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Flexibility a vital consideration when building networks

By Donna Donnawitz
July 22, 2014

It is easy to imagine that a network cabling system, once installed, will be a fairly permanent part of a building. Let's face it, nobody wants to spend months working on a project only to know that it will be replaced just a few years later. Furthermore, many cabling deployments do last for decades with significant alterations if they are planned effectively. While a good cabling setup can go without being replaced for a long time, network requirements are changing quickly and many organizations find themselves facing a new need for more flexible, adaptable networks.

With the need for flexibility in mind, organizations may want to consider the benefits of adaptable cabling installation plans, which could include using tools ranging from media converters to diverse cabling support systems to be ready for future needs.

Building a flexible network - beginning at the foundation for cables
Wiring support systems, be they solutions like cable trays or J-hooks, provide the base upon which organizations will build their networks. As such, there are many discussions about the best option for companies to use and how organizations can leverage different solutions effectively. Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine recently held a LinkedIn conversation on the topic, and one conclusion was clear - this is not an either/or discussion.

Industry expertDavid Landphair participated in the conversation by pointing out that safety and standards compliance are always paramount, but there is room for both continuous solutions and non-continuous options. In most cases, areas where large bundles of cables, be they copper or fiber, will need cable trays to support the weight of the wires and offer future flexibility. However, changing requirements at workstations, include a move to support more Wi-Fi networks and distributed antenna systems, are making J-hooks and other non-continuous options ideal for getting cables out to workstations.

Extending flexibility to the actual cables
Organizations can also benefit from creating cabling diversity within the network. Fiber-optic cabling prices have dropped to a point where using them strategically in certain parts of the network is a realistic option. At the same time, basic copper solutions are still workable in many settings. Fiber to Ethernet media converters enable organizations to mix and match cabling types as needed to create a more flexible, efficient network.

Switching between fiber and copper can work alongside strategic cabling support strategies to create a much more flexible network that is more adaptable to future change. Making effective choices in combining different solution types can keep capital costs under control, establish a framework for future upgrades and ensure smooth maintenance operations.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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