A new technical article from Molex Premise Networks is entitled Consolidation Point Architectures, and explains how "the need to deliver more user-friendly cabling networks has led to a change in the infrastructure model for structured cabling systems."
As explained by the company, "Until recently the fixed portion of a cabling system -- the sub-system installed by a cabling contractor and known as a ‘basic link’ -- consisted of a patch panel, up to 90m of horizontal cable and a work area outlet. The link is configured for active equipment connection by the addition of patch cords and work area cords to form a ‘channel’. The channel may also require a ‘system-side panel’ or cross-connect...This system model is changing. There has always been, within the relevant standards, an option to have a connection point within the horizontal cable segment...It is this additional connection which has been developed into what will be called a consolidation point...The basic link definition is being removed from the standards to be replaced by a new term the ‘permanent link.’"
As defined by the technical paper, "A consolidation point (CP) is a piece of connecting hardware allowing interconnection between the permanently installed horizontal cables extending from the floor distributor (patch panel) and the movable horizontal cables extending to the telecommunications outlets (TOs)." The white paper examines some of the issues involved with this new architecture and provides guidance on design and testing of such systems to facilitate successful implementation.
The paper notes, "A CP should not be used as an active equipment or user interface. CPs usually take the form of an enclosure with either an IDC-to-RJ45 connection for each communications channel, or incoming and out-going IDC connections. Functionally, a CP provides a convenient means of rearranging horizontal cabling in open office environments, to connect between fixed cabling and movable furniture system layouts, for example."
Why, ultimately, is a CP-based infrastructure so useful?
As explained by Molex, "CP based architectures offer a number of advantages. They provide an easily replaceable work area cable, which lessens the on-going cost of replacement due to damage. They can decrease work area cabling installation time. They also include a portion of the cabling infrastructure which is permanent and re-useable, and which can be reconfigured quickly with minimum of disruption."
View/download the technical paper here.