An Intelligent Structured Cabling Solution: Current Market Focus

With data increasing at a lightning speed across enterprises, CIOs are being forced to re-consider their entire cabling infrastructure. In a tête-à-tête with, Jangoo Dalal, CEO and MD, Digilink, speaks about the trends and challenges in this space and the company’s plans in the structured cabling space.

Why was there a need for rebranding at Digilink?

Digilink, as a brand, has been in existence for the past five years. From the past one or two years, with the help of our existing partners, SIs and others, we have made a very rapid foray into the enterprise space as well. The other major milestone, which we have achieved, is that we have taken our products to the global market. We felt that as we took our products from the SMB and SOHO audience to large enterprises and global companies, we needed to have a look and feel, which would have a more global appeal and acceptance. That’s where the rebranding came in.

What is your view on the adoption of 10G and do you think it is becoming a part of mainstream IT?

10G has not yet become a part of mainstream IT. Even a year ago, India had a sizable component of structured cabling going into the 10/100 market, which is the CAT5E. CAT6 has now become the dominant technology. We are witnessing a few initial requirements, new tenders, new customer centres coming up around 10G. Certain government and public sector enterprises have been very forthcoming and proactive about adopting 10G technology. In the next one to one-and-a-half years, it will gain a lot more traction. CAT5 will mainly be confined to the voice market then.

How is UC affecting the structured cabling market?

Globally and also in India, there is a rapid trend of unifying different modes of communication. As much as you would like to use UC on WAN (wide area network), organisations first need to use it on LAN (local area network). In premise, if an organisation wants to have UC architecture, a very robust backbone is needed. There is a lot of impetus being seen in quick migration from CAT5 to CAT6. The other area where we are seeing an impact of UC on structured cabling is that IT people now know they are going to run an entire backbone of UC on a single, unified infrastructure, they are paying a lot more attention to the brand they buy, to the technology they buy and also to the planning and deployment of that technology.

Which are the best practices CIOs should follow for efficient installation?

For any solution, just buying the best of available technologies is not enough. One needs to plan a proper roll-out and installation process. Organisations should ensure that people, who are coming to plan and install their infrastructure, are certified people. In structured cabling, this is even more important as structured cabling goes into conduits etc and getting it right the first time around is very important. In terms of good practices, certain things are very important: firstly, understand requirements not only from the present perspective but also from a future perspective. Secondly, the roll-out should be planned in a proper, efficient manner. If the planning is in place, the actual installation will be much smoother.

Could you please elaborate on the latest technology trends and new cable categories?

On the copper side, there is a very rapid shift towards CAT6 and more and more adoption of 10G technologies is being seen. Earlier, fibre was something that users considered to be a backbone technology. It went into the core of the backbone. However, now people are looking at fibre even as an access point for the home. This whole concept of FTTH (Fibre-To-The-Home), which is pretty popular in countries like the US, will get adopted in India also very soon.

We are already seeing broadband service providers giving broadband speed of upto 10 gigabytes. If one wants to deliver that speed in a reliable manner, then FTTH is one way of doing it. From a solutions perspective, more and more ease of deployment and ease of management are going to become prevalent in relation to data centres. The underlying fibre, copper and data centre trend is to put more and more intelligence into the structured cabling solution.

How are rising copper prices affecting the structured cabling market?

If you look at CAT5, CAT6 and other copper components, it is a key ingredient. Prices do fluctuate quite a bit. In 2008, we had a very rapid upward trend in copper pricing. That is one of the reasons why on the copper side, not too many people give pricing validity, for a period stretching beyond three to six months. However, since the last six months, with the cooling down of the economy, we are seeing prices becoming more stable.

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Updated Date: May 05, 2009 10:34:44 IST