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Installation Profile: All the Data that’s Fit to Transmit

Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Dan Daley

Bold AV/IT statement at newspaper headquarters.

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Redundancy was key in the infrastructure of the Times building. For instance, every bit of information flowing through the newspaper’s newsrooms has an alternate route, according to Brian Engleheart of Constantin Walsh-Lowe, which handled cabling for the building.


Under the floor is where Brian Engleheart, a principal at Constantin Walsh-Lowe, and Ron Provost, lead infrastructure designer at the cabling company, found themselves often as they laid out and installed what would become the IT backbone of the Times building. The broad strokes go like this: The Times' newspaper operations are located on floors 2 through 22, with additional offices on the 23rd through the 28th floors. Floors 2, 3, and 4 are the heart of the news operation, filled with reporters and editors, and each of those floors has the 100,000-square-foot footprint of the largest lower floors. A carrier room is the primary input and output portal to the building — from there, data flows back and forth to the main data center on the 13th floor. From the data center, a 10GB Cat-6A fiber-optic backbone leads to multiple technology closets (also known as telecommunications rooms or TRs) — four per floor for the main news floors — which house Nortel network-access layer switches.

“We laid out the cabling in a ‘streets-and-avenues’ sort of way so that it matches the orientation of the building itself,” Provost says, adding that additional cabling troughs were installed as part of the design to allow for future expansion of the system.

“The walls aren't part of the slab, so they can reconfigure a floor extensively without running into load-bearing obstacles,” Engleheart says. “If we had, say, eight numbered runs of wire on a floor, we'd have left at least one of them empty for future use.”

From the TRs, 1GB copper wire runs directly to each workstation on each floor, in troughs under the floor carefully laid out so as not to interfere with the HVAC pathways that are an integral part of the Times' building's LEED Gold certification.

“We had to come up with a custom tray to make the tight turns under the floors,” Provost says. “We had to change our routings in some cases so as not to obstruct the airflow.”

Small wonder that the Times' building IT infrastructure used approximately 5 million feet of just Systemax copper cable, in addition to Corning Cable Systems fiber-optic cable. Corning also supplied pre-terminated fiber cables that can carry 12 connections and plug into a modular connection at a main termination point, such as a TR or workstation.

“It's a plug-and-play solution, and it means the installers don't have to terminate each cable in the field,” Provost says.

Another neat trick, considering the amount of wire they had to contend with, was the use of an Specified Technologies (STI) EZ-Path plenum-rated wiring sleeve, which creates its own firestop and eliminates the need to install a firestop each time a cable passes through a grate or damper.

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