Dr Thomas Wellinger of R&M gives some thoughts on edge networks

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Frequently referenced content and applications are cached on servers which are closer to less densely networked or ‘tier-two’ markets. This improves the quality of high bandwidth applications outside large urban areas, adding excellent user experience to HD video, mobile computing and cloud services. However, building an edge network is different to building a ‘traditional’ network.

Edge data centres face space constraints. Cabling from servers is often directly connected to a fibre platform in a central network cabinet. In confined sections, fibre must accommodate cable twisting, moving, adding and changing and data has to pass through cables at awkward angles without quality loss. This makes expansion and roll out of broadband networks more efficient, faster and cost effective.

Fibres are directly brought from server ports to a UHD platform. Fortunately, the latest solution can accommodate up to 50 per cent more fibre optic connections in a traditional housing. Furthermore, high port density is key to a successful roll out – traditional ‘72 ports per unit’ UHD solutions won’t suffice.

‘Edge’ or ‘access’ switches connect directly to end user devices. When choosing an edge switch, high port density and low costs per port are desirable. If there’s ample port capacity, the user can simply – and cost effectively – repatch devices themselves.

The average DC surface area currently measures 1,000 to 2,500m2, with thousands of network ports. Bad cable management may result in data transmission errors, performance issues and downtime. Automated asset management and tracking makes life easier. You’ll need a specialised solution to monitor all changes to a physical network, including switches, servers and patch panels. Systems that offer functions for mapping, managing, analysing and planning cabling and network cabinets can also include asset management, planned and unplanned changes and alarms.

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