Proper Routes for Power & Data Cables in a Server Rack
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Proper Routes for Power & Data Cables in a Server Rack

Posted on by FS.COM

One of the best practices for good cable management in a server cabinet is that power cables should be separated from data cables, in order to prevent erratic or error-prone data transfers. Thus, to properly determine the routes for power cables, copper data cables, and fiber in a server rack is very important.

Power & Data Cables Introduction

Power and data cables are two main cable types respectively for purposes of electric power supply and data transmission.

The power cables, also called power cords, vary from country to country in terms of voltage and connector types. In the North America, the most commonly used type of power cables has an IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) connector that plugs into the server and a NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) connector that plugs into the power source.

Power Cords

Data cables, mainly used for data transmission, are available in copper and fiber media. Though fiber seems to have more benefits than copper, copper still has significant advantages in terms of capital expenditures, operating expenditures, performance, and reliability in data centers. Data center cabling systems require both copper and fiber to cost-effectively meet today’s demands and supporting the high bandwidth applications of the future.

Fibers and Coppers

Determine Proper Routes for Power & Data Cables in a Server Rack

As mentioned in the beginning, power and data cables should be separated from each other to minimize EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference). Meanwhile, different media of data cables, namely copper and fibers, should also be separated in order to protect the fibers.

Separate Power and Data Cables

There is a concern that power cables can interfere with signal integrity in data cables if they’re installed too closely. Thus, power cables should be segregated from data cables as much as practical. Sometimes, in the case that power and data cables must cross, try to cross them perpendicular to each other to minimize EMI. It is recommended to bundle data cables on one rear side of the server rack and utilize the other rear side of the server rack for distribution of power cables, as shown in the picture below. Additionally, using high-quality cables such as Category 6A F/FTP (an overall foil shield with foil screened twisted pairs) cables is also a good solution to minimize EMI. Isolating power and data cables not only help minimize EMI but also help reduce human error in cabling. Furthermore, well-managed power and data cables are more favorable to space optimization, further upgrade and troubleshooting.

separate power and data cables

Separate Copper Data Cables and Fibers

Twisted-pair copper and fiber, as two common types of data transmission media, are widely used in today’s data center infrastructure. Fiber optic cables with a number of advantages are more recommended to use but for switch-to-server interconnect, copper cables are still an ideal choice. Fiber is very delicate and lighter than copper. Thus, fiber should be handled carefully during installation to avoid damage. To separate copper and fiber can prevent fiber damage from the weight of copper cables, ensuring the normal transmission of optical signals.

Separate copper and fiber data cables

For data cable management, the best practice is to use cable management hardware such as patch panels, horizontal / vertical cable managers or take-up spools to store slack cable and maintain bend radius control. In addition, bend-insensitive multimode fiber (BIMMF) is also a good choice to minimize the loss due to the bend radius.

cable management hardware


A neat, organized, effective and reliable cabling system is very important to keep network up and running. The best practice to separate power and data, copper and fiber cables can help data center operators to reduce the issues such as EMI, fiber damage, and signal interruption in practical applications. Meanwhile, don’t forget to use the high-quality cable management components to help simplify the cabling. FS.COM offers cost-effective solutions for server rack applications, including power cables with various connector options, copper and fiber cables, as well as the rack mount patching products. For more information, please contact us via or Customer Service: +1 (718) 577 1006.

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