Data Center Cabling Guide

Updated on May 19, 2023 by

The network and connectivity brought about by the cabling in data centers are at the core, making it possible for businesses to run smoothly daily. Data center cables vary from fiber optic cables to copper cables, depending on the equipment and its requirements. Regardless of the cabling use under consideration, data center cable management must be approached with foresight or risk a cascade of problems after the fact.

What Is Data Center Cabling and Standards?

Data center cabling refers to the physical aspect of connecting all components of a data center and proper cabling in data centers is crucial in ensuring its structure is organized and optimized for effective performance.

Data Center Cabling Types

There are two types of data center cabling: structured cabling and unstructured cabling. Structured cabling is a standardized cabling infrastructure that uses a set of predetermined specifications, cable types, and connection methods to establish a reliable and scalable network infrastructure. These specifications ensure that cabling systems are consistent, efficient, and can support a wide range of applications and devices. Structured cabling systems typically include twisted pair copper cabling, fiber optic cabling, and patch panels that organize and manage the cables. Unstructured cabling refers to cable installations where devices are unknowingly connected to each other, which can result in a disorganized and unmanageable mess that can lead to network performance issues.

Data Center Cabling Standards

Industry cabling standards for data centers are to ensure safety and provide the basis for building an integrated infrastructure. At the same time, they also offer guidelines for maintaining high levels of cable performance for the next several years. Here are the three common data center cabling standards.

Cabling Standard Type Function
ANSI/TIA-942 This standard outlines the functional areas specific to the data center and provides a minimum recommendation for pathway and space, the distance between the backbone and the horizontal cable medium, redundancy, cable management, and environmental considerations.
ISO/IEC 24764 Based on TIA-942 and EN 50173-5, this international standard specifies the cabling used in the data center. We refer to ISO/IEC 11801 and additional information related to the data center.
ANSI/BICSI 002-2014 This standard provides guidelines for data center design and operation. It covers planning, construction, commissioning, protection, management, and maintenance of the data center, as well as cabling infrastructure, pathways, and spaces. It also covers modular data centers, container-type data centers, and energy efficiency, and also describes its own availability class structure for determining reliability.

Importance of Data Center Cable Management

Data center cable management is a crucial aspect of maintaining an efficient and organized data center, ensuring the data center equipment and devices are connected and functioning optimally with reliability, efficiency, and safety.

  • Airflow: Good cable management allows air to flow more freely through the racks, which prevents overheating or hot spots from forming. This can extend the life of the equipment and reduce maintenance costs.

  • Maintenance: Well-organized data center cables are easier to identify and trace, which makes troubleshooting and maintenance quicker and easier. This reduces downtime and improves overall productivity.

  • Safety: Properly routed cables reduce the risk of tripping and other accidents. Labeling and organizing cables also help prevent accidental disconnections, which could cause data loss or other problems.

  • Scalability: As data centers grow and expand, good cable management ensures that new equipment can be added easily and without disrupting existing installations.

  • Compliance: Many regulations and industry standards require proper data center cable management. Compliance with these regulations helps to ensure the security and integrity of data, as well as protect the environment from unnecessary cable waste.

Data Center Cable Management

Data Center Cabling Best Practices at FS.com

FS provides end-to-end fiber cabling in data center solutions to support your growing network needs, including FS FHD® series cable management assemblies and pre-terminated fiber/copper cables.

FS FHD® Series Data Center Cable Management Solutions

FS offers an extensive range of reliable and innovative FHD® series products which include fiber adapter panels, fiber optic cassettes, fiber optic enclosures, and horizontal and vertical cable managers. FHD® fiber cassettes, featuring unique one-piece modular design and compliant with FHD® series fiber enclosures and panels, can allow up to 144 fiber connections with 4 fiber cassettes fit into 1U, ideal for centralized and structured wiring applications. With ultra-high density, scalability, and flexibility, these FS FHD® series products make cable management more convenient, maintain the aesthetics of data center cabling, achieve certain protective effects, and improve data center efficiency. For more information: FS FHD Product Family for High-Density Fiber Optic Cabling Solutions.

Fiber Optic Data Center Cables

FS fiber optic cables meet different needs and are rigorously tested to comply with cable standards.

  • OS2 single-mode fibers and multi-mode fiber cables have good repeatability and interchangeability, offering a variety of connector types with flame retardant and rugged factors.

  • MTP®/MPO cables facilitate rapid deployment of high-density backbone cabling in data centers and other high-fiber environments, reducing the time and cost of network installation or reconfiguration.

Copper Cabling in Data Centers

FS copper data center cables are divided into multiple colors and lengths to help simplify complex cable runs and are protected by a CM-grade PVC jacket. Plus, the snap-free design protects the clip during insertion and extraction.

Products Cat5e Cat6, Cat6a Cat7
Typical Construction UTP UTP/SFTP SFTP
Cable Outer Diameter 5.5± 0.4mm 6.1 ± 0.4mm/6.2 ± 0.3mm 6.2 ± 0.3mm
Maximum Frequency 250MHz 550MHz 600MHz
Application 10/100/1000Base-T 1000Base-T/10GBase-T 10GBase-T

Related Articles:

Structured Cabling: Backbone Cabling vs Horizontal Cabling

Navigating Data Center Expansion in the AI Era: FS's Innovative Data Center Cabling Solutions

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