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For Immediate Release
February 2004

MOVING CABLING FROM THE BACKSEAT TO THE FRONT IN IT PROJECTS

When it comes to decision making on installing new IT systems, it is usually the hardware and software that attract the most attention. Yet, the successful performance of the network relies much more heavily on an element that is often given a back seat role - the cabling infrastructure.

Making the choice about the right cabling for your business may have a critical impact on your business, according to Keith Astin, managing director of The Siemon Company (EMEA Region):

"When a company's cabling system is inadequate for the amount of data, voice and data traffic running over it, the network slows to a crawl - or worse crashes. This network downtime is a major concern for businesses, because of the cost in productivity and revenue."

He adds: "Our recent analysis of the US commercial banking market indicated that an hour of downtime would cost the industry $34,268,504 (£19,363,577), including salary and revenues lost. That's almost $10,000 per second. In the healthcare sector, a similar disruption equates to a loss of $22,198,302 (£12,543,027)."

Establishing which cabling infrastructure system is going to be the right choice, depends on three key factors. The performance level you need from the network, now and in the future, the quality of the system and whether copper or fibre cable is going to be most appropriate for your business needs.

Performance levels are one of the hardest areas to predict. There is no doubt that advanced business applications, such as Voice Over IP, IP-based videoconferencing, IP-based security and others, are taxing networks and their cabling infrastructure like never before.

Keith Astin explains: "These applications demand more bandwidth and higher speeds and when you add to that, a myriad of other business applications now converged onto one system, such as computerised access control, building automation control and video surveillance, you can see why choosing the right cabling infrastructure is so critical."

In the early years of network systems, every manufacturer offered its own proprietary systems - most of which were not compatible, creating a situation where there was little flexibility and significant costs every time change was made. The evolution of global standards in the industry by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation), have changed this, introducing compatibility and common operating facilities. The standards set by these organisations also define another level of decision making for the business owner or IT manager, making a choice about cabling.

Keith Astin explains: "The standards range from Category 5e through to Category 7 and reflect the minimum bandwidth of the cables. Higher bandwidth means more data can flow through the cables, so it is important to choose a level which will support the types of application your business will be using today and in the future."

Finally, decisions need to be taken about materials. Structured cabling systems are available in copper or fibre - and most systems include a combination of both. Copper is the most common cable and comes in two variations.

Unshielded twisted pair copper is the most widely used because it is highly reliable but the least expensive. The other type of copper cabling - shielded twisted pair is more expensive but has greater signal transmission performance. Shielded twisted pair cables have a protecting foil wrapper so that signals cannot get 'crossed' - making it particularly suitable for areas with high electro magnetic interference like factory floors. It is also ideal for organisations where data is critical and needs to be highly protected such as banks, stock exchanges and hospitals.

The other type of cable - fibre - is a glass base medium, which is so pure that it allows more signals to run much longer distances than copper, without degradation. While increased distance and transmission performance are the main benefits of fiber, it is also much more expensive.

Keith Astin adds: "Fibre is often used in the backbone of a system, while unshielded twisted pairs are used in horizontal cabling - the connections between the telecommunications room on each floor and the work stations. Similarly, shielded twisted pairs are frequently used in manufacturing areas."

Staying ahead of IT advancements that otherwise will slow the performance of your network is essential, if the business itself is not to be adversely affected.

Keith Astin adds: "Be sure your structured cabling system is designed and installed to provide the bandwidth and speeds needed by today's applications. Then add a measure of additional bandwidth to handle new emerging applications that are on the horizon. This element of future-proofing of the network is a wise strategy that will greatly benefit the daily operations of your business."

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About Siemon
Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specialising in the design and manufacture of high quality, high performance low voltage infrastructure solutions and services for data centres, LANs and intelligent buildings. Headquartered in Connecticut, USA, with global sales, technical and logistics expertise spanning 100 countries, Siemon offers a comprehensive suite of copper and optical fibre cabling systems, cabinets, racks, cable management, data centre power and cooling systems and intelligent infrastructure management solutions.

With more than 400 patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&D and the development of industry standards, underlining the company’s long-standing commitment to its customers and the industry. Siemon Interconnect Solutions (SIS) is a Siemon business unit comprised of a team of dedicated technical sales professionals supported by Siemon Labs, mechanical, electrical and signal integrity engineers committed to solving industry and customer driven interconnect challenges. Siemon provides custom network infrastructure solutions to OEMs, leading manufacturers, value-added resellers and system integrators.
For further information or supporting picture please contact:
CLEAR Communications
Susann Bladwell, PR Consultant
M: +49 (0)176 7863 4709
E: sbladwell@clearcommunictions.de

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