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Communication Room Design

Above all when looking at Communication Room Design the space required needs to take into consideration many elements. To begin with the  current requirements and expected overall requirements should the tenant space have the ability to add additional data outlets in the future.
ANSI/TIA-569-D provides the outline for these spaces and the allowances that best practice should allow for.

Communication Room Design Sizes

Generally the communications room should be built to provide enough space and cabinets for the largest amount of expected data outlets that the communications room will service. For example if the tenant space could potentially have 500 employees and 1200 data outlets the space should be built for that allocation. Even if 400 staff and only 1000 outlets are only required to first be installed.

As an outline of size against number of data outlets in the building the following guidelines apply:

Number of Data Outlets Recommended overall Floor Area Representative Dimensions
 <100 9sqm    /    100sqft 3m x 3m
100-200 13.5sqm    /    150sqft 3m x 4.5m
200-800 36sqm    /    400sqft 6m x 6m
800-1600 72sqm    /    800sqft 6m x 12m
1600-2400 108sqm    /    1200sqft 9m x 12m

Note: future requirements to be estimated for room size allowance

General Requirements for Communication Room Design

The following general considerations for communication room design allow the room functional use, the ability to take and remove equipment and the flexibility of mounting equipment

  1. Only equipment relevant to the communications room should be present in the room. Furthermore no services for the rest of the tenant space should pass through the communications room
  2. Ceiling height should be a minimum of 2400mm with no obstructions. Hence 3000m minimum is recommended to allow for overhead containment
  3. Also overhead containment should have a minimum of 200mm clearance from the finished ceiling
  4. Floor consideration (solid, tile) should be designed for the expected current and future floor loadings
  5. Access doors should be a minimum of 900m wide and 2000m high. In addition the door should hinge outwards. Furthermore a double door 1800 wide and 2300mm high is recommended if large equipment is anticipated
  6. No external windows are recommended
  7. Allowance of 19mm fire retardant painted plywood to cover at least one communication room wall.
  8. Fire protection as per main building plan and code to apply

Mechanical and Electrical Requirements

  • Lighting should be a minimum of 500 lux in horizontal plane and 200 lux in vertical plane. (For this purpose measured 1m above finished floor level)
  • Minimum of 2 dedicated un-switched power sockets on a dedicated circuit. Furthermore separate to the rest of the building sockets
  • A dedicated cleaners socket should be installed. For this reason to avoid the use of the cabinet power sockets
  • Temperature range must be 18-27 Celsius (64-81F)
  • Minimum dew point must be 5.5 Celsius (42F)
  • Maximum dew point must be 15 Celsius (59F)
  • Maximum relative humidity must be 60%
  • The temperature and humidity are as the ASHRAE Class B standards

Data Cabinet Requirements

Data Cabinet Requirements: What is the standard rack size?

Generally server racks are typically stated in millimetres for width and depth and U Rack space for height. In fact a “U” is 1.75” or 44.45mm in height.  In addition it is the height of a standard patch panel or switch within a cabinet.

Therefore the height of a 42u cabinets is 42 slots for mounting and the outer casing of the cabinet. The height of a 42u cabinet is typically 2070mm in height overall

  • A maximum cabinet height of 2100mm is recommended for installing and accessing top racked equipment
  • Cabinets should be planned for future and present equipment to be installed. Generally depth is the main consideration and a minimum of 150mm space in addition should be allowed for over the deepest equipment to be installed
  • Cabinets should have front and rear rails and be recessed a minimum of 100mm. Hence to allow for cable management and patching
  • PDU (power distribution units) should be installed in all cabinets containing active equipment. Furthermore they should not be switched to avoid accidental switch off
  • Cabinet clearances should be as follows
  • 1000mm clearance at the front of the rack (1200mm preferred)
  • 600mm clearance at the rear of the rack (1000mm preferred)
  • Cabinet feet can either be solid feet or wheels. In addition wheels must be lockable if installed

Wall mounted data cabinet sizes

In some cases space or requirements will results in only a wall mounted cabinet being required for the main cabling termination area or in the sub cabinet locations

These cabinets are limited for future expansion. However they can be utilised if lack of space leads to the requirements of these cabinets

The maximum depth of these cabinets is usually 600mm. Subsequently this limits how a server can be fitted or accommodated.

They typically range from 6u (365mm high) to 21u (1010mm high)

Euro Class Data Cabling

Specifically the requirements for building structured cabling installations will apply in the communication room environment also.

In addition a further article on the requirements of Euroclass cabling can be found HERE  BS 6701:2016+A1:2017

This is the British Standard associated with cabling and telecommunications equipment. Hence it creates a link from UK Specific electrical installation standards and how they apply to the cabling equivalents

It references telecommunication cables and their reaction to fire performance in regards to CPR (Construction Products Regulation)

“For new installations and the refurbishment or extension of existing installations within the external fire barrier of the building, installation cables which are subject to the CPR shall as a minimum meet the requirements of Euroclass Cca, s1b, d2, a2.”

General Considerations for Communication Room Design

The communication room should be a dedicated room for technology equipment and services for the network throughout the tenant space. The following considerations should be considered as general advice

  • Communications room should be a restricted access area by code / key or access control
  • Sign in and sign out is recommended for troubleshooting should a failure occur
  • The room should not be used for general storage
  • The room should not be used as a general office area.
  • When working in the room the door should be left open due to the presence of recirculated cooled air

NM Cabling is a technology and structured cabling integrator working throughout the United Kingdom.

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