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Old 02-13-2009, 06:41 PM
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Keith Keith is offline
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Default Structured cabling vs. "home runs"

Good Afternoon, I have been requested to justify the use of a structured cabling infrastructure as opposed to running patch cabling between cabinets. I have typed up a draft of my justification but was wanting to see if you guys had any other things that could. I was hopeful that TIA-942 or TIA-606a would specify the use of patch panels, however it does not. I also tried to just say "Because..." but they wanted me to put something to follow the "because...". I tried "Because we (my team) says that is the new standard." but they once again wanted to know why. I am noticing a trend that the more someone gets paid, the more they ask questions.

Here is what I have come up with thus far:

1) Non-uniform cable structure.
A mixture of structured cabling and non-structured cabling in the raceway begins to make it complicated to try to identify which cables are part of the structured cabling and the non-structured cabling. A uniform standard for all cabling allows for one to assume that all cabling in the raceways are structured cabling, therefore they should not need to be touched.

2) Extended troubleshooting periods.
If the need to troubleshoot a cable comes up, it will be required to trace a faulty cable up to the top of the cabinet on a ladder, follow it through the raceway, and back down in to the other cabinet on the opposite end-point of the cable.

3) Added risk of cable disturbances within raceways.
While adding or removing cables from the raceway, there is an increased risk of disturbing other cabling that is already in the raceway. This risk may cause an immediate unidentifiable outage that will be difficult to troubleshoot.

4) Added risk of dead cables being left in the raceway
As we have identified in the Elliot server rooms, the raceways become congested with excess cabling that is no longer in use over time. Removal of the dead cabling does not usually come to mind while decommissioning a server; or the assumption that the cable will be reused in the future will be made. This will cause the raceway to eventually resemble the overflow that is occurring in Elliot, if not maintained. The overflow could also eventually lead to the possibility of not being able to remove old cabling due to the increased risk of cable disturbance in production environments.

5) Ability to maintain proper cable length in cabinets becomes difficult.
Properly sized cables can be installed more effectively while commissioning new equipment. Utilizing patch cables that span multiple cabinets will require a cable that has a possibility of being either too short or too long. If a piece of equipment is decommissioned and the cable is reused, there is a chance that the cable would be either too long, requiring the cable to be coiled up; or too short, which will not allow for proper bend radiuses.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:25 PM
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KenB KenB is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 468

Sounds like an interesting challenge. I suggest you re-do your list as benefits of structured cabling, rather than disadvantages of something else. Also, you should spin your reasons to show benefit to the business, rather than your own operational group; this will be more compelling to the big salary folks. Finally, you may get other ideas by just trying Google for structured cabling benefits.
Looking forward to others' suggestions.

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Old 02-14-2009, 01:00 PM
Neoeclectic Neoeclectic is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 85

Yes. The main reasons why we started doing home runs was because of $$, time, and troubleshooting.

It's definitely a lot cheaper in material costs to run one long cable than to have to purchases patch panels if there were no patch ports open. It saves time because running 1 fifty foot cable takes a smaller amount of time than having to label 2-4 cables and run them separately between patch points. And trobuleshooting is easier because if you don't get link you only have to look at one cable where with patching it's all of those cables and patch ports until you find the problem.

The advantage I see with not doing home runs if ut's arranged smartly any dummy with minimal effort can do the same cabling. But therein lies the catch. The cabling environment has to be really user friendly to say.
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