Clearly structured and error-free cabling is essential, especially in a data center. Electrical cabling connects the different energy sources with the respective consumers within the system. Incorrectly designed cabling can lead to cable fires and the failure of the entire infrastructure. Effective electrical cabling should therefore focus on reliability and safety. Because every operator wants to operate their system as economically as possible. Failures – for example due to damaged cables or incorrect connections – should be avoided. In addition to the power cabling, the network cabling should also be structured and carefully planned and implemented. In this way, a future-oriented and application-independent network infrastructure can be built on which different services such as voice or data can be transmitted. High Knowledge GmbH from Cologne offers suitable solutions for both types of cabling, with which expensive incorrect installations and expansions can be avoided and the installation of new network components can be made easier.

Well thought-out and error-free cabling within a data center is essential. This applies equally to high-voltage power and network cabling. The correct choice of cables and lines is an essential factor for the safe and reliable operation of all systems. “It is essential to adapt the cable and line types to the respective requirements. A mistake in the selection can quickly become a major problem that not only affects the operation of the system, but also leads to an increased safety risk,” says Martin Vogt. The technical manager at High Knowledge knows the importance of well-thought-out cabling in data centers from many years of experience. Both cabling work must be planned down to the last detail.

Eliminate disruptive factors in electrical wiring

“The electrical cabling of data centers places special demands on the quality and use of the various materials. In addition to many other aspects, the installation must also be ‘fireproof’ so that no dangerous situations arise in the event of a fire,” emphasizes Vogt. In addition, this type of cabling should be designed in such a way that disruptive factors such as those that can arise from electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), radio frequency interference (RFI) and electrostatic discharge (ESD) can be excluded as far as possible. That's why high-quality cable types that are less susceptible to failure are used when laying in a data center. “Concentrically designed protective conductors can drastically reduce the field strengths emitted by a cable and thus contribute to the safe operation of the IT infrastructure,” continues Vogt. These guarantee a long service life and do not lose their performance and effectiveness under constant load.

All standards at a glance

When it comes to safe electrical cabling, the Cologne-based company primarily focuses on two criteria: reliability and safety. That's why the right choice of cables and lines is an essential factor for the safe and reliable operation of electrical systems. “It is important to us that we adapt the respective cable types exactly to the requirements,” says the technical manager at High Knowledge. “An error in the selection of cables can quickly become a major problem that not only affects the operation of the system, but also leads to an increased safety risk.” That is why the quality of the materials is a priority right from the planning stage. Of course, quality is also taken into account during installation. Among many other aspects, it must also be “fireproof”. This means that no dangerous situations can arise in the event of a fire. In addition, the cabling should be designed in such a way that disruptive factors such as EMC, RFI and ESD are excluded as much as possible. In addition, all standards such as DIN EN 50310 (VDE 0800-2-310), which contains all the necessary requirements for networks for grounding and potential equalization, are met. Because no data center can operate without a reliable power supply. DIN EN 62040-1 (VDE 0558-510) also contains general requirements and safety requirements for corresponding UPS systems and is also met.

Cabling networks in a structured manner

The same care also applies to network cabling within a data center. To be on the safe side, this cabling should be done in an orderly manner. So-called structured cabling is based on a generally valid cabling structure that takes into account all of the system's requirements over several decades. It also contains reserves, can be flexibly expanded and can also be used regardless of the application. All of these points should be thought through and pre-assembled during planning. Once the cables have been laid, incorrect installations are difficult to reverse.

The use of fast, high-capacity and high-performance fiber optic cables is ideal for cabling data centers. The technical manager sees a lot of catching up to do in today's data center cabling: “Too often, outdated copper cables are still used today. However, these lead to unnecessary problems in many systems.” It is therefore important that industrial cabling for data centers ensures security on the one hand and forms the basis for building an integrated infrastructure on the other. At the same time, it should also provide guidance for maintaining high cable performance over the next few years.

Comply with standards

Structural cabling should adhere to all cabling standards. One of these standards is the ANSI/TIA-942 standard, which describes the data center-specific functional areas. It also provides a minimum recommendation for path and space requirements, the distance between the backbone and the horizontal cable medium, redundancy, cable management and environmental aspects. EN 50173 is also important. This standard stands for application-neutral cabling systems. It specifies the requirements for the components required for the manufacture and operation of cabling systems. The standard ensures uniform and reliable operation of cabling systems in different environments.

ISO/IEC 24764 also specifies the cabling used in the system. This international standard is based on TIA-942 and EN 50173-5, ensuring consistent and reliable cabling in data centers worldwide. The application of IEC 61156-5 is an international specification that regulates the components and structure of cabling systems in data centers. Different aspects are explained based on the respective environmental conditions in which the cabling is used. Finally, the ANSI/BICSI 002-2019 standard contains guidelines for the planning and operation of data centers. This includes planning, construction, commissioning, protection, management and maintenance of the data center as well as cabling infrastructure, paths and rooms. The standard also applies to modular data centers, container data centers and energy efficiency and also describes its own availability class structure for determining reliability.

Make sure it is carried out correctly

Although fiber optic cables are a better and future-proof solution compared to copper cables, care must still be taken to ensure precise and error-free installation. For example, the planning of patch paths is one of the most important influencing factors that must be taken into account when network cabling within a data center. Other crucial factors that affect the cabling routes are the rack density, type, number and diameter of cables, the cable entry of the end devices and the room height. In addition, flow and cooling issues have become a new challenge in data center cabling design. “Cable routing and design can greatly influence and impact the efficiency of the airflow design,” emphasizes Vogt.

You should also pay close attention to the bending radius of the fibers when laying them. The bending radius, or the dimension of a curve, determines how much the data signal is attenuated. Furthermore, careful attention should be paid to ensuring that the end surfaces are not dirty. Dust or oil on the front sides of the cabling can cause major damage within the network. If copper cables are used, they must not be laid at electromagnetic interfaces, for example near power cables or fire protection components.

Anticipate future changes

When it comes to structural cabling, it is important that it is designed with foresight. That's why there should always be enough vertical and horizontal managers for cable management in the data center. This makes future changes quicker and safer - for example, when cables need to be removed for upgrades or unforeseen downtime. The use of fiberglass raceways is also possible. This means that the routing path through the fiber optic raceway can be precisely defined and followed logically. The validity of the cabling is therefore ensured at all times and congestion in the termination panel can be virtually eliminated. Care should also be taken to label the cables precisely. This makes cabling work safer and easier. In addition, clear labeling makes installation and future modification or expansion easier.

Conclusion

An error-free and future-proof network infrastructure starts with secure and structured cabling. Experts such as High Knowledge GmbH from Cologne rely on fiber optic cables. This includes a generally valid cabling structure that also meets all of the data center's requirements for future requirements. Reliability and safety of system operation are always the focus. When it comes to high-current cabling, all possible disruptive factors such as EMC, RFI and ESD should be eliminated during the planning stage. This means there can be no subsequent failures.