Use of UTP and Optic cable in network design
Looking at the various aspects of both the UTP and optic cable, optic cable has more advantages than the twisted pair cables. However, due to economic constraints and other aspects of the network being designed, the network designer and administrator may opt to use the UTP instead of the optic cable in some parts of the network architecture instead of a purely optic cable network.
Looking into Gates network design and the basic requirements of the three units to use the network, one can use either of the two types of cables depending on the different portions of the network. Therefore, gates should not try to economize the network expenditure at the expense of the speed and ease of access of the network facilities. However, in different subsystems, different cables are used. These subsystems are commonly in six levels namely: entrance room, equipment room, backbone cabling subsystem, telecommunications subsystem, horizontal cabling subsystem and work area subsystem.
Before venturing into the type of cable suitable for each of the above named subsystem, let us review the advantages of each of the cables to be used and compare the two. Looking at the materials used in manufacture of the two, optic cable is made of glass of different refractive indices thus transmits signals at the speed of light. This makes the cable superfast. The ability to transfer the signals in optic form with minimal ionization makes the medium much immune from electrical and magnetic interference. Therefore, the cable can transmit a signal which can be retrieved at almost the same fidelity as at the transmission point. Turning to the UTP, it is made of a pair of wires mostly copper. The cable transmits the signals in form of electric pulses thus in case an external factor causes turbulence in electron distribution in the nearby surroundings of the cable, the signal under transmission is affected resulting in noise at the point of reception.
Looking at the six subsystems in a standard telecommunications network, the entrance subsystem is point of entry into the network. The cables used dictate the rate of data transfer between the network and other networks to which it is connected. For efficient communication, optic cables are used. Looking at the building whose network design is under scrutiny is the administrative block which consists of three floors on top the ground floor. The entrance subsystem is located in the ground floor to enable the underground cabling of the optic fiber. The complex interfaces required should not be a thing to make Mr. Gates to shun the use of optic cables. This is because the cable guarantees efficient and superfast data transfer across the interface.
The backbone cabling subsystem runs basically from the entrance subsystem all through the floors. The appropriate type of cable to use is the optic cable. This is mainly due to the high data handling capacity of the cable enabling fast communication within the network. The cable also enables quick access to network facilities which is ideal in an administrative building where many resources are shared and internal communication is very important.
The equipment subsystem consists of very complex devices which may store massive amounts of data. The equipment may require simultaneous multiple access hence the speed of access should not be hampered. So as to ascertain this, optic cable is the most appropriate but may also incorporate some UTP to cut down the cost of the network (Lewis, 2004). This subsystem is located in the third floor of the building so as to reduce chances of sabotage.
The telecommunications subsystem includes multiple data and voice transfer equipment which are usually telephones and fax machines. These devices do not require much high speed of data transmission hence the most appropriate choice of cable is the UTP. This closet is distributed all over the building thus if optic cable is used, the cost of the network may be too high to meet. Use of UTP is limited to a maximum speed of 100 Mbs and length of 800 meters. Examining this closet, no single cable can run a whole length of 800 meters hence the cable can be used (Lewis, 2004).
Horizontal cabling and work stations are of lower levels of data transfer. The horizontal cabling connects devices to the backbone cabling and network facilities like printers. If this network subsystem is done using optic cables, the rates of data transfer can be lower than the cable capacity thus it would be better to use UTP which have bandwidth of almost the same order. The rate at which most computers transfer data across the network is limited to a maximum of 35 Mbs thus use of UTP is sufficient enough. Also, the amount of clients in the work area is usually large making horizontal cabling using optic cable very expensive. Lastly, the work area subsystem is the most dynamic part of the network thus needs to keep simple and flexible. Optic cable is much fragile compared to the UTP thus its use reduces flexibility (Lewis, 2004).
Looking at the actual design of the administrative building, the ground floor should act as the entrance subsystem. The entry point of the cables should have an optic cables interface since the best cable to connect the building’s network with other buildings’ networks in the local area network is an optic cable. This would enable fast flow of data within the whole network. Considering the other two buildings, a similar interface must be used to ensure quick communication and data transfer.
Moving on to the first floor, this is where most of the work stations should be located. This would call for an extensive network of UTP cables enabling the workstations to access network resources. Some of the workstations may also be found in the ground floor (one section) thus the UTP cabling may extend to some parts of the first floor. The second floor houses most of the telecommunications subsystem. This would mean that a combination of both the UTP and optic cables must be used to reduce the total cost while maintaining speed of data transfer.
The second floor houses more of equipment subsystem. This closet consists of massive storage equipment requiring fast communication with the other network devices. This means that optic cables must be used to ensure speed in the network. Since some computers must be used to monitor the transfer rate, a small section of UTP cable may be used.
Basically, workstations are found in all floors thus horizontal cabling using UTP should be in every floor. This would enhance communication within the building while maintaining low costs of the network architecture.
Lewis M. 2004. Network design and cabling. Retrieved from http://www.pmfst.hr/~lada/rm/dodatak-b.pdf
NB: all the horizontal cabling is done using UTP. Coaxial cable is used between servers and the clients to ensure speed but minimize cost.
Optic cable runs vertically across the floors and feed the data to the routers.
Phone network is done separately using UTP cables and an intercom