According to Bob Prado, telecommunications supervisor at SLCC, the Larry H. Miller Entrepreneurship Training Center created considerable network design opportunities and challenges.
Because this was a brand new facility, new cabling had to be pulled which presented the opportunity to evaluate optical fiber and robust copper cabling alternatives.The design team decided early on that "future-proofing" the Training Center was a key priority, but only if the new cabling infrastructure could be installed with minimal labor overhead and installation time in order to keep the project cost-effective.In addition, SLCC
wanted to ensure that they could maximize the "real estate" of distributed wiring closets that house the network-attached electronics.
At the same time that the Miller Training Center was being planned, the State of Utah approved funding for a High Tech Learning Center to be built as part of the SLCC
system.Ultimately, the High Tech Learning Center will consist of some nine state-of-the-art buildings to serve the growing technology education needs of the Greater Salt Lake student population.
"The initial buildings for the Miller Training Center provided an excellent opportunity to see if the AMP product lived up to expectations," said Prado
."Before we finalized the specifications for both new campus extensions, I wanted to ensure that the MT-RJ connector could be terminated in the time that Tyco Electronics Corporation
claimed.We also wanted to verify that the new connector provided us the space savings we required to avoid cluttering our telecommunications closets at the point of termination.Once the product was installed, we revised the specifications for the additional facilities to include the AMP cabling and MT-RJ connector."
Unlike other small form factor connectors that terminate one fiber in one ferrule, the MT-RJ connector terminates two fibers in a single ferrule using a plug that's about the same size and shape as an RJ-45 modular plug.This enables the MT-RJ connector to maintain the smallest size of all the small form factor connectors.
"The MT-RJ's small form factor connector was especially crucial for the High Tech Learning Center," said Prado
."With so much fiber going in, patch panel management became a really important consideration.We quickly ruled out SC-type connectors because their excessive space requirements were simply too prohibitive.Additionally, SC-type connectors don't provide the port densities we needed."
All telecommunications infrastructure for each of SLCC
's campuses is managed and maintained by the college's telecommunications department.While the four-person staff handles all maintenance and repairs for the campus-wide network infrastructure, they rely heavily on their vendors for installations.
"We made the decision to go with the MT-RJ connector originally because of the savings in space, but that was minor when compared to the savings in manpower required for installation," adds Prado
."We were originally looking at 400 terminations, which was a good test to gauge installation time.The average termination time is 45 seconds with the MT-RJ connector.An SC-type connector, on the other hand, takes anywhere from 4 - 5 minutes, depending on how you terminate.When you multiply that by 400 terminations, the savings is very significant." SLCC
has currently completed two of the seven planned buildings for the Miller Training Center and will occupy the first of nine proposed buildings at the High Tech Learning Center by the end of this year.