new to data centers and/or data center cabling who
wants to learn how it works
and installers involved
in projects with data center cabling
and supervisors involved in projects with data center
be used as preparation for the FOA CFOS/DC
Exam which covers the same basic material in this
From this self-study program you should learn:
data centers store and retrieve information for usage
data center networks are designed to maximize
cabling connects all elements of a data center
types of cabling (copper, fiber or active optical
cables -AOCs) are used in data centers
in designing and installing data center cabling.
you finish, you can take an online exam on this course to
qualify for a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion."
Data centers are the source of the
information that forms traffic on the Internet. Data
centers can be small or large, depending on the intended
usage, with a few servers and some storage or thousands of
servers and acres of storage. All data centers, no matter
what the scale, involve similar architectures -
connections to the outside world (the Internet), several
levels of switches inside the data center providing
efficient but redundant connections between servers,
storage and the routers connecting to the outside world.
This course focuses on the cabling used in data centers –
the types of cabling choices available, how to install the
cabling, test it and troubleshoot cabling problems
including some which affect data transmission. This course
is not – NOT - about how to design data centers which
involves complex issues such as equipment choices,
layouts, powering equipment, cooling the data center,
security, etc. It’s just about the cabling.
From our own analyses of data centers, we believe the
approach of traditional standard structured cabling is not
as valuable as it would be in a enterprise LAN. Data
centers are highly specialized units where modularity is
important in the design and consideration for power,
cooling, redundancy and security often are more important
than trying to force some standardized cabling design.
Data Center cabling is covered by standards: TIA-568 and
ISO-11801 through three standards, ISO 24764, CENELEC EN
50173-5 and TIA-942. Both standards cover similar
materials, offer lots of options for cabling in data
centers and more TLAs (three letter acronyms) than most
standards. In all our research into how data centers are
really built, we found little relevance to these standards
or what manufacturers of cabling were selling as data
center cabling. Our research found that the descriptions
of real data centers had little similarity with these
standards, instead using designs with descriptive names
like "leaf-spine," "top of rack" and "end of row" that are
descriptive of the architecture of the networks used but
are terms absent from standards. What that really means is
that data centers use a lot of different options for
cabling that are a result of many different floor plan
layouts, rack layouts, theories of cooling, etc. And it
seems something new comes up every month. In reality,
standards with their long life cycles that take years to
create and even longer to update, have little chance for
relevance in fast moving technologies like data centers.
Furthermore, as TIA-942 states in the introduction “Data
centers are designed to handle the requirements of large
quantities of computer and telecommunications equipment.
Therefore, telecommunications and information technology
professionals and specifiers should be involved in
the design of the data center from its inception.” This
short self-study program is designed to introduce both IT
professionals to cabling and cabling professionals to
IT/data centers based on what appears to be current
is the FOA’s procedure, we will summarize the options and
provide guidance on how the data center is generally
designed and built and not spend our time on standards
that will be changing continuously! We do however try to
keep our references up to date.
In addition to the information on data centers design and
cabling options, we include in this self-study program
information on prefab (preterminated) cabling systems and
MPO connectors related to their potential use in data
will be instructed to read the references or watch videos
and take the quiz (Test Your Knowledge) to complete the
"classroom" part of the course.
YouTube Video Lecture 38,
Data Center Cabling
The Online FOA Reference
Data Center Cabling
Learn About Prefab Cabling And MPO Connectors
Some data centers use prefab cabling systems with
array connectors. You should learn about this cabling
(preterminated) cabling used in data centers and
more or watch the FOA
YouTube video on prefab cabling.
multifiber/array connectors or watch the FOA
YouTube Video on MPO connectors and the challenges
of testing cable plants using them.
Your Knowledge - Data
Center Cabling Quiz And Case Study
you finish the assignments and case study, you can take an
online exam on this course to qualify for a "Fiber U
Certificate of Completion." The exam cost is $20US.
here to take the Fiber U Data Center Certificate of
Completion exam. Here
are detail directions if this is your first time
taking a Fiber
U Certificate of Completion exam.
This information is
provided by The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. as a
benefit to those interested in teaching, designing,
manufacturing, selling, installing or using fiber optic
communications systems or networks. It is intended to be
used as an overview and/or basic guidelines and in no
way should be considered to be complete or
comprehensive. These guidelines are strictly the opinion
of the FOA and the reader is expected to use them as a
basis for learning, as a reference and for creating
their own documentation, project specifications, etc.
Those working with fiber optics in the classroom,
laboratory or field should follow all safety rules
carefully. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of
any of this material.