We are in the networking age of 10, 40, 100Gb connections in the data center. Both servers and the network infrastructure are moving to virtualized environments.

Lightning-fast switching technologies move data from one connection to another, routing business critical traffic at speeds never before imagined. There is, however, a critical component to the system that network engineers of today often overlook: the physical layer.

Cabling and interface connections are carrying an unprecedented traffic load from one device to another. Weaknesses in the cabling infrastructure will show themselves in the form of packet drops, FCS errors, and other Ethernet-level problems. Watch for these on switch and router ports, especially on critical connections. They could very well be caused by cabling that cannot handle the load of today’s network environment.