Cable overcomes 'alarming' situation: faced with stricter fire code regulations, data hosting service found an innovative solution - Special focus: cabling, wiring & enclosures - Redundant Networks is using DataTwist 350 Limited Combustible FHC 25/50 Enhanced Category 5e cable. Jointly engineered by Belden and the Fluoro products division of DuPoint
During the construction of its new Reno, Nev., data hosting operations center, Redundant Networks ran into an unexpected obstacle. The local fire department had issued some tough new guidelines for cabling installation, including a requirement for an under-the-floor sprinkler system if standard CMP-rated data cables were installed.
Installing the sprinkler system would not only jeopardize Redundant Networks construction timeline, but would add significant cost to the installation, so the company looked for alternative solutions to comply with the new fire code. Because of the mission-critical nature of Redundant Networks' business, the solution selected also had deliver a continuous, fail-safe operating environment and ample bandwidth for its customers' current and future applications.
Redundant Networks is a secure colocation facility and next-generation network services firm, serving a customer base that includes financial institutions, healthcare firms and enterprises whose demand for data availability is exceeded only by their need for reliability and security. From sites in Reno and Raleigh, N.C., the company employs a WAN topology and patented technologies to optimize its mirrored data center operations, assuring customers of optimal security, and continual uptime of their servers and databases, while also providing a cost-effective pricing structure. In the unlikely event of total system failure at one site, Redundant Networks can perform a complete restoration to the second site in 10 minutes.
Janice Fetzer, Redundant Networks' chief operating officer and general manager, found the cabling solution the company was looking for DataTwist 350 Limited Combustible FHC 25/50 Enhanced Category 5e cable. Jointly engineered by Belden and the Fluoro products division of DuPoint, the cable is in response to requests from the National Fire Protection Association for a cable design offering a lower fire load, and improved smoke and flame performance.
The cables are constructed with Teflon fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) insulation, and jacketed with the same material. The FEP resin was chosen because it combines excellent electrical properties with low flame spread and low smoke generation up to 20 times lower than standard plenum rated constructions-and maintains these physical properties over time. The material also withstands high temperatures and humidity.
In addition to their flame-and smoke-retardant qualities, the CAT 5e cables feature a bonded-pair construction, in which the conductors in each pair are bonded along the entire length of the cable to prevent performance-robbing conductor gaps during the rigors of installation and beyond. With headroom exceeding CAT 5e, the cables support a wide range of communications protocols, including 100BaseT, ATM and Gigabit Ethernet (1000BaseT).
According to Fetzer, "The cable not only allows us to comply with Reno's fire safety regulations, but also delivers the high level of protection and performance we need to support our clients' increasingly sophisticated applications. It meets or exceeds our technical requirements as far as being able to run gigabit traffic." Because of these advantages, Redundant Networks decided to install the cable throughout the entire facility, not just in the data center.
Redundant Networks' Reno facility occupies approximately 15,000 square feet, with the raised floor area in the data center taking up about 7,500 of the total space. The firm's administrative, technical and security operations occupy the remaining hale Redundant Networks' in-house staff." developed the cable-system design and cable-management program, then contracted with AC Telecommunications in Reno for installation and testing.
The data center contains 32 wire-mesh cages, approximately six-feet tall, and within them are four seven-foot by 19-inch free-standing data racks. The racks are set up in groups of two, which is similar to colocation cages in a central office.
In the data center area, the cable runs underneath the raised floor, utilizing basket trays along several routes. The cabling is brought up to the equipment through the use of both vertical and horizontal wire management. The cables are terminated on CAT 5e jacks that are installed into the first six ports of the modular patch panels.
The cables run from each cage to the node room, where 10 48-port patch panels are located. In the administrative area of the facility (also the site of the security office), the cable runs overhead through a dropped ceiling to individual offices. Cable management consists of J-hooks located in the ceiling cavity.
Conduit takes the cable from the administrative/ office area to the node room, where it is dropped into a ladder rack and then pulled and terminated to separate patch panels. In total, Redundant Networks has installed more than 40,000 feet of the special cable in the new Reno facility, and expects that more than 200,000 feet will ultimately be installed.
Fetzer notes that selecting the Data-Twist 350 LC cable was the right decision for Redundant Networks. "The alternative-installing a sprinkler system would have been expensive and seriously affected our timetable," she says. "I am really happy with the technical properties (of the cable) and the fact that we can scale on it."
DataTwist LC cable
Belden DataTwist 350 Limited Combustible cable is an enhanced Category 5e UTP cable that exceeds CAT 5e standards and supports a wide range of communications protocols, including Gigabit Ethernet. Insulated and jacketed in DuPont's Teflon FEP fluorpolymer, the cable provides a high level of protection for lives and property because it generates 20 times less smoke than ordinary plenum cables and flame spread is reduced. The cables are heat- and humidity-resistant, and are engineered to deliver consistently superior electrical performance. For more information from Belden: www.rsleads.com/31 lcn-250