Brief outlines risks of 26-AWG data center cabling

Aug. 9, 2011
One-page paper from Siemon has a simple message: There are long-term risks associated with short-length data center cabling systems.

A one-page brief written by Siemon highlights three potential risks of deploying twisted-pair cabling systems with 26-AWG conductors in data center environments. The brief acknowledges that increasing numbers of ports in data centers present the following, and other, challenges for data center managers: managing air flow for optimum thermal performance; maintaining proper pathway-fill requirements; and supporting advanced applications such as 10GBase-T and PoE Plus.

"Unfortunately," it then reads, "a recent trend in the industry is to respond to these challenges by deploying twisted-pair cables constructed from 26-AWG conductors over a restricted-length channel topology. The trend is based on the idea that these cables' reduced outside jacket diameter will help alleviate thermal and pathway-fill issues." Siemon then points out that cables with 26-AWG conductors do not comply with any TIA or ISO/IEC standard for horizontal cable.

The brief then names and describes the following risks associated with the use of this cabling-system setup in data centers.

  1. Support of future applications is unknown.
  2. Power delivery applications generate excess heat (and 26-AWG cables are at risk of too much temperature rise).
  3. Reduced flexibility for future growth.

There are other and better ways, the company says, to manage airflow and maintain proper pathway fill in data centers. Siemon's message is clear: There are long-term risks associated with this type of short-run cabling.

You can download the one-page brief here.

You can read the Wikipedia entry on AWG here.

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