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PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX

Direct Connect cable architecture?

Hello,

Recently we had a project to install a new security system and since the devices were all IP, we decided to go with direct connect to the switch.

After finishing the project, we saw how much cleaner and space saving this technique was. And started to wonder if it would be worth for us to implement this across the entire building.

We only have 1 building with 1 full first floor and half a second floor. The MDF is on the second floor all the way on the front of the building and the farthest distance that we have to cover would be abound 400ft. I know it violates standards, but those machines are working just fine (plus we are planning to build an IDF somewhere in the middle) so it would be a temporary thing.

90% of the office space only requires 1 data port and 1 digital port (this is just a cat5 run that connects to the phone system). The other exception is some analog phone lines from the same phone system to a few people that insist on having a fax machine in their office.

Right now, we have the phone system patch panel ports connecting to other patch panel ports and other ports connecting to switches. It is a huge orgy/incest of interconnections, all in the same rack.

I think direct connect could help fix our mess and give us more room in the rack, as well as simplifying things a bit. I dont see scalability as a problem since for every new port we add we still need to run the cables from the MDF to whatever location and then patch the port.

Anyone care to provide some pros and cons that i might have missed? Cabling architecture is not something i am very familiar with.

Thanks.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
When I wired up our main office back in 2005/2006 this is what I did. I had 3 boxes of cable that I used to pull from. I used an alternate color jacket for the phone. Each drop got 1 or 2 data and 1 phone. Each drop utilized a 4 port keystone plate and a blank simply covered the 1-2 unused ports. This allows me to add more ports as needed but to date I haven't needed to do this.

In the server room, the data lines come down in to two 12 or 16 port keystone plates. This lets me fully disconnect everything and have the in-place wiring stay where it is. From the jacks in the server room, I have a 48-port patch panel that routes to tied-in lines inside the rack for servers and routes down and out of the rack to the jacks on the wall for the desktops. This lets me further disconnect the switches from the patch panel (and yes everything is labeled).

For the patch panel to switches, I used to use custom built cables but switched to short 3-foot pre-made cables. I don't have cable management in the rack so I have the cables tie supported to the top of the rack so gravity doesn't do it's thing.

The voice cables go into a wall-mounted patch panel and from there, 7-foot cables route those from that panel straight into a PoE switch. The wall-mounted patch panel was an after-thought compared to the double gang boxes and keystone jacks I used to make up the data termination in the server room. If I had to do it over, you better believe I'd do a patch panel there.

At home, my cabling in the rack routes inside channels and goes right from the switch to the devices in the rack. I can't really see any major difference between the two. I have patch panels and cable management brackets at home but just don't use them. I can tell you, I wouldn't like having structured cabling to desktops or such routed all the way to the switch. Without slack somewhere, if things need to move, you run into issues or lines reaching the new location. With a termination point you just run new jumpers if needed.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to PToN
my only suggestion is that you label everything and double check the lablel/what it connects to. as long as you have good documentation, getting it cleaned up and live shouldn't be a problem.

do your best to keep everything color coded.

data- blue voice- white...or whatever colors you like.

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
kudos:1
reply to PToN
I think direct connecting CAT5 is extremely cheesy, along the same lines as screwing a coax wallplate directly to the wall without a box. Pics of the current setup would be nice because I can't picture how this configuration would be as messy as you say it is unless it just wasn't installed/maintained correctly.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
wait, i think i mis-understood the original post.

are we talking a drop straight into a switch and bypassing a patch panel?

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
That's the way I read it. It depends on how it's done as to whether I like that setup or not.


PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX
reply to PToN
I'll post some pics later this week.

And yes, we are talking about bypassing the patch panel.


Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN
said by PToN:

I'll post some pics later this week.

And yes, we are talking about bypassing the patch panel.

Sure it looks good, now, but what happens when it has to be worked on for one reason or another? Is there sufficient service loop on both ends in case the ends need to be re-terminated? I would think termination time would be through the roof. It isn't something I'd want to work on.
--
“Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” ¯ Robert A. Heinlein

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
reply to PToN
Easy answer: cabling in the wall ALWAYS terminates to a jack. Either wall or patch panel.

tomdlgns
Premium
join:2003-03-21
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to PToN
said by PToN:

I'll post some pics later this week.

And yes, we are talking about bypassing the patch panel.

i wouldn't bypass the patch panel.

of course there are times when you have no choice, but this doesn't sound like one of them.


exocet_cm
Free at last, free at last
Premium
join:2003-03-23
New Orleans, LA
kudos:3

1 edit
reply to PToN
I misunderstood your original post.

No, device TO/FROM wall plate (jack) TO/FROM punch down panel TO/FROM switch. Don't direct connect things. It'll be a PITA in the future.

If you do your punch down panels correctly it shouldn't cause problems and won't look like sh*t.
--
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..." - T.S Eliot
"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Publilius Syrus
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