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Direct attach cabling methods gaining prominence

By Max Burkhalter
May 8, 2012
Terminating network cables within an internal setup is among the more challenging strategic decisions that comes with a structured cabling installation. However, direct attach cabling has the potential to streamline the process by eliminating many unnecessary terminations and making network installation much easier.

According to a recent whitepaper from industry expert Karl Griffith, the direct attach connection method has emerged as a possible solution to one of the most vexing problems in internal structured cabling - dealing with semi-permanent devices.

In almost every corporate or data center network, there are a variety of routers, security devices and other equipment that connect to the patch panel in a semi-permanent way. They may get unplugged at some point, but engineers do not need to worry about moving them around or disconnecting them frequently like they do computers or server systems. The whitepaper explained that attaching these devices to the patch panel is among the more challenging aspects of establishing a network and direct attach solutions can ease the burden.

In a typical internal or data center network, the underlying network connection feeds into a patch panel. Patch cables then stem out from the panel to various parts of the facility. Each cable will be terminated by installing an Ethernet jack and faceplate in the wall at the end of the line. In this way, an IP-connected device can plug into the jack and easily connect to the patch panel. The whitepaper explained this method works extremely well for end user devices and other connection options that are somewhat fluid in nature. However, the more permanent devices attached to the patch panel are not as well suited to such options. For example, the news source explained that it does not make sense to terminate a patch cable with an Ethernet jack and faceplate just to plug a router in.

The whitepaper said direct attach solutions overcome this inherent flaw in the patch panel setup by using a modular plug to connect permanent equipment to the panel using unshielded twisted pair cabling. This solution is becoming especially prominent as UTP infrastructure becomes the common underlying solution for almost all facility and data network options.

Making it easier to connect all devices using UTP cabling is a major step forward for internal networks, as more organizations are implementing IP-based environmental control, security, voice and data networks. Using cabling and connectivity methods that support UTP cables is key in such environments as it allows the entire network to be unified with the same core infrastructure.

Perle’s serial to Ethernet converters connect serial based equipment across an Ethernet network. The Perle IOLAN range of Console Servers, Device Servers and Terminal Servers feature built-in support for IPv6 along with a broad range of authentication methods and encryption technologies.


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