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Data Center and IT professionals: This infographic from Siemon examines the impact of top of rack (ToR) and structured cabling configurations on total management; scalability and upgrades; interoperability; equipment, maintenance and cabling costs; port utilization; power consumption and cooling requirements.  Structured cabling offers clear advantages.

The infographic is based on an actual 39 cabinet data center and the findings of a recent white paper by the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA) (“Navigating the Pros and Cons of Structured Cabling vs. Top of Rack in the Data Center” - download PDF).

Infographic TOR versus Structured Cabling

Data Center Planning Resources:

  • Read white paper “Navigating the Pros and Cons of Structured Cabling vs. Top of Rack in the Data Center” (download PDF) by the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA)
  • Learn about Siemon Data Centers Solutions (website).  Siemon has focused its cabling expertise into a global data center service team, capable of guiding you through the process of selecting, designing and deploying the business-critical cabling infrastructure upon which your entire data center will rely.

Posted on the public area of the newly formed IEEE 802.3 Next Generation BASE-T study group is an interesting contribution by Dan Dove of Applied Micro Circuits Corporation proposing three distinct cabling reach topologies for different applications in the data center.  What’s notable about this presentation is that a global leader in the Ethernet chip development industry is clearly expressing an opinion on the controversial topic of shielded versus UTP cabling.

In his contribution, Mr. Dove proposes using shielded cables for support of Top-of-Rack (server to switch) applications because the media’s reduced echo and near-end crosstalk loss, reduced transmit power requirements, and virtually zero alien crosstalk support signal transmission with a simplified electromagnetic immunity (EMI) chip design.  Mr. Dove also questions the use of UTP cables to support the structured cabling End-of-Row topology (server to switch, switch to switch, and switch to core switch) connections because transmission over UTP media requires a more complex EMI chip design, introduces challenges related to additional return loss and near-end crosstalk loss, needs higher transmit power, and requires attention to the disruptive effects of alien crosstalk.

Points associated with shielded cabling:

  • Simplifies EMI design
  • Reduces Echo/NEXT challenges of multiple connectors
  • Reduces TX power requirement
  • Virtually eliminates ANEXT

Points associated with UTP:

  • More complex EMI design
  • Requires Echo/NEXT challenges of multiple connectors
  • Increases TX power requirement
  • Requires attention to ANEXT

Is this finally the tipping point for shielded cabling?

You can find Mr. Dove’s contribution here on IEEE802.org to explore this issue further.


In this Infographic, we look at the results of benchmark tests comparing fiber optic cable assemblies from established global manufacturers versus low-cost generic assembly house options and explore the potential impact on your network.

Tests by Siemon Labs (view fiber jumper testing white paper) were conducted looking at fiber jumper compliance to IEC and TIA industry standards and other parameters.


Get the full test results at: www.siemon.com/go/fiberjumper


A New Work Item Proposal (NWIP) to develop requirements for balanced twisted-pair cabling capable of supporting 40 GBit/s data transmission  was initiated by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25/WG 3 in October, 2011 at the Working Group’s  Melbourne, Australia meeting.  This proposal affirms the international cabling Standards community’s vision of supporting greater than 10 GBit/s Ethernet speeds with copper cabling.

The working title of this new project is expected to be, “ISO/IEC 11801-99-x Guidance for balanced cabling in support of at least 40 GBit/s data transmission” and the scope of work will address capabilities of both existing ISO/IEC 11801 compliant channels and channels with extended and/or enhanced performance characteristics.  These dual scopes will form Part 1 and Part 2 of the project as described below.

Part 1: Specification of the transmission characteristics of channels having at least two ISO/IEC 11801 compliant connections whose worst case length is the maximum practically achievable to support 40 Gbit/s data transmission.

Part 2: Specification of the transmission characteristics of channels consisting of connections exhibiting performance headroom to ISO/IEC 11801 requirements (e.g. higher bandwidth performance and/or improved transmission characteristics).  The transmission characteristics of these channels may be specified at or beyond their current bandwidth, with or without extended limit characterization, for 100 meter or shorter topologies, and with four or fewer connections.

Tutorials on expected channel capacity and anticipated electronics-related signal processing (e.g. noise cancellation) from ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25/WG 3 experts will help to define the capabilities of existing class EA and FA channels under a variety of performance and topology conditions, as well as identify opportunities for specification enhancement.

No objectives related to media, bandwidth, compatibility with TIA, or other characteristics have been defined at this time.  Brian Celella actively participates in the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25/WG 3 Working Group and we will keep you advised when significant milestones are reached.


The following three data center cooling strategies are discussed in TIA-942-A:

  1. Passive cooling with hot and cold aisles
  2. Cooling fans with hot and cold aisles
  3. Chimneys with hot and cold aisles

Example of Passive Cooling with Hot and Cold Aisles in the Data Center


Example of Cooling fans with Hot and Cold Aisles in the Data Center



Example of Chimneys with Hot and Cold Aisles in tha Data Center


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