Murdoch University rewires its fibres

Perth's Murdoch University has upgraded its network cabling.

Murdoch University is located in Perth, Western Australia, and has three campuses at Murdoch, Rockingham and Peel with a student population of over 15,000 including 3000 international students.

As a dynamic, modern university, Murdoch is always growing. This is also true of Murdoch’s communications network, which was rapidly running out of space in its existing location and needed to be moved to the main data centre in the Science and Computing Building at the Murdoch campus. The other prime consideration was to migrate the primary communications core equipment to a controlled environment.

The existing location of the termination rack for the backbone cabling needed to be removed as it was near a doorway and there was no room left for expansion. However, there was an additional problem. None of the existing 48 optical fibre cables leaving the building were long enough to reach the new location within the data centre. This meant that every cable would have to be either replaced or spliced and extended into the new rack location.

These fibres connect the other campus buildings to the data centre, so they are critical to the campus communications network.

Having used ADC Krone products for many years throughout the university, with most buildings having ADC Krone structured cabling products in them it made sense for Murdoch to choose ADC Krone again for this project.

“We were familiar with ADC Krone, we knew ADC Krone products would work well with our existing network and we knew that they would be robust and reliable, so the choice was easy,” said Christopher Hickman, Communications Administrator, Murdoch University.

Murdoch University chose the ADC Krone Fibre Entrance Cabinet (FEC) to house the existing cables and new pre-terminated fibre cables extending to the data centre. All the splicing was completed within the FEC on easy-to-use, slide-out splice trays.

The FEC provides splicing, administration and storage for fibre cables. It is a cost-effective, space-saving alternative to splicing on the fibre frame, making it suitable for the university’s needs. It offers a wide range of splice capabilities to meet a variety of applications and, importantly, it provides bend radius protection to prevent attenuation and physical damage. Its external physical protection also guards against accidental damage, thus ensuring network reliability.

“Because the FEC is wall mounted, we were able to place it close enough for the existing cables to reach and yet keep it out of the way of the doorway and off the floor,” said Hickman. “With space being so limited, this was critical for the success of the project.”

The twenty-two 24-core pre-terminated cables of both singlemode and multimode types were made to length and terminated at one end only, leaving the tail to extend into the FEC to be spliced to existing cables. This reduced the number of cables required between the new rack location and the FEC.

The university also chose ADC Krone’s FL2000 flexible, modular and economical series of fibre products to complement the FEC. The six FL2000 96-port fibre panels were used to house the pre-terminated cables within the data centre. These were chosen because they provided built-in fibre patch cord management and easy access for installing the pre-terminated connectors.

“The existing fibre-optic cabling rack was a legacy of 25 years of different fibre terminations and FOBOTs,” said Hickman. “While fibre termination technology has changed, the optical fibre in the ground already is a valuable resource with years of life yet. But keeping fibre patch cables in all the permutations of connectors and fibre types becomes onerous. Migrating to the FL2000 reduced the connector types from SMA, ST and SC to one standard LC type of termination. Using the FL2000 reduced the total rack space need for housing the fibres by about 70%”.

“From our perspective, the implementation process was smooth and we didn’t experience any significant disruptions,” confirms Hickman.

No existing cable needed to be replaced, which meant substantial cost savings for the university. All cables were cutover successfully in a carefully planned and staged manner, so that network outages were minimised to one building at a time. No single building was down for longer than 4 hours, usually no more than 2 hours <0x2014> carefully scheduled for weekends and out of hours, although for the university of today, no time is truly <0x2018>out of hours’.

The FEC benefited Murdoch in reducing the real estate required for splicing the cables and because of the complexity of the number of cables being cutover it enabled the contractor to gain easy access to these cables when required.

It was designed with redundancy built in so that future expansions have been catered for and will once again help reduce the installation time needed on site.

“Our aim for this project was to relocate our fibre backbone cabling and we certainly achieved it,” concludes Hickman. “Importantly, we were able to achieve this aim cost effectively and with a solution that strengthens our network. We’re very pleased with the results.”


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