It’s a Colorful World: From the Data Center to the Outlet

Since the beginning of mankind, color has always been the easiest way to identify, recognize and classify just about anything, and it has always been an integral part of our industry—from the colors of individual fibers and copper conductors, to the outer jacket of a cable and modular jacks.

Let’s take a look at how color today is improving performance, manageability and visibility from the data center to the outlet.

Erika Violet and Her Twin Sister Heather


By now you may have heard about or seen the new standard color for OM4 fiber—Erika Violet. Also known as Heather Violet in the UK, this bright pinkish color being used for OM4 cable, adapters and connectors isn’t just an attempt to jazz up the data center.

When OM4 fiber was first approved in 2009, it remained the same color as its OM3 predecessor—aqua. When technicians see the same color cables and connectors, they often assume they are the same type. To truly differentiate, their only choice is to follow the cable back and carefully examine the tiny (sometimes illegible) cable legend or check their documentation.

With today’s optical loss budgets being more of a concern than ever as we prepare for 40G duplex, using an OM3 channel when you meant to use OM4 can push your loss over the limit and cause loss of bandwidth on fiber links.

With Belden OM4 Erika Violet cable, adapters and connectors now prominently displayed in pathways and at fiber panels, mistakenly plugging in the wrong fiber type is virtually impossible.

An Easier Way to Segregate and Manage

Color doesn’t just help ensure performance. For decades, municipalities and jurisdictions having authority (JHAs) have specified unique cable colors for fire alarm and other life safety systems. With so many different systems now converging onto a single IP-based infrastructure and the same type of cabling, color has become more important than ever.


In telecommunication spaces, segregating systems using color eases management at patch panels for IT staff. At the outlet, color can help ensure that the right equipment is plugged into the right jack. This is especially important for critical systems that support life and safety. TIA-1179 healthcare standards even recommend colored cables to segregate and identify various healthcare systems.

St. Francis Hospital in Columbus , Georgia recently took advantage of the 16 different color varieties available for Belden cable and modular jacks installed copper patch panels and workstation outlets to segregate healthcare systems and medical office tenants in their new 400,000 square foot expansion.

Read the St. Francis Hospital Case Study

And Provide Better Visibility Too

Color also determines how light is reflected, which is why many data centers are going with lighter cabinets and enclosures such as Belden’s X Series enclosures available in central office white and titanium FiberExpress Ultra HD housing.

With gray-white reflecting up to 80% of light and black only reflecting 5%, black cabinets and enclosures can make it more difficult for technicians to see. Lighter cabinets and enclosures reduce the need for more lighting and they don’t absorb as much heat. This has the potential to reduce lighting energy consumption and help keep equipment cool.

So whether you want to ensure that OM3 and OM4 fiber type are not inadvertently mixed, segregate various systems for easier management or improve visibility, don’t discount color when designing your data center and network infrastructure.


DCS Award Nomination for FX Brilliance Connectors

PrintThe Data Centre Solution Awards were established to honor the achievements of end users, manufacturers and suppliers in the Data Center sector. Now in their fourth year, they are seen as a recognition of excellence.

I am pleased to see that one of our products, the Belden FiberExpress Brilliance Universal Connector, has been selected as a finalist in the Data Center Cabling Product of the Year category.  And it is easy to see why: brilliant in design and universal in implementation, FiberExpress Brilliance Universal no-epoxy, no-polish, no-crimp field-installable connectors make fiber field termination faster, easier and better.  Thanks to its industry-leading design, it only takes three simple steps to terminate a connector.

Naturally, we are proud to be nominated – and would be delighted to receive your support – and your vote.  Simply go here to cast your vote. You can cast your vote until 1 May – so there is still plenty of time.

And click here if you want to learn more about Belden FiberExpress Brilliance Universal Connectors.

FX Universal Connectors

Fiber Channel Testing: With or Without the Patch Cords?

Discussions surrounding whether or not to test a fiber channel with the patch cords have been unclear. The answer to this long-standing question is “it depends.” Let’s take a closer a look.

First Check the Specfiber-testing

In reality, the main deciding factor for whether to test the channel with the patch cords included or to just test the permanent link depends on the specification provided by the end user or their consultant. If the spec calls for it, you need to include them. It’s that simple.

Then Consider the Facts

If after checking the spec the question still remains as to whether or not patch cords should be included in channel testing, consider the fact that patch cords are factory terminated and offer a lower risk of defect and errors. Installation of the permanent link typically has much more impact on the performance and insertion loss of the channel.

Sometimes it is also not logistically feasible to test the channel with the patch cords because they are often not in place during initial testing, before active equipment is installed and up and running. They are also regularly moved or changed during reconfigurations without necessarily re-testing the channel.

Know What Can Go Wrong

While most should not have to worry about testing the channel with the patch cords (unless it’s specified), the fact remains that sometimes things can go wrong. Fiber patch cords can have dirty end faces or they could be damaged—especially since they are a moveable component.

Read more »

Big Data Brings Challenges, Driving Pre-Term Solutions and New Topologies

Within the last minute there were 204 million emails sent, 20 million photos viewed, 100 thousand Tweets, 277 thousand Facebook logins and more than 2 million Google searches. With those statistics it’s no wonder that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone. And all of this data—whether text, audio, video, click streams, log files or sensor data—is what is referred to as “big data.”

Belden Solutions - Big Data Challenges

According to a recent Gartner study, 42% of IT leaders are investing in big data projects, or plan to do so this year. While the analysis of big data presents a host of opportunities, from increased operational efficiency to new revenue streams, the Data Center is responsible for carrying this additional load—and a light load it is not! As demand for instantaneous data (anytime, anywhere and from any device) continues to grow, the Data Center must adapt—this is the new normal. Here are a few Data Center challenges driving the need for advanced cabling topologies and pre-terminated cabling solutions specifically.

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