Report: High performance cabling is now widely recognized as a good investment

June 15, 2005 - SYSTIMAX Solutions survey of information technology professionals shows the important role of connectivity within the network.

Jun 15th, 2005

High performance cabling is now widely recognized as a good investment, according to a SYSTIMAX Solutions survey of information technology professionals.

The global research study was conducted among 2,165 information technology professionals.

SYSTIMAX Solutions reps say the research report, entitled "Meeting the Network Connectivity Challenge," includes responses from IT professionals from 48 countries and shows the important role of connectivity within the network. They say the fact that high performance cabling is now widely recognized as a good investment is illustrated by the finding that, in addition to 56% of respondents who would install Category 6 cabling, 16% would opt for the new Augmented Category 6 (Category 6A) cabling. This suggests rapid acceptance of UTP cabling able to support 10 Gbits/sec even though the standards for this type of cabling are still in development, they say.

"The research findings show that managers worldwide are willing to adopt new cabling technology at an early stage to ensure they have the bandwidth they need," says Fiona Nolan, global marketing director of SYSTIMAX Solutions. "Even though development of the new 10 Gbits/sec Augmented Category 6 standard has just started, one sixth of the network managers who responded indicated that they are ready to install 10 Gbits/sec copper cabling now."

"IT professionals have learned by experience with existing networks that they must have the best connectivity to realize the full potential of network-intensive applications," Nolan continues. "As gigabit desktop connections become the norm and 10 Gbits/sec is seen as the coming standard, managers now view high quality cabling as an excellent investment rather than just a necessary cost."

At the other end of the connectivity performance scale, findings suggest that Category 5e cabling is heading for obsolescence with only 17% of respondents selecting this option for a new installation.

Nolan says the research confirms industry expectations that the migration to 10 Gbits/sec is likely to begin in the data center and move on to desktop connections. Forty five percent of respondents expect to have 10-Gbit Ethernet in their data center horizontal (server connections) within two years. Ten percent have already implemented it in their backbone (switch-to-switch connections) and a further 54% anticipate they will do so within two years.

Outside the data center, most respondents expect to be running primarily 1 Gbits/sec (53%) or 10 Gbits/sec (30%) over their horizontal cabling within five years. In the same time frame, 61% expect to be running 10 Gbit/sec and 26% expect to need 40 Gbits/sec in network backbones.

In the three years since the last SYSTIMAX Solutions report on the global status and direction of LAN connectivity, there has been rapid growth in acceptance of laser optimized multimode fiber as an alternative to traditional multimode and singlemode fiber. The latest findings show that 28% of respondents would install it now compared with only 4% who had done so at the time of a similar SYSTIMAX Solutions survey in 2002.

The research also shows that wireless networking is now widely adopted with 78% of respondents either using it now or intending to use it in new installations. Eighty one percent of respondents see wireless technology as an overlay or extension to their cabling infrastructure compared with just 14% who see it as a replacement for a cabling infrastructure.

Nolan says that while the need for high performance connectivity is widely accepted, the research also found that IT professionals generally lack awareness of advanced cable management solutions and their benefits. Although technical performance and the total lifecycle cost of solutions were top priorities most often mentioned by respondents, half of them had not considered using intelligent patching to help manage their networks.

Nolan says education about and the subsequent deployment of intelligent infrastructure management could help IT professionals achieve their performance objectives while improving flexibility, deployment of services and management of moves, adds and changes in the network. The SYSTIMAX Solutions Survey shows that past education on the benefits of deployment of high performance cabling is well understood, as shown by the acceptance of new technologies, such as Category 6A, even prior to the publication of standards.

IT professionals in 48 countries were invited to participate in the survey via a Web portal during March and April 2005. Contributors to the research could view the questions in any of 13 languages. The 2,165 IT and network managers who completed questionnaires were a representative sample of SYSTIMAX Solutions and non-SYSTIMAX Solutions customers.

SYSTIMAX Solutions, a CommScope company, is based in Richardson, TX. For more information visit www.systimax.com.


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