Don’t Leave Guests in the Cold: How to Meet Increasing Network Demands

Stay Informed

At one point or another, we’ve all had the unfortunate experience of someone running the hot water tap during our shower. Imagine that same running shower competing with three or four toilets, sinks, washing machines and spigots. That is essentially what we put our networks through today — whenever demand exceeds supply, someone gets left in the cold.  

The network of connected things isn’t shrinking by any means. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, security systems, building controls and even lighting systems all operate over limited networks. Although servers are capable of handling this large demand by load balancing, which determines what applications should be prioritized over others, networks slow down in much the same way as shower water becomes cold.

Not only are more devices demanding data, but with a greater frequency they’re demanding Power over Ethernet (PoE). If existing cabling infrastructure isn’t adequate for the power demands, cabling can overheat, degrading signal quality leading to outages. Overheating can also reduce the cable’s lifespan.

To meet this growing demand, there are a few steps you can take to prepare your facility.

1. Upgrade Wireless Access Points

The first step to increase the flow of network traffic is to ensure adequate access. Wireless Access Points (WAPs) can support three times more maximum capacity by switching from 802.11n to 802.11ac.

The next standard in WiFi, 802.11ax, is expected to be available for enterprise solutions in 2019 with performance expectations around 10 GBps. In the meantime, here are a few additional considerations for WiFi:

  • Connect powered users at desks to the cabled infrastructure (LAN).
  • Leave ample headroom for HD streaming, guests, video conferencing and large file transfers. If 2x2 MIMO supports 200 clients and 3x3 MIMO supports 300 clients, consider 100 and 150 respectively.
  • Keep unnecessary traffic to a minimum in business environments by blocking access to gaming sites, streaming radio or video and any other entertainment content that isn’t relevant.
  • Add even more network capacity with WAPs that feature dual processors and dual links for aggregating 2GBps uplinks.

2. Upgrade Cabling Infrastructure 

Wireless needs wires, so once WiFi is up-to-date, make sure wired infrastructure (including switches and cabling) is equipped. Category 6A cabling delivers the cleanest signal up to 10 GBps. 6A engineering, including twist, insulation, wire gauge and segregation of pairs, limits crosstalk and dissipates heat. These characteristics make it an ideal choice for high-speed Ethernet and PoE applications.

To optimize wired infrastructure, consider the following:

  • Category 6A provides ample capacity for 10GBase-T and should be your go-to cabling to support WiFi, HDBase-T, high-speed applications, high-power PoE and LAN aggregation.
  • 6A’s outstanding crosstalk performance and capacity improve the speed and stability of networks, which is why it is the standard for healthcare facilities (TIA-1179-A).
  • For high-power PoE (60W+) look for an LP 0.5A rating on your Category cabling. This means the cable is rated 75º C for a maximum bundle size of 192 cables.
  • If your Category 6 or 6A isn’t LP-rated but is 23-gauge or greater, it still may qualify for high-power PoE applications. Check with the manufacturer to determine capabilities.

Maintain and Increase Efficiency for Continued Success

The expansion of enterprise network digital devices shows no sign of slowing down. As the resulting need for greater data capacity increases, an enterprise facility’s ability to provide the appropriate support is more important than ever before.

For the foreseeable future, Category 6A cabling is the best choice for supporting network infrastructure and ensures an enterprise organization can not only maintain, but increase its network efficiency. Implementing Category 6A solutions can help your facility avoid the dreaded “cold shower” of slow downloads, buffering video, dropped connections and network outages.

Contact a local WESCO representative to learn more about what Category 6A can do to improve network performance in your facility.