We are dependent on the Internet to watch videos, communicate with others, send and receive emails, shop, conduct business, and browse websites. Last year, it is estimated that more than 40 zettabytes (a trillion gigabytes) of digital data was consumed, mostly from online searches. Did you know that your browsing data is stored and that the search results are transmitted in a millisecond from a Google data center? Data centers are where this digital media is stored, maintained, and transmitted. There are more than 7500 data centers worldwide and growing.
Data centers come in various sizes, configurations, and shapes to meet the specific data processing needs they are built for. There are four data center types: private cloud, public cloud, private company, and government. Data centers can range from one server in a room to large dedicated structures containing thousands of servers.
Types of Data Center Cabling, Explained
Data centers house switches, routers, servers, security devices, and storage systems necessary to store and transmit large amounts of data, usually to a computer or telecommunications network system. All data center devices must transmit data quickly and reliably to other devices within the network infrastructure. These devices are connected with cables so that data and signals can travel from one device to another.
Large data centers can have miles of cabling. The more cables there are, the more likely connection issues can arise. Bigger data centers often have a structured cabling system that organizes the cables. Structured cabling systems can look like cable trays that are attached to the top of racks or hung from the ceiling. There are also under-the-floor trays. Small, private data centers can get by with the disorganization of an unstructured cabling system.
Besides the two cabling systems, there are different cable types. These cable types are twisted pair, coaxial, and fiber-optic. Each cable type affects the flow of the data. Most data centers work best with fiber-optic cables.
Data Center Cable Connectivity Issues
As the Internet plays more of a role in our lives, the worldwide consumption of media and the need for data centers will increase. The convenience of the Internet, however, comes to a halt should a data center go down.
Cables play a vital part in the proper functioning of data centers. Here are the top five data center cable connectivity issues that may arise when upgrading or building a data center:
- Using the Wrong Module or Interface
There are five data center classifications: Hyperscale, Colocation, Wholesale Colocation, Enterprise, and Telecom. Each of these data center network designs are built to process and transmit data on a certain medium (i.e. Cloud storage, Software as a Service, IT, security, and telecommunications). Since each data center design serves a specific function, each one requires certain minimum bandwidth speeds and power to process information. For the data center cabling to work its best, the type of interface must match the design of the network.
- Using Incorrect Fiber-Optic Cables
Using the wrong type of fiber-optic cables can hinder the data transmission speed and media connectivity. The correct cables ensure data center devices are properly connected. Not all fiber-optic cables are the same, as different ones will fit specific connectors. Cables come in single-mode and multi-mode. A combination of the two can also be used. If you’re unsure which one to use for your company, contact the specialists at NCS for support.
- Misguided Polarity
Polarity is the way fibers are arranged inside a cable. This fiber arrangement dictates the direction at which data is transmitted through the cables. Like the positive and negative ends of batteries, cables have pinned and non-pinned connectors that directs the flow of data. To properly connect fiber-optic cables together in a connector, the cables must be mated (a pinned end connected to the non-pinned side of the other cable). Data centers use Type A (Straight-through) and Type B (inverted) polarity. This means that a cable with fiber located at position one will arrive at position 1 on the other and position 12 (the inverted type). Improper cable installation will obstruct polarity. Data going the wrong direction will stop the transmission of data, making a data center useless.
- Wrong Connectors
As previously mentioned, in order for correct polarity, the pinned end of one fiber-optic cable must fit into the non-pinned end of adjacent cable. The cables must also be suited for the right type of polarity, whether that’s Type A or Type B. Even if the cables correctly fit each other, if they aren’t the same polarity type, then data transmission can fail..
- Dirty Conditions and Improper Installation
When the cables are installed in conditions with a lot of dust and dirt, the cables can become dirty. Fiber-optic cables are sensitive to dust particles and if the fibers aren’t cleaned before they are installed, they won’t perform well. Even new, sealed cables ought to be cleaned before they are installed. Additionally, improper installation can cause fractures and micro-bends in the cables, which will hinder their ability to transmit data to devices throughout the data center network.
Whether the result of your data center project center is to provide security, a wireless network, audio visual or distributed antenna systems the smallest cabling mistake can cause serious costly issues for your business, government or public entity, school, or airport. The professionals at Network Cabling Services understand the complexities of data center connectivity. Our experienced staff take these issues into account when installing your cabling so your data center project will be successful. Contact us today for a consultation.