one of this blog series I stated that with new protocols and equipment for repurposing cabling in buildings, you
may feel tempted to continue using either Category
5e or Category 6 cables. Part of the reasons is that the new Ethernet
protocols (2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T)
are promoting these cables as “good
enough” for any cabling installation.
Let’s think about an existing building with the cabling already
deployed. For each project, every customer will need to consider capital expenditures, operating expenditures, return on investments
and all those other enthralling financial concepts. Every facility manager
will need to reach his/her own conclusion; however, the
inherent pains of the recabling process need to be considered quite
heavily, and I will provide you my opinion.
Considering the headaches that
recabling poses, it is understandable that many facilities managers seek
options to improve network performance (i.e., infrastructure plus equipment) without disturbing the facility’s
day-to-day operations. Here is where the new protocols and equipments for 2.5GBASE-T
and 5GBASE-T Ethernet come in handy. If I were a facility
manager that had an existing Category 5e or Category 6 network in need of performance
improvements, then I would consider two options:
1: Repurpose the existing cabling by adding new 2.5G or 5G network
equipment, investing only in sophisticated assets. Remember to re-certify
the quality and performance of the cable (don’t forget that ISO/IEC now considers
2: Deploy new Category 6A cabling to support 10G Ethernet, investing in proven
cabling and equipment. 10G equipment was designed for Category 6A, so it
will certainly work and negotiate the speed down if needed.
If I don’t need additional outlets and just more capacity in ones
already deployed, then I would consider
the first option. However, many IT or facilities managers want to extend
their cabling infrastructure to the ceiling to improve a facility’s Wi-Fi coverage as well. They might want to
also install in-building wireless systems
for mobile phones or an intelligent
LED lighting system. Is it reasonable to deploy new Category 5e or Category
6 cable for such systems; definitely not. When deploying new cable, it is
important you consider your long-term
goals and not just immediate urgencies.
Replacing cabling is always expensive and disruptive, so make sure
you will not need to do it by choosing Category 6A for new runs instead of
Category 5e or 6.
Sophisticated protocols can broaden Category 6 cabling performance,
but remember to ask yourself what you will be able to do with Category 6A
cabling. I can answer that for you—double
your bandwidth. My opinion is that for new installations (and even extensions of
existing ones), it makes sense to deploy Category 6A.
categories are you considering for your next deployments?