Birds Eye view of a building cable/network design

My co-workers and I have been throwing around ideas about how you would go about cabling a four story call center with about 200-400 people per floor in the event that it may happen for us.

1. I've heard cabinets (possibly wall mountable or centrally located) placed around each floor to house switches with fiber runs all going back to a centrally located cable closet on say floor two for the sake of this topic. Lets say four network cabinets per floor.

2. I've heard having a cabling closet, where all of the switches are located for that floor, with cooper runs from all over the floor back to the cabling closet on that floor. The cabling closet on each floor then connected to the main cabling closet (or datacenter) on floor two via Fiber.

3. I've also heard a combo of both.  Having a couple(4) network cabinets with switches strategically placed on each floor.  The cabinets/switches are connect via FIBER back to the network closet on that floor.  Then closet on each floor then connected back to floor two via fiber also.

4. I've also heard a combo of both again.  Having a couple(4) network cabinets with switches strategically placed on each floor.  The cabinets/switches are connect via COPPER back to the network closet on that floor.  Then closet on each floor then connected back to floor two via fiber.

In my experience I've only ever seen option 2 however... with 10GBase-T available for uplink runs (if less than 100meters) I can see options 4 being cheaper than 3.  With Option 1 you have 4 cab's per floor with say 8 strand fiber terminating at each that is 128 strand (64 pair) needing to be terminated back at the "Datacenter" so what type of hardware cost will that  I could be wrong here but that's why I'm asking the Experts :-)

Feel free to weigh in pros and cons and what's has worked best for you.  THANKS!!!
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Mohammed KhawajaManager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
Switches today allow cascading which means that each if you are connecting four switches then there will be a loop where switch1-switch2, switch2-3, switch3-4 and finally switch4-switch1.  There are proprietary cables provided by the switch manufacturer which allows all 4 switches to act as one switch.  In case like this, you will need one pair of fiber from your data-center to each floor.  If you do not want to use fiber, you could get 10 gig copper GBICs.  In situation such as this, you will need a core switch which will connect to each floor as well as to your access switches where your servers are.  This is certainly affordable and also easy to mananger where switches on each floor will be treated as one big switch.

Below is picture of Cisco Catalyst switches cascaded:
With that many people per floor, you will quickly max out a single switch stack capacity.  What is typical is cabling each floor to a central comms closet for that floor.  You want to ensure that no single copper run is more than 100 meters in length, so the cable contractor needs to measure the furthest runs back to the central closet.  If any of them are near maximum, then it may require having 2 comms closets per floor to bring the cable runs back to a respectable length.  Don't forget to include the patch cables (computer and switch ends) into the final length.

I would build 2 switch stacks and split the floor in half (port-wise) so that you do not max out the number of switches in the stack (which will allow for growth later).  Connect the stacks redundantly to a "Main Comm room" where the core switches and routers will be installed.

In our building (due to sheer size) we have 11 closets (3 per floor on two floors and 2 per floor on two floors) all returning via 2 x fibre 10GB links to the main comms closet cores (the 11th closet).

CAT6 is your copper structured wiring of choice, but with it comes the need for the contractor to be OCD on how it's installed - INSIST on requiring the network be certified to CAT6 standards; this will keep the contractor's quality in check.  Use multimode OM3 or better fibre between the closets and the cores.  As long as the runs are 100m or less (for 10GB, otherwise 1GB distances are greater), this is the most economical way (cheaper optics, cheaper cable, etc).  If any run is greater than that, you need single mode fibre and the optics are more money and may require attenuation if the runs are short (for single mode) because the optics have more power.

But regardless, your design is best as a hub and spoke even though you could experiment with ethernet fabric - but the cost is higher all around (support, hardware, design, etc).

Hope this helps.

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