Faster method for connecting customers in the

Faster method for connecting customers in the
White paper
Faster method for connecting customers
in the colocation data center
The increased demand for data center space is creating both opportunities and challenges for providers of
colocation space. Among these challenges is how to quickly configure and physically connect network services to
a new colocation tenant. The ability to quickly provide service to a new tenant helps colocation providers improve
their customers’ experience and by accelerating the time to establish services, while accelerating the colocation
provider’s time to revenue. Conversely, errors or delays in establishing or changing physical connections
can detract from the customer experience, delay revenue, and result in SLA (Service Level Agreement) fines.
Fortunately, CommScope provides a family of products known as the Rapid Fiber™ panel, which can help address
these issues. By using CommScope‘s Rapid Fiber panel products, data center operators can increase the agility of
their data center, allowing them to quickly respond to moves, adds, and changes in the customer areas.
Overview of the colocation data center
The colocation data center, generally speaking, consists of
multiple secure customer colocation areas, which may be larger
areas contained in a “cage,” or which may be
within a particular cabinet in a row. These
customer colocation areas are connected to
a main distribution area. This is where the
colocation facility owner’s equipment resides,
and in a TIA-942 compliant data center it
includes provisions for cross-connect. The
main distribution area(s) are then connected
to the entrance facility, where services from
multiple telecommunications providers enter
the building.
The challenge of connecting a customer
When a customer wishes to occupy space in a colocation area, it
is the facility owner’s responsibility to provide reliable and stable
network connectivity with the outside world. Usually the customer
specifies the nature of the connection to their cage or cabinet.
Should the customer choose a fiber connection, in the current
method, the process is usually as follows:
1.Determine the space required by the customer and develop
a floor plan
2.Determine the length of trunk cable assemblies needed to
connect the handoff panel in the customer area with the
MDA or meet-me room (the take-offs)
6.Route the cable assemblies to the MDA
a. If the cable assembly is the wrong length, go back
to step 2
7.Store any slack/excess cable
8.Connect the customer in the MDA
The overall timeline for this activity can be several days, with
the most critical item being the wait from ordering the panel
and cable assembly until its arrival—which could be 2–7 days
for non-stocked items.
3.Order the panel and custom-length cable assemblies
4.Upon arrival, install the fiber panel in the customer cage
5.Install the cable assemblies in the customer cage
The Rapid Fiber panel
The Rapid Fiber panel is an important innovation in the fiber optic
panel market. Serving as a key distribution point between the
electronic equipment and the main optical distribution frame, the
Rapid Fiber panel offers data center providers unmatched savings
in installation time, labor costs and performance.
The Rapid Fiber panel employs CommScope’s unique RapidReel™
cable spool to deploy dual 12-fiber 3 mm diameter cable—which
means the intrafacility cable (IFC) cable is always the right length.
Available in 100‘ increments (up to 1000‘), the multifiber cable
terminates to a multi-fiber push-on connector (MPO), which enables
a plug-and-play connection to the main distribution frame. The MPO
connector and multi-fiber cable ensure fast cable routing and easy
handling by technicians; and offers maximum space savings for high
density fiber applications.
Offering up to 48 fiber connections in one rack unit of space, the
individual panels are stackable and feature SC/UPC and LC/UPC
connector styles. In addition, such solutions incorporate flexibility,
in the form of a small (3 mm) 12f microcable. Installers can run the
microcable in a fiber raceway system or on ladder racking. In either
application, the microcable dramatically reduces cable congestion.
By replacing 12 single-fiber connectors, the MPO enables a more
compact, streamlined installation process. Its built-in pulling eye
makes it much easier for technicians to pull through the microcable
and connectors. The MPO minimizes loading issues because
technicians only have to load one cable, rather than 12, and lacing
no longer is necessary—technicians simply have to route the cable
through the fiber guide. The Rapid Fiber panel‘s combination of
microcable, RapidReel cable spooling and MPO connector technology
in a single panel not only relieves cable congestion but also simplifies
the ordering and inventory of equipment.
The panel also features CommScope’s industry-leading cable
management—providing bend radius protection, cable routing paths
and physical protection for optimal network performance.
The challenge of connecting a customer—
Rapid Fiber panel method
Let us look at how these features enable the colocation data center
provider to conduct their task differently. Compared to the steps
required to provide a connection in the current method, the Rapid
Fiber panel removes the need for several steps and shortens the
overall timeline considerably.
1RU Rapid Fiber panel in the colocation data center
Traditional solution
With Rapid Fiber panel
Determine the space required by the customer and develop a
floor plan
Determine the space required by the customer and develop a
Determine the length of the cable assembly needed to connect
the hand off panel in the customer area with the MDA
Not Required. The RapidReel spool allows the panel to handle
any connection length
Order the panel and cable assembly
Not Required. Only 1-2 Rapid Fiber panel configurations are
adequate for most data centers, meaning the operator can keep
product on hand or close by
Upon arrival, install the fiber panel in the customer cage
floor plan
Install the Rapid Fiber panel in the customer colocation area
Install the cable assembly in the customer cage
Not Required. The trunk cable is already terminated inside the
Rapid Fiber panel, eliminating a connection point.
Run the cable assembly to the MDA If the cable assembly is the
wrong length, go back to step 2
Pull as much cable as needed from the Rapid Fiber panel until it
connects with the MDA
Store any slack/excess cable
Not Required. The RapidReel spool holds all of the slack.
Connect network services to customer
Connect network services to customer
The Rapid Fiber panel solution eliminates half of the steps in the
process. It does more than just shorten the list of steps, though—it
provides a solution that dramatically enhances total value compared
to the standard method.
Total value
The total value benefits of the Rapid Fiber panel fall into two major
1. Faster turnup time
2. Reduced total costs
Faster turn-up time
at various locations and can deliver them quickly and effectively.
The colocation provider now can get the benefit of a preterminated
solution without waiting for a custom-built cable assembly. This can
improve the time to turn up service for a new customer—with the
benefit of increased revenue more than offsetting the cost of the
Rapid Fiber panel.
Reduced total costs
In addition to faster turnup times, the Rapid Fiber panel improves the
total costs of installation and operation for the data center operator.
Some of the ways it does this include:
• Slack storage: eliminating the cost of a slack storage tray and the
time required for a technician to store any cable slack
Turning up customers faster is often a critical, if not decisive,
consideration for colocation providers. Many have agreements which
specify a certain amount of time between when the customer signs
a lease agreement until the colocation provider provides power
and network connections to the customer’s equipment. This time
is usually one week or less. This means that the equipment needed
to effect these connections, including the physical layer equipment,
must be readily available.
• Installation cost: the RapidReel cable spool eliminates the need to
unwind and lay out a trunk or IFC cable. It also means only the far
end of the MPO trunk needs to be connected—less work, and less
cleaning. It is a pre-connectorized, plug-and-play solution which
eliminates the need for time-consuming splices
In the standard method, when a customer wishes to move in or
expand, the colocation provider must lay out the space which the
tenant will occupy. They must then measure or survey the distance
from that space to the main distribution area in order to determine
the length of cable assembly they will need. Then, they must order
that cable assembly. The fact that this assembly must be at (or close
to) a specific length means that is usually must be made to order.
• No delays from incorrect cable lengths: In a significant percentage
of cases, the installer will try to connect a panel only to find that the
cable assembly is the wrong length and will not work. The Rapid Fiber
panel with RapidReel cable spool is able to support a wide range of
lengths, in 100 foot (31 meter) increments. It eliminates this problem
With a Rapid Fiber panel, the colocation provider can easily keep a
very small stock of panels—usually one or two—on hand. Thanks to
the RapidReel cable spool, a small number of panels—usually a 100’
and a 200’—will be sufficient to cover the distance from a customer
cage to the nearest MDA or meet-me room. There is no wait for a
part to come in. If the colocation provider does not wish to keep
stock in hand, a number of distributors stock Rapid Fiber panels
• Reduced shipping costs: instead of a separate cable assembly and
panel, the operator is only ordering a single item
• Reduced inventory management costs: fewer items to manage in
inventory—a single Rapid Fiber panel instead of a standard panel
and multiple lengths of IFC or trunk cable
• Reduced site survey requirements: there is no need to precisely
measure the length of trunk or IFC cable required. The RapidReel
spool allows for a significant margin of error in estimating the
distance from the customer cage to the MDA.
Total value—summary
Summing all of these paints a clear picture of the value added by
the Rapid Fiber panel. Cost considerations alone make it a superior
solution. The added impact of faster customer turnup further
enhances the solution’s total value.
In the colocation data center, the old adage “time is money” rings as
true as ever. Also, data center operators continue to strive for greater
efficiency in their operations. By using a Rapid Fiber panel solution
from CommScope, data center operators can move forward on both
fronts: turn up customers faster, and reduce the costs of adding
and connecting those customers. The Rapid Fiber panel is a key
component of the agile data center—able to meet the challenges of
today and allow a quick response to changes that occur throughout
the life of the data center.
Finally, there are other less quantifiable benefits of the Rapid Fiber
panel which are not shown in the above graph:
• Access: Technician-friendly, front-facing interface ensures troublefree maintenance and fast service turn-ups.
• Space Savings—Rack Density: Compact, Low Loss MPO connector
design and multifiber cable is ideal for high density intrafacility
applications. Excess fiber is stored within unit—no additional
enclosures are required. This means more space available to
colocation customers.
For more information on CommScope’s Rapid Fiber panel solution for
colocation applications, visit:
• Space Savings—Overhead: Each Rapid Fiber panel cable is the
equivalent of 24 fiber jumpers—resulting in 70% space savings
within fiber raceway compared to 1.7 mm jumpers, and 85% space
savings within ladder racking compared to standard IFC cable.
• Performance and Reliability: Offers superior cable management
with highly reliable connectors for uninterrupted network
operation and high quality of service.
• Product re-use: when a customer chooses to discontinue service,
fiber can be retracted back in to the Rapid Fiber paneland
redeployed to provide network services to a new customer,
providing superior return on investment in a frequently changing
colocation environment.
• Standards Compliance: the Rapid Fiber panel is fully compliant with
applicable standards for data center architecture (TIA-942), and
TIA and ISO/CENELEC structured cabling standards. It also meets
demanding network and optical standards such as UL1863, NEBS,
GR-326, GR-1435, and GR-409.
Slack storage
Installation time
and cost
Shipping costs
Site survey
Cost of IFC or
trunk cable assembly
Cost of fiber
handoff panel
Traditional solution
Shipping costs
Inventory management
Site survey
Total Deployment Costs
Installation time
and cost
Total Deployment Costs
Impact of
incorrect cable
Cost of Rapid Fiber panel
Rapid Fiber panel
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Visit our website or contact your local CommScope representative for more information.
© 2017 CommScope, Inc. All rights reserved.
All trademarks identified by ® or ™ are registered trademarks or trademarks, respectively, of CommScope, Inc. This document is for planning purposes only and is not intended to modify or
supplement any specifications or warranties relating to CommScope products or services. CommScope is committed to the highest standards of business integrity and environmental sustainability,
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