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Major study probes physical layer trends

Results of a major study conducted by Systimax Solutions, a division of Commscope Inc., have found that 56% of respondents would install Category 6 cabling and that a further 16% would opt for the new...


July 1, 2005  


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Results of a major study conducted by Systimax Solutions, a division of Commscope Inc., have found that 56% of respondents would install Category 6 cabling and that a further 16% would opt for the new Augmented Category 6 (Category 6A) cabling.

Findings in the study, entitled Meeting the Network Connectivity Challenge, are based on interviews with 2,165 IT professionals from 48 countries.

“(They) show that managers worldwide are willing to adopt new cabling technology at an early stage to ensure they have the bandwidth they need,” said Fiona Nolan, global marketing director at Systimax.

“Even though development of the new 10 Gb/s Augmented Category 6 standard has just started, one sixth of the network managers who responded indicated that they are ready to install 10 Gb/s copper cabling now.

“IT professionals have learned by experience with existing networks that they must have the best connectivity to realize the full potential of network- intensive applications. As Gigabit desktop connections become the norm and 10 Gb/s is seen as the coming standard, managers now view high quality cabling as an excellent investment rather than just a necessary cost.”

At the other end of the connectivity performance scale, findings suggest that Category 5e cabling is heading for obsolescence with only 17% of respondents selecting this option for a new installation.

The research confirms industry expectations that the migration to 10 Gb/s is likely to begin in the data centre and move on to desktop connections.

An estimated 45% of respondents expect to have 10 Gigabit Ethernet in their data centre horizontal (server connections) within two years, 10% have already implemented it in their backbone (switch-to-switch connections) and a further 54% anticipate they will do so within two years.

Outside the data centre, most respondents expect to be running primarily 1 Gb/s (53%) or 10 Gb/s (30%) over their horizontal cabling within five years. In the same timeframe, 61% expect to be running 10 Gb/s and 26% expect to need 40 Gb/s in network backbones.

The research also shows that wireless networking is now widely adopted with 78% of respondents either using it now or intending to use it in new installations. Upwards of 81% of respondents see wireless technology as an overlay or extension to their cabling infrastructure compared with just 14% who see it as a replacement for a cabling infrastructure.

While the need for high performance connectivity is widely accepted, the research also found that IT professionals generally lack awareness of advanced cable management solutions and their benefits.

Although technical performance and the total life cycle cost of solutions were top priorities most often mentioned by respondents, half of them had not considered using intelligent patching to help manage their networks.

“Clearly education about and the subsequent deployment of intelligent infrastructure management could help IT professionals achieve their performance objectives while improving flexibility, deployment of services and management of moves, adds and changes in the network,” Systimax said.

“The survey shows that past education on the benefits of deployment of high performance cabling is well understood, as shown by the acceptance of new technologies, such as Category 6A, even prior to the publication of standards.”