Case fiberglass

Designing smart cities

Discover how Mulder-Hardenberg worked together with Development Company Rotterdam on a future-proof city by means of fiber optics.

The Rotterdam Development Company (OBR) is a body that develops initiatives aimed at developing the municipal infrastructure in the port. One of the recent activities of the OBR was the launch of Rotterdam Internet Exchange (R-iX), which is housed in several locations and functions, including as a marketplace for suppliers and providers of internet services. he R-iX also offers colocation facilities to companies and companies that want to accommodate their ICT platforms in a professional space.

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The challenge

The installation of the data center at one of the locations presented challenges that had to be solved. Much equipment required the safe removal of hot air generated by the installation. One problem with this is that the hot air can get from one cabinet of equipment into another cabinet. This interferes with the necessary intake of cold air.

Good organization of the wiring is of the utmost importance for the continuity of the data center. The enormous amount of digital spaghetti must be accommodated in an efficient system of cable channels where there is a difference between the UTP cables and the optical fibres. The two types of wires require different wiring systems. The data center already has a fire protection system. In addition, physical protection of the area is also necessary given the impact of sabotage on the system and the vast amount of vital and confidential data. The installation of the necessary air conditioning encountered difficulties due to its underground location; there is no direct connection to the outside air.

An arrangement of cabinets in several rows with passages on both sides has been chosen. These areas are divided into hot and cold passageways. In the first type, the backs of the devices, where the hot air is expelled, face each other. In the cold corridors, the fronts, where the cold air is absorbed, face each other. Mulder-Hardenberg has supplied a system of fiber optic ducts without the risk of damage or malfunctions. Critical points when installing fiberglass are the bends and the so-called ‘break outs’.

The tools used by M-H always guarantee the correct bending radius, so that failures and breaks are avoided. Mulder-Hardenberg has opted for a system of cameras for surveillance in the data center. The recorded images are saved on a locally equipped PC. The software adapted by M-H offers the possibility to view the images remotely. The solution to the air-conditioning problem is to place units in an adjacent room, below the subway station’s escalators. Further investigation shows that there are openings in the underground site. Outside air can flow freely through these openings from the point below the escalators.

The implementation

Due to the ingenious arrangement of the cabinets, the exhaust air from the installation can be collected and removed in the hot passage. The cold passage ensures an unobstructed flow of cold air to the front of the equipment. The channel system adapted by M-H offers many tools that make it easy to apply a mutation at a later stage, such as a ‘break out’. There is no need to cut anything, dust is not released, and the work can be carried out in the room without malfunctions. Of course, this saves a lot of time and money. The material does not contain halogen. No hazardous substances are left behind after a fire. This prevents equipment downtime when the data center is rebooted after a fire.

The result

Solving these four challenges is vital to the proper functioning of the data center. The need for adequate security is clear and indisputable. The other three points relate in particular to making the 24-hour operations in this nerve center as continuous as possible. Failures due to overheating and interruption of signals lead to dramatic consequences, often followed by customer claims. With these multidisciplinary solutions, Mulder-Hardenberg has minimized the risk of malfunctions.