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Updated: February 17, 2013 10:35 IST

Time to turn the focus on structured cabling

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Natarajan Viswanathan, Managing Director, India & SAARC countries, CommScope Enterprise Solutions
Natarajan Viswanathan, Managing Director, India & SAARC countries, CommScope Enterprise Solutions

Today, structured cabling is evolving faster than ever before, with the mix of network technologies being the most volatile, while the overall growth seems to be very strong as well.

Adoption of new technologies such as virtualisation and all the subsequent advantages they offer are driving change. Network infrastructure and structured cabling are being given a push to support these business goals.

In India, the structured cabling market is cluttered, with a variety of players offering an assortment of solutions.

Recent trends have been that customers have started looking into and deploying future cabling infrastructure for their requirements. As more and more customers started building their data centres, either captive or hosted, they have started deploying infrastructure such as 10G over copper and OM4 fibres.

Intelligence is key

Intelligence is going to be a growth area. Companies working in dynamic times have to keep making changes to their layouts. They need intelligence to achieve this with the shortest possible downtime and also document the process. Intelligence is also essential to address security and asset management issues.

The future will surely hold a continued exponential shift in technologies. The rate of adoption of new technologies will continue to increase. Infrastructure continues to enable change and structured cabling continues to be a sound investment. There may well be a shift in deployment when we consider higher speed backbone technologies such as 40G or 100G from copper to fibre.

What has to change?

Today’s businesses require advanced information technology. Customers are looking at the price, but they are not emphasising on performance and sustainability. This has to change, and there should be more focus given to structured cabling, which has a longer lifespan. Structured cabling provides good return on investment (ROI) for any customer. The upgrades required would be minimal, thereby saving time and money. Customers have to understand this before they decide to opt for structured cabling solutions.

Technologies today change quickly. There are, for example, several models or architectures that offer varying benefits to information technology systems. Platforms that look very attractive today will be eclipsed in the future. Structured cabling is designed to enable these changes. The 10G over copper Category 6A/Class EA was ratified in 2008 and now we can see more deployments by the customer. Also the announcement of OM4 fibre paves the way for 40/100G upgrading in data centres and backbone infrastructures. The management of the physical infrastructure plays a vital role and more and more customers are adopting the same.

Like the nervous system

Structured cabling solutions are like the nervous system of the human body. The physical layer supports all other layers of the network. It is prudent to give more attention to this physical layer. The concern that we have is that customers are spending 95 per cent of their time in selecting active components such as servers, routers, switches and storage. Very little time is given to structured cabling. Also, the active components are changed every four to five years, whereas structured cabling, once installed, is good for at least 20 years.

This is all the more reason why attention needs to be given to the selection, design and installation of this physical layer.

(The author is Managing Director, India & SAARC countries, CommScope Enterprise Solutions)

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