What is Data Center Cabling?


In today’s digital age, data centers are essential for businesses of all sizes. To maintain a high level of efficiency, you need to manage data center cabling strategically and effectively. By implementing proper cabling organization, data center operators will be able to minimize downtime, enhance data security, and optimize system performance.

Understanding Data Center Cabling 

To ensure network connectivity and power distribution, data center cabling connects various components of data center infrastructure and equipment. Efficient infrastructure management involves thorough planning, organizing, and maintaining structured cabling systems within your data centers. From fiber optic cables to copper wiring, proper cabling design is important for fast and reliable data transmission. 

Structured Cabling vs. Unstructured Cabling 

To maintain a strong and reliable network, you must regularly connect your devices. Structured cabling and unstructured cabling are the two main cabling categories. Unlike unstructured cables, structured cables do not have individual connections. Instead, they run multiple cables into a patch that directs a single cable’s devices to a single device.

Structured Cabling 

Structured cabling is an organized wiring system that supports multiple hardware uses. It utilizes predefined standards with predefined connection points and pathways. Instead of connecting individual cables, it integrates multiple cables into a patch. This cabling type uses one cable to route the cable’s devices to a single device.

A structured cabling system properly routes, labels, and makes wires accessible. Structured cabling also transfers data faster, so the load speeds are faster. Structured cabling is flexible, so you can easily add new cables to the cabling system. 

This makes it easy for your network to grow over time. Overall, the installation time is longer and the upfront cost is higher. However, the operating costs are lower and the lifespan of the system is longer.

The six components of structured cabling are:

  1. Entrance Facilities 
  2. Equipment Room 
  3. Backbone Cabling 
  4. Telecommunications Room 
  5. Horizontal Cabling 
  6. Work Area 

Unstructured Cabling 

Compared to structured cabling, unstructured cabling does not use predefined standards, connection points, or pathways. This type of cabling system is messy and features an assortment of tangled cables. Unstructured cabling may cause restricted airflow and cooling complications, downtime, and high operational costs. 

An unstructured system may have a shorter installation time and lower costs, but the lifecycle will be shorter. To achieve enhanced efficiency and load speeds, you need to avoid this cabling type.

What are the Benefits of Cable Management?

If you’re running a large data center or home office, cable management creates a clean and organized environment. The benefits of data center cable management include: 

  • Protect cables and wires 
  • Increase troubleshooting efficiency 
  • Easy cable tracing and maintenance 
  • Improve uptime, safety, and aesthetics 
  • Improve airflow and cooling efficiency 
  • Reduce downtime, outages, and clutter 
  • Cost-effective solution
  • Improve system performance and productivity 
  • Maintain clean and aesthetic work environment 

How To Manage Data Center Cabling 

Organization and efficiency are crucial aspects to have in a data center. To properly manage your data center and its core components, here are 7 key practices to consider: 

  1. Cable Labels and Identification – By properly labeling your cables, it improves reliability and maximizes uptime. This is important for the upkeep of data centers and network facilities. Cable labeling is beneficial for troubleshooting or management activities in a data center. 
  2. Optimize Airflow and Cooling – Excessive cables obstruct airflow, leading to higher temperatures that could create downtime and waste energy. To optimize airflow, you need to remove unnecessary cables from beneath the raised floor or within the cabinets. This also means reducing clutter within your data center. 
  3. Cable Management – You cannot neglect the cabling and supporting cable management system. Proper cable management helps in accessing cables easily. It also helps in troubleshooting network and hardware issues.  Additionally, it allows for efficiently performing basic tasks, increases scalability and reduces downtime.
  4. Route Cables Properly – Before installation, you need to know where to route your cables. If you incorrectly connect cables before organizing them, you’ll have to remove them all and restart. Additionally, you need to determine if the cables will enter from the top or bottom of your rack. This will help you plan the routes to properly separate the power and data cables. 
  5. Patch Panels –  A patch panel is the mounted hardware assembly or device that features a number of ports. It connects and manages the network. You can mount them within your server racks, with the blank ports on one side and the termination point on the other side. Additionally, you can terminate, label, and patch the cables into your network hardware.
  6. Network Documentation – Network documentation is the technical record of your network. This includes its association with the hardware, software, and servers. It features information on the network structure, how it should perform, and where to troubleshoot. By monitoring data and circuits, you can plan capacity, analyze failover, and quickly respond to outages in real-time.
  7. DCIM Software – DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) software enables data center operators to optimize their operations and infrastructure for planning and design. With DCIM software, it ensures efficient processes and enables easier network operation and maintenance. You can track, identify, and report detailed information on your cables. This means the point-to-point connectivity and endpoint details, including termination ports, connectors, parent interfaces, cards and devices. 

Data Center Cabling Types

The main types of network cabling used in data centers are copper and fiber optic, ground, and AC/DC power. The available interference on the equipment and the bandwidth requirements in the data center determine your cable type. 

Communication Standard Application Cable Type  Connector Type 
10/100Mbps (100Base-TX) Ethernet Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat7, Cat 7a RJ45
1000Mbps (Gigabit or 1000Base-T) Gigabit Ethernet Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat7, Cat 7a RJ45
10Gbps (10GBase-T) 10Gig Ethernet Cat 6a, Cat7, Cat7a RJ45, GG45, TERA
40 or 100Gbps 40 or 100Gig Ethernet Cat7a GG45, TERA
Fiber Channel High Speed Ethernet Twinaxial or Fiber Infiniband, QSFP, SFP+, 10G – CX4, LC, SC, ST
Fiber Optic High-Speed Ethernet Multimode (High-bandwidth, Short Distance) or

Single Mode (High-speed, Long Distance)


Do You Need Cable Management Accessories? 

In conclusion, data center cabling is essential for businesses to meet the demands of a technology-driven world.  By employing proper cabling practices, you can improve operational efficiency, ensure uninterrupted business continuity, and enhance data security.

If you need cable management accessories, feel free to contact us for more information. We provide a variety of cable management solutions that ensure an organized operating environment for your equipment. 

Cable Management Arm
Cable Management Arm

With our quality, in-house production, you can be sure that you’re receiving the best equipment for your data centers!

FAQs: Data Center Cabling

What is the data center cabling standard?

The main data center cable standards are: 

  • ANSI/TIA-942 – specifies the minimum requirements for data centers and covers all physical infrastructure. This includes site location, construction, electrical, mechanical, fire safety, telecommunication, security and other requirements.
  • ISO/IEC 24764 – specifies generic cabling that supports a wide range of communications services within a data center. It covers balanced cabling and optical fiber cabling. 
  • ANSI/BICSI 002-2014 – provides guidelines for data center design and operation regarding planning, construction, commissioning, protection, management, and maintenance, cabling infrastructure, pathways, and spaces. It also covers modular data centers, container-type data centers, and energy efficiency. 
What is Data Center Cabling?
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What is Data Center Cabling?
Data center cabling connects various components of data center infrastructure and equipment. Efficient infrastructure management involves thorough planning, organizing, and maintaining structured cabling systems within your data centers.
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