of horizontal cable management for every 2U of connectivity. Cable fill should equal at minimum, half of the ports supported by the cable manager. This method assumes that patch cords enter from both sides of the rack. Capacity should equal port density when cables enter from one side of the rack only.

In some case, vertical cable manager and horizontal cable manager are often used together. The vertical cable manager guides cables to the floor and horizontal cable management draws away from equipment.

FS.COM Cable Manager

FS.COM cable management provides an engineered solution for managing high-density cabling applications, delivering increased performance to match the demands of data center applications. Use FS.COM Vertical and Horizontal Cable Managers on the sides of racks to manage premise cables, patch cords and jumper cords.

Features include:

  • Four styles: Finger duct, D-rings, Brushed, Telephone Line
  • Structure: Single-sided, Double-sided
  • Available in a variety of heights, depths and widths (rack up to 45 U)
  • Material: plastic, metal, semimetal
  • Vertical manager door opens to right or left with single knob; horizontal manager has snap-on cover
  • Rigid vertical manager trough minimizes movement when installed on the end of a row or racks; full rectangular base supports heavy cable bundles
  • Vertical cable managers feature panels that support various optional cable management accessories to divide the interior space and manage cable slack
  • The panel on dual-sided vertical managers are movable and allow for flexibility in the volume of cable management space
  • Wide variety of accessories include cable ties, cable management rings, cable lacing bars, J-hook and wire loom.

Conclusion

If you have picked the right rack cable manager (whether the vertical cable manager or the horizontal cable manager), the next important thing you should do is make sure you make a good preparation before deploying. Plan out every detail of the installation will help to ensure the cable management activities perform as quickly and easily as possible.

An Eye on the Copper Patch Panels

Are you tired of messy network? As the world embraces the increasingly faster data-rate network, IT managers felt great stress over the inability to organize and create a neat rack mounted environment. Patch panels allows the easy management of patch cables and link the cabling distribution areas, which paves the way for a refreshing new approach to a neat optical network.

Patch panels are usually installed on enclosures or racks to provide an easy way to organize connections. Patch panels are available in many different variations. Key design variations include:

  • Jack module type
  • Patch panel material type
  • Unshielded patch panels vs. shielded patch panels
  • Flat patch panels vs. angled patch panels
  • Standard patch panels vs. high-density patch panels
  • Port labeling

Patch panels also allow several cable connectors to be used (LC for fiber and RJ45 for copper). Today’s article will be concentrated on the illustration of the copper patch panels, especially cat5e patch panels and cat6 patch panels.

Copper Patch Panels

The cat5e and cat6 shielded and unshielded patch panels are the commonly used copper patch panels on the market that are suitable for communication socket interconnection between equipment room, working area and crossover terminal connection. This patch panels use the copper patch cord to contains ports to connect and manage incoming and outgoing Ethernet cables. Besides the shielded and unshielded patch panels, copper patch panels include flat and angled types from appearance design.

Flat patch panels help horizontal cable managers to organize and route cables into vertical managers. Angled patch panels are easy for cable termination and can improve patch cord routing. They serve as alternatives for management that need no rack space for horizontal management. The angled design increases rack density, managing high-density applications in one-fourth the area needed for conventional cable management systems. But angled panels are not good for cabinet installation due to the front depth requirements.

angled patch panel

Figure 1 shows the angled patch panels that allow cables to be mounted directly into the vertical cable manager. Angled patch panels do not need the additional cable manager to be installed above and below the patch panels, which makes them perfect for high-density areas. Next part will go on to talk about the cat5e and cat6 patch panels individually and specifically.

Cat5e Patch Panels

Cat5e patch panels allows fast and easy installation and cable management to copper Gigabit switches. It is compliant with TIA/EIA 568 industry specifications and features both T-568A and T-568B wiring configurations. Cat5e patch panels are ideal for Ethernet network applications. Figure 2 displays the 24 Port Cat5e Patch Panel (Feed-Through, UTP Unshielded, 1U Rack Mount).

cat5e patch panel

This type of patch panel mount the patch panel using four rack screws. With the module design, feed-through module can easily achieve high density access. No punch down is required as well. Last but not the least, UTP network cable inserts directly, simple operation, to achieve seamless integration between cables.

Cat6 Patch Panels

Cat6 patch panels deliver a steady 250 MHz connection to copper Gigabit switches. Ideal for Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and Copper Gigabit Ethernet (1000Base-T) network applications. Backward compatible with Cat. 3, 4, 5, and 5e cabling. Cat6 patch panels also meet the TIA/EIA 568 industry specification. Each patch panel terminates with standard 110 termination tools on the rear, which allows quick installations. Cat6 patch panels are available in 6-port and 8-port module groupings, in 8, 12, 24, and 48-port sizes.

Conclusion

This article provided some detailed information about copper patch panels. When selecting between the cat5e and cat6 patch panels, you should consider the density supported (24 ports or 48 ports), shielded or unshielded and the compatibility with your racks. FS.COM provides the cost-effective cat5e and cat6 patch panels in 24 ports, 48 ports per 1U or 2U panel. If you have any interest, please contact us directly.

Introduction to Patch Panels

Different systems have a functional unit that serves as a central location for monitoring and connecting circuits. In the case of optical cabling, patch panels represent the functional unit, which are used to connect and disconnect equipment. Without them, the transmission of data is rendered ineffective. Patch panels allow one to terminate long and troublesome cables so that a signal is connected directly through a patch code to its destination. Patch panels, as a crucial (and often overlooked) element of any interconnected network will be introduced in this article.

Why Do We Need Patch Panels?

There is no denying that patch panels are the crucial elements in cabling systems no matter how big or small. It is said that patch panels are basically pictured as the “traffic light” for a cabling network, and they allow you to terminate cable elements and the signal to be connected to the final destination. In addition, patch panels are found in the telecommunications section of a building, enabling the ease of managing telecommunications networks.

Patch panels are so critical to a system that if anything goes wrong with them, the entire system may fail. That means that they are very important to your networking system! Patch panels also play a big role in the administration of the telecommunications network. Some believe that they are the absolute only way to successfully transfer lines from one office to the next office.

cat6-patch-panels

Figure 1 shows the front and rear of a cat6 patch panel

Since they allow such easy management of cables, it makes sense to choose patch panels carefully. There are copper patch panels and fiber patch panels available on the market. If you use both, it is best to separate the cabling made out of fiber from cabling made from copper. But what if you want to choose between copper and fiber patch panels? Which kind is best?

Copper or Fiber Patch Panels

First, you should know that patch panels are used in fiber cabling networks as well as copper cabling networks. So is there a difference between these two types of cables as far as performance is concerned? Well, most professionals don’t see any differences. But others believe that the fiber patch panels are better, even though they are more expensive than their copper counterpart. In fact, they can be up to 40 percent higher in cost.

When it comes to copper patch panels, each pair of wires has a port. Fiber patch panels require two ports, but no hardwiring is needed. Fiber patch panels are a lot easier to install because of this. The fiber is fed through a coupler.

In addition, most professionals are in agreement that fiber is a lot faster than copper patch panels. Both types of patch panels must perform according to the same TIA/EIA standards that are needed to produce speed and signal performance for the rest of the cabling network.

FS.COM Copper Patch Panels

FS.COM Cat5e and Cat6 copper patch panels are the cost-effective solutions for your applications. Take our cat5e patch panels as an example, they are compliant with TIA/EIA 568 industry specifications. These patch panels can maximize your network performance and keep up with the growing changes in your network. FS.COM Cat5e patch panels are available in 6-port and 8-port module groupings, in 8, 12, 24, and 48-port sizes. The high density panel design can be mounted to standard racks or cabinets, accommodate top, bottom or side cable entry, and also save valuable rack space.

Comparison Between Different Fiber Optic Cable Types

Nowadays more and more fiber-based networks have been built in the backbone and risers environment. Both multimode and single-mode fibers are available for the applications. But different fiber types have briefly different limitations for speed and maximum distance. These characteristics they possess and the way cause the fiber to operate determine the application to which a given fiber is most appropriate. Today’s article will offer you some information about the classification of fiber optic cables and the difference in speed and distances.

Difference Between OM Multimode Fibers

Multimode fibers, according to the specification and briefly by their bandwidth performance are commonly classified into OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4. Each multimode type has different transmission data rates, link length and bandwidth for specific protocols, applications and transceiver types. Table 1 outlines the international standards organization classification for multimode fiber which describe the strength for speed and distance.

multimode-fiber

From the above table, we can see that OM1 is the 62.5-micron fiber, while OM2/OM3/OM4 are the 50-micron multimode fibers. OM1 multimode fiber was used to be the most common multimode fibers in the 80’s and 90’s. However, it is generated accepted that OM1 will soon be obsolete for the lowest data carrying capacity and shortest distance limitations as compared with other multimode fibers. As for the 50-micron multimode fibers, they are the most commonly used fiber types today, especially the OM3 and OM4 cables. Why do the multimode fibers with a smaller diameter have better performance than the large one? Please read on.

In terms of the performance in 50-micron and 62.5-micron multimode fibers, the difference lies in the fibers’ bandwidth, or the signal-carrying capacity. Bandwidth is actually specified as a bandwidth-distance product with units of MHz-km that depends on the data rate. As the data rate goes up (MHz), the distance that rate can be transmitted (km) goes down. Thus, a higher fiber bandwidth can enable you to transmit at higher data rates or for longer distances. For example, 50-micron multimode fiber offers nearly three times more bandwidth (500 MHz-km) than FDDI-grade 62.5-micron fiber (160 MHz-km) at 850 nm.

While fiber bandwidth is a critical factor in determining link length and data rate, transmitter and receiver characteristics also matters. For 850-nm Gigabit Ethernet, these bandwidth values support link lengths of 220 meters over 62.5-micron fiber and 550 meters over 50-micron fiber. For example, Cisco GLC-SX-MM operating at 850-nm can support a link distance of 550 m over 50-micron fiber (OM2). Today, the 850-nm operating window is increasingly important, as low-cost 850-nm lasers such as verti cal-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) are becoming widely available for network applications. VCSELs offer users the ability to extend data rates at a lower cost than long-wavelength lasers. Since 50-micron multimode fiber has higher bandwidth in the 850-nm window, it can support longer distances using these lower-cost VCSELs. Thus, 50-micron multimode fiber is more suitable for fiber backbones running Gigabit Ethernet and higher-speed protocols over longer distances.

Multimode vs. Single-mode Fibers

Single-mode fiber, owing to the more expensive electronics required in the network, is usually used for much greater-reach applications but not a cost-effective investment for future application in building. As the multimode fibers can be divided into OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 fiber types, single-mode fibers usually come in OS1 and OS2 fibers. For the detailed information, please look at the article “The Truth About OS1 and OS2 Optical Fiber”.

Jacket color is sometimes a simple method to distinguish multimode cables from single-mode ones. The standard TIA-598C recommends, for non-military applications, the use of a yellow jacket for single-mode fiber, and orange or aqua for multimode fiber, depending on type as you can seen in the Figure 2.

fiber-optic-cable

Besides the jacket color, the difference between multimode and single-mode optical fiber (9-mircon core) is that the former has much larger core diameter; much larger than the wavelength of the light carried in it. Because of the large core and the possibility of large numerical aperture, multimode fiber has higher “light-gathering” capacity than single-mode fiber. In practical terms, the larger core size simplifies connections and also allows the use of lower-cost electronics such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) which operate at the 850 nm and 1300 nm wavelength (single-mode fibers used in telecommunications typically operate at 1310 or 1550 nm). However, compared to single-mode fibers, the bandwidth & distance product limit of multimode fiber is lower. Because multimode fiber has a larger core-size than single-mode fiber, it supports more than one propagation mode; hence it is limited by modal dispersion, while single mode is not.

fiber-cable-type

The light sources used in these two cable types also plays a critical role in the performances. The LED light source sometimes used with multimode fiber produce a range of wavelengths and these each propagate at different speeds. This chromatic dispersion is another limit to the useful length for multimode fiber optic cable. In contrast, the lasers used to drive single-mode fibers produce coherent light of a single wavelength. Due to the modal dispersion, multimode fiber has higher pulse spreading rates than single mode fiber, limiting multimode fiber’s information transmission capacity. Thus, single-mode fibers are often used in high-precision scientific research because restricting the light to only one propagation mode allows it to be focused to an intense, diffraction-limited spot.

Conclusion

The growth in subscribers’ demand for more sophisticated electronics and web-connected services increases the requirement for information storage and cloud technology. End-users also want to know how to choose the right cable type for your network application. Therefore , I hope after reading this article you might have learned something from it.

The Do’s & Don’ts of UTP Cable Installation

With the technology evolving rapidly and new products keep coming out, optical technicians have to upgrade their knowledge accordingly. Take the UTP (unshieled twisted pair) network cabling as an example, lately telecommunication industry witnessed the evolution of copper cable from the old cat 3, cat 5 to the existing popular cat 5e and cat 6 cable (even to the cat 7 cable or cat8). Therefore, cable installers attach great importance on the TIA-568B installation. Even the experienced installer may discover the problems that they have never been aware of before. Today’s article is going to present all the detailed information necessary to complete a fully compliant TIA-568B UTP installation.

Overview of UTP Cable & TIA-568B Wiring Standard

Designed primarily for data transmission in local area networks (LANs), UTP network cable is a 4-pair, 100-ohm cable that consists of 4 unshielded twisted pairs surrounded by an outer jacket. Each pair is wound together for the purposes of canceling out noise that can interfere with the signal. So, remember to keep UTP cables as far away from potential sources of EMI (electrical cables, transformers, light fixtures, etc.) as possible. UTP cables should maintain a 12-inch separation from power cables.

In terms of the TIA-568B wiring scheme, this standard was published in 2001 to replace the 568A standard, which is now obsolete. The original purpose of the EIA/TIA 568 standard was to create a multiproduct, multivendor, standard for interoperable connectivity. The 568B standard sets minimum requirements for the various categories of cabling.

t568-wiring-scheme

Figure 1 shows the wiring diagrams imprinted on the jacks. The upper diagram is 568A, and the lower diagram is 568B. We can clearly see the only difference between 568A and 568B is that pairs 2 and 3 (orange and green) are swapped. For detailed information about 568A and 568B, please read the previous article “How to Configure the RJ45 Pinout”.

Do’s and Don’ts of UTP Installation

Before you proceed the following article, you must understand that this article is for general information only. Always check with the local store or cabling consultants when planning a network cabling installation.

Things You Should Do

For the UTP cable, or all the copper cables, you take the following instructions seriously during the installation.

  • Run all cables in a Star Configuration so that all network links are distributed from, or home run to, one central hub. Visualize a wagon wheel where all of the spokes start from on central point, known as the hub of the wheel.
  • The UTP cable run must be kept to a maximum of 295 feet, so that with patch cords, the entire channel is no more than 328 feet.
  • Maintain the twists of the pairs as close as possible to the point of termination, or no more than 0.5″(one half inch) untwisted.
  • Make only gradual bends in the cable where necessary to maintain the minimum bend radius of 4 times the cable diameter or approximately 1″ radius (about the roundness of a half-dollar).
  • Dress the cables neatly with Velcro cable ties (see in the below image), using low to moderate pressure.

    cable-ties

  • Use low to moderate force when pulling cable. The standard calls for a maximum of 25 lbf (pounds of force). Install proper cable supports, spaced no more than 5 feet apart.
  • Use cable pulling lubricant for cable runs that may otherwise require great force to install. (You will be amazed at what a difference the cable lubricant will make)
  • Always label every termination point at both ends. Use a unique number for each network link. This will make moves, adds, changes, and troubleshooting as simple as possible.
  • Always test every installed segment with a cable tester to make sure the attenuation under control.
  • Always install jacks in a way to prevent dust and other contaminants from settling on the contacts. The contacts (pins) of the jack should face up on flush mounted plates, or left, right, or down (never up) on surface mount boxes.
  • Always leave extra slack neatly coiled up in the ceiling or nearest concealed place. It is recommended that you leave at least 5 feet of slack at the work outlet end, and 10 feet of slack at the patch panel end.
  • Always use grommets to protect cable when passing through metal studs or anything that can possibly cause damage.
  • Choose either 568A or 568B wiring scheme before you begin your project. Wire all jacks and patch panels for the same wiring scheme (A or B).
  • Always obey all local and national fire and building codes. Be sure to firestop all cables that penetrate a firewall. Use plenum rated cable where it is mandated.

Things You Can Not Do

You should never proceed the following steps, or you will end up with permanent damage to the geometry of the cable.

  • Skin off more than 1″ of jacket when terminating UTP cable.
  • Allow the cable to be sharply bent, twisted, or kinked at any time.
  • Over tighten cable ties or use plastic ties.
  • Splice or bridge UTP cable at any point. There should never be multiple appearances of cable.
  • Use excessive force when pulling cable.
  • Use oil or any other lubricant not specifically designed for UTP network cable pulling as they can infiltrate the cable jacket, causing damage to the insulation.
  • Tie cables to electrical conduits, or lay cables on electrical fixtures.
  • Install cable that is supported by the ceiling tiles. This is unsafe, and is a violation of the building codes.
  • Never install cables taught. A good installation should have the cables loose, but never sagging.
  • Mix 568A and 568B wiring on the same installation.

In Closing

It is rare that we can directly use the patch cables or short link copper cable to connect the devices to the switch. In most cases, we need to install cable links to remote locations from patch panels to switch ports, which is far more complex. Therefore, anyone who install UTP cabling should take the dos and don’ts seriously. Any minor mistake can easily become a nightmare in the future.

Which Is Perfect for Your Business – Data Center or Server Room?

Every enterprise or small business that needed a server was required to invest in its own infrastructure, hardware and maintenance solutions, with all the equipment accommodated in a dedicated room of the office. However, thanks to the cloud technology and the rapidly increasing availability of fiber connectivity, other options like data center have opened up in recent years. So how should you decide whether you will go with a data center service or a server room? To ease out the confusion, today’s article presents the differences between data center and server rooms.

Data Center & Server Room

Of course, every company has their own needs, and what works best for one company is not necessarily going to be the best solution for another. A server room is a room that devoted to store servers. A data center, to this purpose, is a whole building specially designed to contain and support a large amount of computing hardware of some sort.

The main difference between them is the size, but it is linked to design, scale and purpose. There will be several server rooms in almost any modern office building, but only very large companies whose business is about processing data will have data centers. The following part will continue to provide the detailed information about the pros and cons of each approach so you can determine what makes the most sense for you.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Data Center

Pros—If you are just starting up your business, you may find it valuable to keep your network systems in a data center as you can enjoy and provide the same services to other companies to keep your costs down. As for the maintenance responsibility, every data center has the redundant backup system for network access, electricity and climate control, so you are not very likely to experience the network outage. Even in the case of a local power utility outage, they remain up and running owing to the backup power generators. Figure 1 outlines a brief diagram of data center solution.

data-center-solution

Another unique feature of the data center is that enterprises appreciate the colocation model, which allows you to bring you own hardware to the shared facility. Depending on the nature of the data center, you may or may not have the ability to determine when your scheduled maintenance down times will be, and you may or may not be able to choose what hardware is being used for your server stacks.

Cons—Although data center possesses all the above advantages, you can’t miss the point of finical burden involved with infrastructure and maintenance as well as the upfront costs for moving to a data center. Particularly if you opt for a colocation data center, where you provide both hardware and software, there may be major spending involved. Even if the data center provides all of these resources, you have to pay the initial subscription and setup fees. What’s worst, over time, these fees may begin to feel negligible, especially as compared to the ongoing cost of an in-house server stack.

When you remove your server from your premises, you’re going to lose a certain degree of potential for in-house oversight and control. If you completely outsource your server stack, you end up being fully dependent on the data center for maintenance, security and uptime. This may well be to your advantage, but many prefer to be less dependent on remote third parties.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Building a Sever Room

Pros—Just as Figure 2 shows a server rooms with all the hardware and software located in a dedicate room of office, it means you completely own the server facility. All of the responsibility falls on you, but in exchange, you get to enjoy all of the benefits that only your company can control. You’ll be the sole manager of your own facilities, and you can modify your system on your own terms, to accommodate any shifting needs, including expansion as your business scales up. That kind of versatile customization can be particularly useful if your system is unusually complicated, large, or includes many diverse applications.

a-small-server-room

The security issues also all comes down to you, which grants you control over your system in a way that moving it offsite cannot provide.

Cons—All the responsibility of the server room falls on you, but at the same time, you have to devote all your heart and energy to it, which is far beyond the substantial workload. First of all, you may need your IT team to focus on initiatives that related to your business, and the ritual maintenance of the health of the server stacks and physical infrastructure. Their attention will be split, then it will end up with work failure.

Another downside about sever room is that the backups is less effective especially when your data is stored in one physical location. In the event of theft, fire, flood or other disaster, you could end up losing everything with no recourse for recovery. Keeping your network local, moreover, makes it harder to expand your business to new locations. When you do open up new branches, you’ll need to find good solutions for everyone to connect to headquarters, instead of both locations connecting to a facility that’s made for offsite networking, which is the case with data centers.

Upfront costs is significant when you invest in your own onsite servers, and you won’t have any way of knowing from the get-go how much capacity for growth you need to account for, so you’ll end up purchasing a system that’s either more powerful than you need or that isn’t able to grow as your data needs expand.

Which One is Best for You?

After going through the whole passage, I bet you might have made up you won mind of whether to make use of a data center or to opt for your own server room. Many factors you should take into account—budget, your network scale & future proofing, but sometimes it is just a matter of personal preferences. The best way to make the decision, therefore, is to consult with an expert who can assist you in determining given the specifics of your case. FS.COM offers a full range of data center solutions that can be also used in server rooms like the patch panels, fiber enclosure, cable manager, fiber optic cable and transceivers. If you have any requirement, please send your request to us.


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