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What to Know About Telecommunication Rooms

Technology Tuesdays

Telecommunications Room (TR) a.k.a. IDF, Technology room, or Telecommunication Distribution Rooms house multiple network-based systems. The primary purpose of TRs is to properly support network equipment and serve Structured Cabling (Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6A) to work area end of line equipment such as computers, WIFI access points, Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, Nurse call devices, IP paging speakers, etc. However, TRs often house non network-based systems Security, AV, Nurse Call, DAS, Synchronized Clocks, and many other systems. One should note that these specialty systems are converging to IP based making cabling pathway spare capacity a must in any design. A TR’s size and location will directly impact availability and reliability of all technology systems that support building or departmental operations.

Some complexities when designing Telecommunications systems in hospitals is that 2018 Facilities Guidelines Institute (FGI) governance requires TRs to be 12'x16' as a minimum size resulting in a lot of unused space in combination with the NFPA requirement that the TR only serve 20,000sq-ft. Regardless of size they must be placed precisely within the building’s footprint using a (165’-175') diamond study or BiM cable length analysis which shows you exactly how to cover a building's work area equipment without exceeding distance limitations as set forth by TIA-568B (295' from patch panel to jack). Preferably TRs are stacked on top of each other. A good design will determine TR size and locations early in planning with the Architect-Owner-Stakeholder (with a margin flexibility).

Here are a few simple rules for TR sizing:

Width of a TR should be no less than 11', this would include 6" of wall mounted equipment on either wall +3' of clearance in front and back of equipment (1m or 39.37" internationally) + 4' of space for either an equipment rack/cabinet + cabling on the back of the equipment. The length of the room should be no less than 14’ but can vary based on how many racks or size of vertical cable managers you are planning to install.

Written by:

Randy Gruberman PE, RCDD, CxA

FL Southeast Market Leader & Low Voltage Service Leader


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