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Article

Has Your Enterprise Cloud Hit a Brick Wall?

High-speed network infrastructure within a building is an intelligent amenity that is a must have, and not a hoped for

You can design a great enterprise cloud network, but it will be very restricted if you are in a building that does not support broadband connectivity or mission-critical applications.

What good is a multi-gigabit design if your connection to the central office is not fiber? Or redundant? Can you even have a mission-critical network if you only have one connection to one central office?

Here are five ways to tell if your building is obsolete.

Excerpt from James Carlini's upcoming book, Location, Location, Connectivity :

How receptive is your building to all the new connectivity technology exploding onto the market? Have your smartphone with you? Does it work well in your building?

What about your applications running on your enterprise network? Are you getting the speeds you need to compete in the 21st century? Or are you stuck with 20th century connectivity because no one knows how to upgrade the building's network infrastructure?

Checklist
Here is a quick checklist to assess a building's network infrastructure:

What to Check

What You May Find

What It Should Be

Connectivity to the Central Office (Connection)

A single connection to a single central office

Two separate connections to two separate central offices

Connectivity to the Central Office (Type of transmission media used)

Copper

Fiber Optic

Wireless Capability (Any WiFi or DAS?)

Standard network carrier coverage.

Multiple network carrier coverage. (PLUS - capacity, not just coverage)

TWINS * (See below)

A single central office connection with a small amount of spare capacity in it as well as the vertical riser system (or maybe no spares).

It should have spare capacity both to the central office as well as the vertical riser system and be able to handle gigabit speeds.

Firestopping

Many penetrations where cable is pulled through the floor or wall that is NOT firestopped (covered with flame retardant material to stop smoke from spreading across the building.

ALL penetrations between walls and floors should be firestopped with materials made for that purpose. This is more a life/safety issue than a connectivity issue, but it also falls into the area of communications so you should be aware of it.

Some will argue about the dual connection to two separate telephone company central offices being necessary, but when you look at the growth in mission-critical applications, you need to have this diverse connectivity to support the redundancy of the network. One out of every three applications are considered mission critical with the amount growing to where it will be one out of every two applications within several years.

If you don't have separate connections to the central office, your network is your single point-of-failure within your enterprise application. How can it be considered a "mission-critical" application?

A single connection to the building from a single central office was the approach for decades, but we are beyond that if we are concerned with supporting mission-critical applications. Horse-and buggy rules-of-thumb for communications cannot be applied in 21st century applications.

What Are Twins?
Years ago, I wrote a rule-of-thumb for the cabling communications industries, which is still used as a way to understand what network infrastructure is coming in and being used in a building. It was also used as a teaching tool to understand what cabling capacity was coming into a building. With the TWINS © tool, you can easily figure out what copper capacity is within a building

TWINS © stands for

Total Pair,

Working Pair,

In-Service Pair,

Non_Working Pair, and

Spare Pair

For example, in a building that has a total of 4,000 cable pair coming into it from the central office, you might have something like this:

CODE

Type of PAIR

TOTALS

T

Total Pair

4,000

W

Working Pair

3,300

I

In-Service Pair

2,200

N

Non-Working Pair

700

S

Spare Pair

1,100

Copyright © 1992, 2013 - James Carlini, certified Infrastructure Consultant
All Rights Reserved

How many building owners and property managers even know what capacity they have in their buildings? If there is no record of what is available and what is in-service, how can they lease out a building if they don't know how much spare capacity of connectivity the building has? Would you move into a building where you could not expand or add on more communications capacities as your organization needs them?

These are questions that were not as critical in the past, but are very critical today. Insufficient cabling within a building will degrade its marketability and lower its value. Anyone paying top dollar to buy or lease an obsolete building is a fool because it takes millions of dollar to bring it back up to speed. (No pun intended.)

•   •   •

Copyright 2013 - James Carlini

More Stories By James Carlini

James Carlini, MBA, a certified Infrastructure Consultant, keynote speaker and former award-winning Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University, has advised on mission-critical networks. Clients include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, GLOBEX, and City of Chicago’s 911 Center. An expert witness in civil and federal courts on network infrastructure, he has worked with AT&T, Sprint and others.

Follow daily Carlini-isms at www.twitter.com/JAMESCARLINI

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