Proper Design & Equipment Selection for Telecommunications Rooms and Data Centers

There are many factors to consider when designing for telecommunications rooms and data centers. The most critical factors include the amount of power and the appropriate cooling system needed to fit the requirements of the space, as well as a method for backing up your systems.

High-density processing and data storage requires a significant amount of power and cooling to keep the equipment running properly.  What initially may appear to be more power and cooling than you need is likely to become insufficient once network equipment and servers are loaded and fully operational. Before deciding on the amount of power needed to serve the room, it is important to consider how power requirements for processors, network switching and local storage increase over time. It is also important to note that certain equipment, such as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment, cameras, access control equipment and other similar devices can also increase power demands.

Room size and equipment placement are factors that play a critical role in determining the most efficient way to cool a telecommunications space.  Over-sizing the cooling system may substantially increase upfront, operating and maintenance costs if the systems are not running to peak efficiency.  Modular cooling systems may seem to be the best solution until you factor in the costs of unfamiliar equipment and additional maintenance contracts.  Consider point monitoring devices, automated control systems, raised floor systems and air flow control to place the cooling where it is most needed.

Diversity and redundancy in power and cooling systems are additional elements to consider when designing your telecommunications spaces. Consider backup systems for protection of critical equipment and information such as redundant connections to utilities or secondary power and cooling equipment.

Whether you are contemplating a main telecommunications equipment room or a fully-equipped data center, it is important to take the proper steps to protect the substantial investment in equipment and intellectual property housed in these spaces. Keep in mind that the amount of space required for the primary and secondary cooling and power equipment can easily exceed the amount of space initially allocated for the telecommunications equipment, so is important to consider these factors early in the planning phase to provide adequate space.

If you have questions about how to plan for your telecommunications room or data center, please contact Michael Rader, PE at or (717) 845-7654.

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