How to Choose the Best Cabling for Data Centers

What’s the difference between a high-performing data center and one that struggles with frequent server downtime? The answer is typically the quality of the data center cabling. If you’re interested in making your data center in Raleigh, NC more efficient, it’s smart to invest in good cabling. There are many considerations to take into account, including the difference between copper vs. fiber optic cabling, and how the two can work together to improve reliability. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the best data center cabling for your facility.

Structured vs. unstructured cabling

There are two ways to go about the cabling process at your Raleigh, NC facility, namely structured and unstructured cabling. Structured cabling costs more to install, since it’s a highly organized system that’s tested to ensure proper performance. It will save you money in the long run, though, because operational costs are lower, and your system will be much more reliable.

In the case of unstructured cabling, there are no predefined standards, connection points or pathways you need to follow. Airflow is usually restricted, leading to cooling problems and higher energy costs. These systems typically have a small lifecycle, and you could experience extended downtime at your facility. They cost less to install, but the cost to operate can be surprisingly high.

Copper vs. fiber optic cabling

Understanding the difference between copper vs. fiber optic cabling helps you choose the right solution for your data center. Oftentimes a mixture of copper cable and fiber optics works best.

Copper cables are suitable for data centers because they lower capital expenditures and operational costs. They also enhance the performance of your systems, usually covering a distance of several feet. Copper cables can transfer data at the highest available bandwidth, and they provide connections in a reliable and affordable way.

Using copper cables at your data center is a cost-effective, reliable solution—fiber optic options are typically two to five times more expensive. Whether you’re operating a small or large data center, this significantly reduces your capital investments.

While copper cables provide plenty of benefits for data centers, fiber optics remain the most popular choice. They’re thinner and lighter than their copper counterparts, and they have a smaller bend radius, making them more flexible for data center configurations. They’re also able to span longer distances than copper cables, making them suitable for use within and in between equipment racks.

Smartly run data centers actually make use of both copper and fiber optic options for cabling. A mixed network of cabling is often the best option. Use a combination of these two forms of cabling to set up a good infrastructure for your business—you’ll see that both performance and efficiency at your data center will improve.

If you own or operate a data center in Raleigh, NC, quality data center cabling is crucial to ensure that your facility doesn’t experience extended downtime. Contact the team at Box Electric Company today to learn more about reliable cabling solutions for your business.