We established four ways that you can support your network with your digital infrastructure. 

Last week, we declared 2017 to be “the year of the digital building.” A digital building uses its network to connect previously standalone building systems together using one common, connected digital infrastructure. Through Internet protocol (IP), these devices can send and receive data via the network.

How can we support this ubiquitous LAN (a phrase we coined in 2016 to describe bringing traditionally separate, standalone building systems together under one network) with our digital infrastructure? We’ve mentioned before that your digital infrastructure will make or break your network. Even the best, most high-performing building systems designed to connect via IP and transmit/receive data won’t do you any good if your digital infrastructure can’t provide reliable uptime and fast speeds for data sharing and consumption.

Click here to download the white paper titled 'Internet of Things: The New Convergence and the Challenges It Brings'.1. Follow Structured Cabling Standards

As data rates spike, and increasing numbers of devices connect to our networks every day, the demands for higher performance and faster speeds are capturing the attention of standards bodies.

Industry standards that used to recommend Category 6A cabling only in data center environments are now recommending it for new LAN installations as well:

  • ANSI/TIA-942-A for data centers
  • ANSI/TIA-1179 for healthcare facilities
  • ANSI/TIA-4966 for educational facilities
  • ANSI/TIA-568.0-D for commercial buildings

2. Consider New Topologies

To support your network, many different digital infrastructure topologies can be used to improve workspace flexibility and support moves, adds and changes in open-office environments. 

Zone cabling, for example, creates consolidation points that reduce costs associated with adding or moving cabling in your digital infrastructure. Horizontal cabling runs from telecommunications room patch panels to zone-enclosure connections. These connections are mounted under the floor, in the ceiling or on the wall. Cables run from outlets or connecting blocks to work area outlets, equipment outlets or directly to devices. Patch cords connect devices to the appropriate telecommunications or equipment outlet.

Pre-terminated cabling is another example: It can help you deploy digital infrastructure changes faster. Because it is factory-terminated and tested before it leaves the manufacturer’s warehouse, pre-terminated cabling can improve network performance by reducing the likelihood of rework or termination failure. Pre-terminated cabling also features reusable components, which is helpful during moves, adds and changes.

A simplified type of connection method we call “direct connect” is another digital infrastructure topology that can support your network by efficiently connecting IP devices to it. A single cable connects a device at one end; the other cable end connects directly to wherever it needs to be.

These newer topologies can help your digital infrastructure support a network that provides uptime, reliability, fast speeds and high performance.

3. Determine Bandwidth and Power Needs

Your industry, staffing levels, job-related tasks and the number of devices connecting to your networks all impact the amount of bandwidth you need – from 1G to 10G – to efficiently and quickly share and consume data. By knowing the amount of bandwidth your network calls for, you can effectively design your digital infrastructure to support it.

Determining the appropriate amount of power required by your devices is another way to support your network through digital infrastructure. PoE (Power over Ethernet) allows network cables to not only carry data, but also deliver electrical power to devices. A device’s power consumption determines how much wattage it needs. For example, a VoIP phone requires significantly less power than a laptop or high-definition screen.

4. Consider Category 6A Cabling

We mentioned Category 6A cabling earlier when we talked about standards – but what benefits does Category 6A cabling bring to the table when it comes to supporting your network with digital infrastructure?

  • It supports higher performance and faster speeds
  • Several emerging applications perform best over Category 6A cabling, including next-generation WiFi, higher-power PoE and HDBaseT
  • It offers enhanced thermal dissipation performance, ideal for PoE applications
  • It supports the universal RJ45 interface
  • It supports all data rates through 10GBASE-T

This year, we’ll share lots of ideas and ways to support your network with digital infrastructure to ensure that your organization is prepared for increasing amounts of data sharing and consumption.

Belden offers many ways to help you support networks with digital infrastructure. Our REVConnect system, for example, allows you to install and complete LAN projects faster. It’s a complete connectivity solution that works well the first time, features a simplified termination process and uses one connectivity style for all RJ45s – plugs and jacks. Learn more here.

Is there something you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!