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Pre-terminated Copper Trunk Cables Selection Guide

For data center and enterprise deployments, pre-terminated copper trunk cable is a wonderful choice to achieve simple and quick installation. It can fit most patch panel port densities and improve better airflow and cable management. With the right upfront planning and coordination, these copper trunk cables can offer major benefits over terminating twisted-pair cables in the field. 

Pre-terminated copper trunk cable assemblies are an ideal solution for data center infrastructures and backbone applications where cable distances are reasonably predictable and can be easily determined. They play an important role in reducing installation time and cost, helping you deploy a reliable, easy-to-use copper trunking system. So, how to choose the most appropriate Ethernet cable for your network? This article will take you to explore the pre-terminated copper trunk cable.

What Is Pre-terminated Copper Trunk Cable?
Pre-terminated copper trunk cable is a kind of cable which has gone through the same procedures with other cables. But their connectors have already been terminated, properly polished, and the entire cable assembly tested on either both or one end in the factory. Copper trunk cables are typically comprised of bundles of 6, 8, or 12. Since they are bundled together, there is no need to worry about the cable mess. Pre-terminated copper trunk cables provide a quick “plug-and-play” solution for links between switches, servers, patch panels and zone distribution areas in the data center.

Advantages of Pre-terminated Copper Trunk Cable

  • Increase the speed of deployment
    Compared to field terminations, pre-terminated cabling can reduce installation time by up to 75 percent.
  • Improve cable management
    Pre-terminated solutions are ideal for data centers, which are designed with consistent distances between cabinets and rows.
  • Remove the need for transmission performance testing
    For pre-terminated copper trunk cable, the transmission testing is performed by the manufacturer before shipment.
  • Avoid time-wasting rework
    Pre-terminated copper trunk cables are terminated in the factory, and many of them are provided in a cassette format. This format allows installers to “plug and play” multiple connections with one cassette, which reduce installation time obviously.

Which Types & Fire Ratings of Materials?
Riser vs. Plenum
When selecting pre-terminated copper trunk cable assemblies, the first and important step is to select the types and fire ratings of materials of the assemblies. A right selection of this parameter can help minimize danger in the event of a fire. In general, you should consider whether to choose riser-rated cable or plenum-rated cable. For most data center today, riser environment is normal, where airflow is not a consideration. But for plenum spaces which do facilitate air circulations, including drop ceilings and raised floors, will generally require plenum-rated cable. Thus, consult the related departments before deciding on the type of cable for your network applications.

What Termination Type Do You Need?
To choose the right termination type based on the layout of the data center or telecommunications room, and the design philosophy employed is another important step when selecting copper trunk cable assemblies. The accessibility of the active equipment including servers, switches, etc. and the proper patching solution should be considered during selection.

  • Jack to Jack
    This termination type is typically used in cabinet-to-cabinet permanent link trunk. In general, it is installed into empty patch panels on both ends in common interconnect and cross-connect 
  • Jack to Plug
    Typically used for in-cabinet or cabinet-to-cabinet equipment cord harnesses, the jack-to-plug type is installed into the patch panels on one end and switch ports on the other end for switch port replication applications, eliminating one cross-connect point by having the cable plugged directly into the active equipment.
  • Plug to Plug
    Typically used to make a direct connection between active equipment, e.g. server to switch, eliminating cross-connect capabilities. It can also be used in an open-space work area as a bundled patch cord group.
  • Jack to Open
    Jack-to-open configuration is used in similar applications as the jack to jack. However, one end of it is “open”, which means that one end should be cut to length and field-terminated to a target termination place, such as 110-style panel, patch panel or wall plate. Field testing of the drops is necessary after the cables have been terminated in this case.
  • Cassette to Cassette
    Typically used in cabinet-to-cabinet permanent link trunks, the cassette-to-cassette type is installed into patch panels on both ends in common interconnect and
    cross-connect architectures, with cassette enabling quick installation into panels.
  • Cassette to Plugs
    Similar configuration as the cassette-to-plug type, but with cassette on one end and modular plugs on the other end. Typically used for in-cabinet or cabinet-to-cabinet equipment cord harnesses, it is installed into patch panels on one end and switch ports on the other for switch port replication applications, enabling quick installation and removal of modular plugs into switch ports.

Measuring For Proper Length
For pre-terminated copper trunk cable assemblies, the length is a very important parameter to be ordered which help users to achieve the best performance. The following picture illustrates how to calculate a trunk cable length in a Data Center environment, but similar dimensions would be considered when using a copper or fiber trunk in a backbone/riser application.

Trunk Cable Length = (A1+A2+A3) + X + (B1+B2+B3) where:
X —Horizontal Distance
A1 —Vertical Distance (side A)
A2 —Cable Slack within the cabinet (side A)
A3 —Cable Radius transitioning out of the floor (side A)
B1 —Vertical Distance (side B)
B2 —Cable Slack within the cabinet (side B)
B3 —Cable Radius transitioning out of the floor (side B)

Selecting The Proper Breakout Length
Breakout length refers to the dimension from the end of the braided sleeve to connectors at the end of the cables. This dimension is part of the overall length, not in addition to the length measurement. The primary consideration for breakout length is to have flexibility to route the cables as needed, but not so much "uncovered" cable that cable management becomes difficult.

In most cases, a 36-inch breakout length is sufficient. With this dimension, the trunk remains in the vertical manager and the individual ables can route through the vertical duct fingers and still reach across the 19-inch rack to the farthest port.

Applications outside of a rack or cabinet may require the flexibility of having the connectors spread out farther apart, and in turn a longer breakout length (e.g., 48 inches or more). For manufacturing reasons, the shortest breakout length allowed for Leviton trunks is 12 inches.

Summary
Pre-terminated copper trunk cable assemblies are an ideal solution for data center infrastructures and backbone applications where cable distances are reasonably predictable and can be easily determined. They play an important role in reducing installation time and cost, helping you deploy a reliable, easy-to-use copper trunking system.
Pre-Terminated copper trunk cable assemblies are designed to improve efficiency and reduce labor cost and waste in large infrastructures with high-density cross-connection and patching systems. Of course, the prerequisite for these benefits is to select the most proper copper trunk assemblies for your copper network. Heyoptics can offer you a wide selection of pre-terminated trunk cables, for more information please contact sales@heyoptics.ca.

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