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Using a Universal Connectivity Grid for More Flexible and Cost-Efficient Cabling

Posted by James Donovan on 3 May 2017 Connect with James on LinkedIn Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

How to enable cost-efficient cabling

In an increasingly connected workplace, the architecture of today’s telecommunications cabling is quickly evolving. Networks designed to support a handful of workstation-based applications must now support a litany of distributed devices, which may include Wi-Fi, security, access control, space and energy management, and lighting.

IT and Facilities managers must consider new strategies for creating a cabling infrastructure that is flexible, robust and cost efficient. One of the most promising approaches involves the use of the Universal Connectivity Grid (UCG) based on the zone cabling concept.

Using a Universal Connectivity Grid for More Flexible and Cost-Efficient Cabling

What is a Universal Connectivity Grid?

UCG is an evolved approach to horizontal zone cabling— dividing the usable floor space into a grid of evenly sized service areas, or cells. Horizontal cabling winds its way from the telecommunications room (TR) to a consolidation point located within each cell. The consolidation point supports the various system devices within its cell.

Once in place, the infrastructure provides a flexible pipeline that can handle changes, growth and upgrades cost-effectively and well into the future.

The figure shows the use of a consolidation point to provide connectivity to each cell in the grid.

Tips for success

  • Consolidation points should be at least 15 meters (50 feet) from the Telecommunications Room and sized based on the number of ports needed, the number of supported endpoint devices per UCG cell, as well as an additional 20 to 25 percent for future capacity needs.
  • Uniform recommended UCG cell size is 60’ x 60’. Where Wi-Fi is the primary access method, or in high-density user areas, consider using smaller 40’ x 40’ cells with 20-meter zone cords.
  • Horizontal cabling is recommended to be Category 6A as standard.
  • When deciding which grid or planning approach to use, consider the following:
  • Cabling for large meeting areas and open transitional spaces—such as lobbies and waiting areas—should adhere to the UCG grid for all ceiling connectivity
  • Cabling for open-office spaces can use the grid for ceiling connectivity or workstation cabling
  • Small conference rooms may utilize the nearest consolidation point or be treated as individual cells depending on size and overall layout.

To Learn More

Find more detailed information on the Universal Connectivity Grid, and how you can put it to work for you with the SP7700 Cabling for Intelligent Buildings course.