structured cable system

Structured Cabling System for your Data Center

How to Design a Structured Cabling System for your Data Center?

Data center space and efficiency are becoming important factors in businesses due to the increasing volume of data. Every hardware and cabling design must be modular, scalable, maximize space use and consider cooling and energy consumption.

No more are point-to-point cabling or connecting devices directly to each other. This causes cabling problems and increases the cost of each hardware refresh. A well-designed structured cabling system can increase uptime, scalability, return on investment, and reduce your technology footprint while also decreasing operating costs.

What is Point-to-Point Cabling System (P2P)?

Point-to-point cabling systems are constructed using direct connections, or “home runs.” A jumper cable is used to connect one device (e.g., a switch, server, or storage unit) to another.

A point-to-point cabling system becomes more difficult to maintain as the number of connections increases in a data center. Equipment upgrades and additions often result in the running of another cable. This creates a network of bulky cables, commonly referred to as “spaghetti wiring.”

Point-to-point cabling systems can be confusing. They also cause problems like reduced airflow and increased stress on the cables. This negatively impacts data throughput. Reduced airflow can reduce hardware life and make the machine work harder. This will increase power consumption in a data center.

Structured Cabling: What does it mean?

Structured cabling systems use the Main Distribution Area (or MDA) to run all connections. According to the TIA-942 Standard, the MDA is the central point for the distribution of structured cabling systems.

This is where consolidation takes place to the main cross-connects, switches, and routers. The MDA replicates all active ports in a passive area. This ensures that active equipment is not disturbed or affected.

What is Data Center Cabling?

Three types of network cabling are used in data centers: ground, AC/DC power, and copper. You can refer to the interface on the equipment in your data center to determine what type of cabling you should use. You may also need to consider bandwidth requirements when determining network data cabling requirements.


Data Center cabling can be classified as either structured or unstructured. Structured cabling follows predetermined standards that are based on design and include preset connection points and pathways. Structured cabling is based on bandwidth requirements. Once the system has been tested, the cables can be organized and labeled. Although structured cabling systems may be more difficult to install and will cost more initially, they will be much easier to maintain and last for a longer time than unstructured ones.


Unstructured cabling is a cabling system that does not use predefined connection points or standards. Also known as Point to Point cabling systems, it is a different type of cabling. This cabling system can cause cooling problems and increase energy costs due to airflow restrictions. Unstructured cabling doesn’t have pre-designed designs or plans. This makes managing system growth more difficult as there are no guides to help with changes in cable locations and running new cabling. Unstructured cabling may be quicker to install and cost less initially, but it will ultimately result in greater operational costs and a shorter lifespan.

Why is it important?

Every data center is built on the connectivity provided by the cabling infrastructure. This allows for transactions that enable businesses to make mission-critical business decisions every day. There are many types of cabling available for data centers, from copper installation to fiber installation depending on the equipment and needs. No matter if the cables are for data or power, failing to manage this crucial part of the data center infrastructure can lead to serious problems, including increased operating costs and more costly outages. Cable management is not something to be left out of your daily routine.


Every data center’s core is built around the network and connectivity provided by cabling systems. Businesses can make critical decisions every day thanks to the cabling infrastructure. There are many types of cabling that data centers require, depending on what equipment is being used and their requirements. It doesn’t matter what the cables are used for, neglecting or overlooking this crucial part of data center infrastructure can lead to serious problems. This could result in higher operating costs and more expensive outages. You can’t afford to overlook cable management or risk a whole host of problems in the future.


As with all other aspects of life, data center cabling should be planned and executed in a team. The best solution for data center cabling is to simultaneously design the cabling infrastructure and data center. This can be done by using system requirements and physical layouts to determine the type and quantity of cables required. Planning the infrastructure will help you save time. Planning the infrastructure will save you time and allow you to identify which equipment is connected to which cable. This will make it easier to troubleshoot, repair, or replace any equipment in the future.

Best practices: Data Center Cable Management

Apart from the aesthetic pleasure of looking at a well-organized data center cabling system. Planning out cabling infrastructures also saves people time, money, and other resources. Data center operators and owners who have not paid enough attention to cabling management will be able to avoid unnecessary headaches and save time.

Cable management is a must. It is essential. It is vital. These best practices will ensure your cabling infrastructure meets your data center requirements.

  • ANSI/TIA-942B-2017 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard For Data Centers
  • BICSI 002-2019 Data Center Design Implementation and Best Practices

Installation Best Practices

Test and certification: To verify that your infrastructure will be able to support your bandwidth needs and meet your system requirements.

Documentation: This is to record the cables used, their locations, and connections to facilitate future maintenance or troubleshooting.

Measure: To verify that cables are the right length. This measure prevents unplanned downtime for critical IT equipment due to loose wires.

Plan for growth: Make sure that your system is suitable for the future. Make sure that cable trays and racks are ergonomically designed to accommodate future growth.

Best practices for organizations

  • To make it easier to add or remove servers from the racks, run cables along the sides.
  • To make it easy to connect cables in data centers that have elevated floors, or to the ceiling for data centers with wires running through the ceiling, bundle the cables together.
  • Installing additional hardware should be planned. Unorganized cabling can cause problems with cooling and air circulation.
  • Planning prevents damage from rapidly rising temperatures due to restricted air movement.
  • Securely label cables at each end. This allows you to locate cables easily for repair or testing, and install new equipment.
  • It also makes it easy to remove cables from equipment that has been upgraded or moved.

Color code cables for quick identification. You and your team can choose a color scheme that suits you. A legend that explains the meaning of each cable’s colors might be a good idea. For larger installations, such as those that span floors or offices, you may color-code the cable’s destination.

Structured Cabling Systems: Why?

Maximum uptime: It takes much less time to add new hardware. There is less confusion because the cables are installed neatly and in a well-organized manner. It is less likely to lose the correct cable during moves, additions, and changes.

Structured cabling systems have a reduced footprint. Technicians can use smaller diameter trunk cabling to reduce cable bulk. This also decreases the chance of clogging and crushing cables. Structured cabling systems are planned and organized by nature.

Increased Scalability: Data centers today are complex and multifaceted environments. To manage and support hardware connections and allow for network growth, a structured cabling system will be required. Because it is modular, a structured system can be scaled. It is simple to add patch panels to make new connections, as the footprint is already in existence.

Structured cabling systems will outlast multiple generations of hardware and provide a high return on investment. Structured cabling systems will last for many generations.

System operational costs can be reduced, including heating, cooling, and power.

Installation and maintenance times are reduced. The cabling system’s structure allows for easy upgrades and changes.

System availability can be increased by reducing the time it takes to move, add and change.

You can ensure business continuity by minimizing failure sources, error potential, and the danger of cabling becoming unplugged accidentally.

Encourage longevity and easy upgrades by incorporating modularity and scalability.

It is also much more economical than a point-to-point cabling system.


The optical power budget, the cabling system loss, and the channel distance all have direct relationships. Channel errors can occur if optical loss budgets are exceeded. This could lead to downtime.

This can be avoided by using a product set that allows you to enjoy the benefits of structured cabling without exceeding optical loss budgets. This will ensure that you can run longer cables and have no errors.

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