Markets: Cable Management
When you’re updating your campus’s infrastructure, it can be difficult to know how to plan. It’s no secret that technology is ever-changing — and that it’s changing at a rate that can be difficult to keep up with. It’s as though as soon as you incorporate cutting-edge technology, it’s outdated. There’s no way to know exactly what the future digital landscape will look like, and that can be frustrating.
The only way to effectively plan for the future is to build something flexible enough to handle whatever future changes come. You need something that will work today but will also allow enough malleability to adjust for future needs.
The long-term effectiveness of a flexible network will depend on the campus’s IT infrastructure having three key characteristics: scalability, maintainability and security.
Scalability, or a network’s ability to handle growing amounts of work, is one of the most critical requirements of a future-focused network. Scalability is the aspect most dependent on the physical infrastructure. For example, incorporating 5G would require running new fibers to existing data centers. If physical space is limited, or inaccessible, upgrading can be a near-impossible task. Even with plenty of space, tearing up existing work to add new pathways can be costly and disruptive. A flexible campus will have a plan in place for future pathways, like a segmented conduit that already has space for futurization.
No matter how well-planned, most networks will experience faults and failures at some point. Maintainability is the ease with which these performance issues can be addressed and has more to do with the infrastructure software than with the hardware. Any infrastructure should have regular maintenance checks to prevent small issues from growing into bigger ones. Regular, scheduled check-ups will help ensure a network’s maintainability.
Security, the ability to ensure that the network cannot be compromised, is one of the most difficult aspects to address. Security requires that the network’s software address issues of confidentiality and integrity, with an eye to any future hacks or other compromises that do not yet exist. It also requires that the network’s hardware be inaccessible. Creating an infrastructure that’s segmented, with security zones built into each segment, is one of the best ways to address security. If one segment is compromised, it will be easier to contain the security violation within that one segment. This segmentation may require multiple cables to be run within one conduit in order to maximize space, and knowing your options for conduit optimization will be key.
Technology-equipped campuses require planning and foresight to be effective — and to ensure you aren’t rebuilding every two years. Having an infrastructure in place that’s both reliable and agile is the only way to plan for the future.
To see an example of a future-minded project, take a look at this University of Iowa case study.