SMS Case Studies

Optimizing Infrastructure: Re-imagining Floor Space for Efficient Cabling Infrastructure


Challenge: To modernize an infrastructure with an efficient solution that uses cabling best practices, meets all code requirements, and ensures a reliable, sustainable, and secure network operations environment.


An efficient, modernized cable infrastructure is an important component of seamless network operations, but an out-of-date or inefficient system can cause problems with both current and future operations.

When a federal agency’s headquarters found themselves with an outdated cabling infrastructure, they faced a potential risk of code violations. With no existing equipment room for the network component racks, this agency had resorted to using a storage room in the core of the building. This lack of dedicated equipment room space meant that heat became a problem, causing premature end of life for the customer’s network equipment. In addition, cabling was out of date and exceeded the required distance of 100 meters.


The project encompassed an entire floor in a federal agency’s building: approximately 60,000 square feet and 600 users. With no previous, dedicated equipment room for their network component racks, the networking equipment was experiencing heat problems and potential failure. With the proper cabling limit at approximately 100 meters, the SMS team determined that the entire floor was too large to have a single equipment room due to the “L” shaped nature of the building. With a design meant to ensure cabling codes and standards were met, the SMS team worked to optimize the space through dedicated north and south equipment rooms with a backbone cable running between them. The team then determined the heating and cooling requirements based on the customer’s equipment specifications and designed a proper HVAC system to ensure the correct temperature for the network equipment. After removing the existing outdated cabling and providing fire stopping seal to all conduits, SMS designed and built cable pathways and installed basket trays, cable, and work area outlets to appropriately support the new cable plant. The agency had also been installing cabling to a 10-year-old standard that required four cables per user. We used the most current standard that required only two cables per user, allowing less cable in the ceiling and under the raised floors, increasing the air flow and allowing the equipment to cool by dissipating heat more efficiently.


By using a creative design and cabling best practices for the new build-out, SMS brought the agency up to proper standards and code requirements. In addition to solving the space, heat, and excess cable challenges, SMS also created a new, set-label system with drawings and pathways identified, documented the test results for each cable installed, and provided rack elevations for network equipment planning. This forward-thinking structured cabling solution with proper documentation provides the ability to easily update and adjust to future standards and agency requirements.