Equipment, Software, and the Cabling
When deciding on equipment, software and cabling required to make the connection between the devices and the network, a consideration of four physical aspects has been made. The aspects include the work area, telecommunications room/distribution facility, backbone/vertical cabling, as well as distribution/horizontal cabling.
Various connections to the intermediary devices take place in the telecommunications room, also referred to as the server room. The room contains such intermediary devices as switches, hubs, data service units, and routers. The purpose of these devices is to tie the entire network together. They provide the necessary transitions that take place between the backbone and horizontal cabling. In the telecommunications room, the connection between the patch panels ought to be accomplished by the use of patch cords. Patch cables are used to facilitate the interconnection between the intermediary devices (Convery & Roland 2003, 23). The Telecommunications Industry Association/Electronics Industry Alliance (TIA/EIA) standards specify a pair of UTP patch cables, each of which has its specific role. One of them is the patch cord, which has a length of not more than 5 meters. The patch cord is utilized in making the interconnection between the patch panels and equipment. Another type of patch cables, still not more than 5 meters, is used for accomplishing connection between devices and termination points in the wall. It would be appropriate to install servers in the telecommunications room so that the entire network can be managed from the same location (Olifer & Victor 2006, 45-47).
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A work area is a location that is devoted to the service of end devices used by individual users. Every work area consists of at least two jacks, and the two are used for the purpose of connecting an individual device with the network. The connection of individual devices to the wall jacks is accomplished via patch cables. As per the specification of the EIA/TIA standard, UTP patch cords utilized for accomplishing connection between wall jacks and devices are to be no more than 10 meters in length. Since the straight-through cable happens to be the patch cable of choice with regard to the work area, it will be utilized in making the connection between such end devices as computers and the network. After a switch or hub has been placed within the work area, the connection between the wall jack and the device will be accomplished through a crossover cable (Olifer & Victor 2006, 45-47).
Horizontal cabling is the term that is used in reference to the cables that facilitate the connection between telecommunications rooms and the work areas. The length of a cable that connects the termination point in the telecommunications room with the work area’s termination is no more than 90 meters. The maximum length of 90 meters in the horizontal cabling is called the permanent link. This is due to the fact that its installation is within the building structure. The horizontal media begins from the telecommunications room at the patch panel to the wall jack in each and every work area. The patch cables are used to accomplish connections to the devices (Pennington 1996, 67-72).
Backbone cabling refers to the cabling used to make the connection between telecommunications rooms and various equipment rooms. This is especially the case if the servers happen to be in rooms other than the telecommunications room. Moreover, backbone cabling interconnects various telecommunications rooms if they are situated throughout the facility. The cables are, at times, routed out of the facility to the ISP or for the purpose of making the connection to the WAN. Backbones, or the vertical cabling infrastructure, are utilized for facilitating the aggregated traffic. The aggregated traffic takes place between the Internet and the access to various corporate resources, even if those are situated in remote locations. It is imperative to have a significant portion of the traffic that takes place from various work areas utilize backbone cabling while accessing resources that are situated beyond the facility or area in question. Therefore, it is typical for backbones to utilize such high bandwidth media as fiber-optic cables (Tropper 1981, 67-71).
Equipment and Carrier Service Details
Media Types Being Employed
The choice of cables that are necessary for making successful LAN and WAN connection necessitates consideration of several types of media. There exist several and varied implementations of the physical layer, all of which are aimed at facilitating the support for multiple types of media. The types of media include the UTP (including category 5 and 5e as well as 6 and 7), fiber-optics and wireless (Borisov & Goldberg, 2005).
Each of the aforementioned media type has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, various factors are considered when choosing the cables, such as cable length, cost, bandwidth, ease of installation, as well as susceptibility to RFI/EMI. With regard to length, it is imperative to decide whether the cable is to span across the room or between buildings. This consideration is made to ensure that the organization secures the appropriate length without wasting. Consequently, the management is briefed to enable them to assess whether the budget allows for the use of expensive types of media, especially where the distance to be covered is considerable. Next, it is imperative to consider whether the technology in use does avail an adequate level of bandwidth to support the required communications. After the issue of bandwidth has been considered, the implementation team will assess its capacity to install the cabling. If the capacity of the implementation team proves to be inadequate, the management will evaluate the advantage of outsourcing vendor support. With regard to the susceptibility to RFI/EMI, the stakeholders ought to assess whether the local environment has any impact on the strength and transfer of the signal (Visa USA 2005, 2-7).
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Factors to Consider while Selecting the Media
The entire length of the required cabling caters for the connection between all end devices right at the work area, as well as such intermediary devices as the switches which are placed in the telecommunications room. This caters for the cabling between the devices and the wall plug, cabling between the patch panel and the switch, as well as the cabling through the establishment right from the wall plug to patch panel, or the point of cross-connection. In a situation when a switch is situated in telecommunications rooms located on different floors of a building or even in different building units, the cable for making the connection between these points is also included, while calculating the entire length (Visa USA 2005, 2-7).
Since attenuation refers to the reduction in the strength of the signal while it is being transmitted within a media, the effect is enhanced by having an increased length of the media. As the length is increased, it reaches a point where the signal becomes undetectable. This means that the distance of cabling has a significant effect on determining the strength of the data signal and its performance. In essence, exposure to interference as well as the signal attenuation increases whenever the length of the cable is increased (Lowe 2011, 50-52). For instance, while using the UTP cables for the Ethernet, the recommended horizontal cabling length is 90 meters. This length facilitates the minimization of attenuation in the signal. The use of fiber-optic cabling may enable the distance to be increased to between 500 meters and a few kilometres. The precise distance depends on which technology is being applied. Nevertheless, the signal being passed over the fiber-optic cabling also suffers from the attenuating effect, after these limits have been reached (Cisco Systems Inc, 2005).
The cost associated with securing cables for a local area network varies from one media type to another. Nevertheless, staff members may not recognize the impact of securing one type of media on the budget, since in perfect situations budgets allow for the fiber-optic cabling to be accomplished for every device within the LAN. Even though fiber does provide an enhanced bandwidth as compared to the UTP, the cost of installation, as well as the material for adequate cabling, is significantly higher than the cost of installing UTP (Kizza 2011, 12-16). Since network designs ought to match users’ need for performance with the associated equipment and cabling costs, the length of the cables that could facilitate the achievement of the optimum performance/cost ratio is determined. In practice, there are some levels of performance that are unnecessary, thus making the associated cost requirements appear to be unreasonable and in this case, this consideration has to be made. Outsourcing of IT services frees companies from the difficulties that are associated with commissioning installations. The resources saved can, consequently, be utilized for enhancing other services within the organization (Kizza 2011, 12-16).
Various network devices have differing bandwidth requirements. While selecting the appropriate media for the individual connections, a careful consideration of the bandwidth requirements ought to be made. For instance, the connections ought to ensure that the server can handle a higher amount of bandwidth than that which is required a single computer, since a computer is only dedicated to one user. Therefore, for the server connection to be accomplished a suitable media type capable of handling high bandwidth and increased bandwidth requirements is to be selected.. In such a case, a fiber cable is the most appropriate choice for accomplishing the server connection (Comer 2006, 12-18).
Presently, the technology that is used in the fiber-optic media offers great bandwidth availability with regard to the choices that relate to the LAN media. As a result of the unlimited bandwidth availed by fiber cables, a significant increase in speed becomes possible. The increase in speed enhances performance in the local area network. Wireless technology is another strategy for supporting the increase in bandwidth capacity. However, the wireless option is limited by power consumption, as well as the distance between the telecommunications room and various devices (Comer 2006, 12-18).
Building a Proper Server Room
The ease of installing cables varies as per the building architecture and cable types. Accessibility to the floor and roof spaces, as well as the properties and physical size of the media utilized, influences the ease of installing cables in different buildings. The most effective way of installing cables in buildings is having them in raceways. Basically, a raceway refers to a tube or enclosure that protects the cable by having it enclosed. Raceways also help in keeping cables neat and easy to thread. UTP cables are relatively flexible and light in weight. They also have smaller diameters compared to other types of cables, and this allows them to fit in limiting spaces in an effective manner (Courtiat et al 2005, 5-9).
The preferred connectors are the RJ-45 plugs because they are easy to install and serve as the standard for every Ethernet device. Fiber-optic cables consist of a fine glass fiber. Their bending beyond a certain radius is, therefore, challenging. Moreover, sharp bends or crimps can easily break the incorporated glass fiber. Nevertheless, termination through such cable connectors as ST, MT-RJ, and SC is significantly challenging, thus necessitating the use of specialized equipment. Some of these challenges increase the preference of wireless over other types of networks (Oja & Parsons 2010, 90-92).
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Wireless networks do require cabling, at least up to some point, in order to connect such devices as access points with the rest of the wired LAN. Since wireless networks require few cables, they are presumably easier to install as compared to the use of UTP and fiber cables. Nevertheless, wireless LANs necessitate careful planning, implementation, and testing. Additionally, there exist several external factors that affect its operability. These factors include the presence of other radio frequency devices, as well as the obstructing of buildings (Convery & Bernie 2004, 12-15).
Radio Frequency and Electromagnetic Interference, RFI/EMI, are considered when selecting the most appropriate media type for the LAN. RFI/EMI has been proven to be a significant impact on data communications, especially when the installation utilizes the wrong cable. Interference may also result from electrical machine activities, lightning, as well as activities relating to such communication devices as radio and computers. Since separate buildings are to be interconnected in this installation, the media that facilitates the interconnection between these buildings is exposed to lightning strikes. Moreover, the distance between the buildings may increase the challenges, as well as required installation costs. For this project, fiber cable is presumably the best choice. Since studies have indicated that wireless is considerably susceptible to RFI, it is imperative to identify potential causes of interference so that the challenges that they cause can be mitigated (Dhotre & Bagad 2007, 45-46).
The devices used in the networks will consist of two varieties of UTP interfaces, such as the media-dependent interface (MDI) and media-dependent interface, crossover (MDIX). The MDI uses a normal Ethernet pin-out. Pins one and two are utilized for the purpose of transmitting, while pins three and six are utilized in receiving. Such devices as servers, computers, and routers are composed of MDI connections. The devices that avail the LAN connectivity, e.g. the hubs and switches, make use of the MDIX connections. The MDIX cables swap the transmitting pairs internally. The swapping facilitates a situation, whereby the end devices are connected to the switch or hub through straight-through cables (Airscanner 2005). Typically, the connection of different devices utilizes straight-through cables, while connections of similar devices utilize crossover cables.
The networks will also utilize straight-through cables, which consist of connectors on both ends, and these connectors facilitate the termination as per the T568A or the T568B standard. The identification of used cable standards allows for the determination of whether the right cables for the job are available. It is common to utilize colour codes in a similar manner throughout the LAN to ensure consistency, while documenting the work. The straight-through cabling will be utilized in such connections as a router Ethernet port to a switch, a switch to a computer, or a hub to a computer (Airscanner 2005; Azlan 2005).