SYSTIMAX Solutions Survey Reveals Network Downtime as Primary Concern for Network Managers

Survey respondents also pinpoint network speed, management and monitoring as important considerations in infrastructure decisions

EMEA highlights:

  • Reliance on Cat 5e is set to reduce considerably whilst Cat 6 and 6A is to increase from an installed base of around 55% to over 70%
  • The single most important factor in cabling investment choice in EMEA was quality of product (35%) and technical performance (23%). It was the region of the world least concerned with initial costs with just 11% citing it as selection factor compared to 36% in APAC.
  • On average across EMEA 18.4% of IT support time is spent on monitoring network performance and 13.5% on connectivity issues

SYSTIMAX Solutions from CommScope, a worldwide leader in structured connectivity solutions, has announced the results of a global research study conducted among 1,484 information technology (IT) professionals. The new SYSTIMAX Solutions research report, entitled Speed and Agility, Performance and Reliability: A Report on Global Enterprise Network Trends, includes responses from IT professionals from 45 countries and demonstrates the effects of network infrastructure solutions and support services on user productivity.

As more employees rely on the company network, the impact of downtime on productivity loss and ultimately on corporate costs, becomes an increasingly serious issue. The survey discovered that users reported on average 1.9 hours of network downtime a month and found that companies that have deployed higher performance cabling tended to experience lower average downtime.

The survey demonstrates that most IT professionals suspect that downtime is an issue, said Mark Peterson, Senior VP Global Marketing, Enterprise, CommScope. They probably have a sinking feeling that money is draining from the company bank account every time a server crashes or a service provision to a key user takes a week to fulfill. Well, we believe theyre right. Thats the bad news. But the good news is that the study also shows that professionals who are willing to invest in quality systems are better able to support the evolving networking needs of the company.

The study demonstrates that more and more IT professionals are planning to install copper-based Category 6A cabling, while Category 5e cabling is heading for obsolescence. And, from a fibre perspective, throughout the past five years there has been rapid growth in acceptance of laser optimised multimode fibre as an alternative to traditional multimode and singlemode fibre.

The survey results demonstrate these trends:                                                    

  • Category 6A cabling currently represents 5% of the installed base of structured cabling systems. Respondents now expect 25% of new installations to utilise Category 6A cabling, up from just 17% a year ago.  The largest adopters are expected to be in the finance and technology sectors.
  • Category 5e cabling was used in 53% of historical installations. Participants now expect to use Category 5e in less than 9% of new installations.
  • While OM1 and OM2 multimode fibre is currently the most popular, that popularity is expected to be cut in half, dropping to only 34 % of new installations.
  • OM3 laser optimised multimode fibre is expected to become the dominant fibre for future installations.  While OM3 currently represents 11% of the installed base, it is expected to be utilised in 43% of new fibre installations.  The increase in usage matches the faster networking speeds in the backbone.  In 2002, only 28% of the respondents intended to install OM3 fibre; today 43% of the survey participants believe they will need OM3 to support their networks.,

The study also indicates a growing trend among IT professionals of migrating to faster speeds in the horizontal and the backbone connections.

Some key indicators:

  • In the horizontal, installation of 10 Gb/s Ethernet is expected to increase from 4% to 29% over the next five years.
  • In the backbone, more than half of respondents 51% intend to install 10 Gb/s Ethernet in the next five years, while users expect that 100 Gb/s Ethernet will represent 15% of installations for network backbones by 2011.

In addition to network downtime, productivity can be lost as IT professionals spend more time working on moves, adds and changes (MACs) for an increasingly mobile workforce, or on other support functions, including unauthorised or incorrect MACs, LAN connectivity problems and IT service provisioning and auditing:

  • Overall, users reported that nearly 18% of network assets are mislaid or moved unofficially annually, and 11% of MACs, on average, need rework.
  • Globally, users reported 3.8 LAN connectivity problems annually, averaging 1.3 hours of time lost per occurrence. Companies typically spend 19% of IT support time monitoring network performance.
  • IT managers reported spending an average of 4.4 hours preparing and initiating an IT work order and 7.7 hours per month auditing network assets.

Video conferencing, VoIP and collaborative working are all on the rise, Peterson said. These applications improve productivity and reduce costs and IT administrators are accommodating these demands by migrating Ethernet networks to higher speed and, subsequently, higher performance cabling from the backbone all the way to the desktop.


Research Methodology

IT professionals in 45 countries were invited to participate in the survey via a Web portal in 2006. Contributors to the research could view the questions in any of 12 languages. The 1,484 IT professionals who completed questionnaires were a representative sample of SYSTIMAX Solutions as well as non-SYSTIMAX Solutions customers. The respondents came from organisations with between 50 and 10,000+ network users in sectors ranging from Education to Finance and Government to Media. 


About SYSTIMAX Solutions

SYSTIMAX Solutions from CommScope (NYSE: CTV), is a worldwide leader in structured cabling systems and provides integrated end-to-end connectivity solutions for voice, data, video and building management applications in both wired and wireless enterprise networks.   SYSTIMAX Solutions supplies its high performance and market-leading range of products through a network of highly skilled BusinessPartners.  The product range includes the copper-based GigaSPEED X10D and GigaSPEED XL Solutions, the fibre optic LazrSPEED and TeraSPEED Solutions and the intelligent patching iPatch System.  The SYSTIMAX AirSPEED Solution adds a wireless option to the portfolio.   Drawing on their Bell Labs heritage, the people of SYSTIMAX Labs who have spearheaded these innovations will continue to play an integral role in the future success of SYSTIMAX Solutions. Currently the companys BusinessPartners install an average of over 1,000 miles (1,600km) of SYSTIMAX cable every day in approximately 130 countries worldwide.


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