A survey released this week has 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 than average downtime.

The global enterprise network trends report from vendor CommScope questioned nearly 1,500 IT professionals across 45 countries and found that more organisations are planning to move to more advanced network cabling with greater capacity to cut the impact of downtime on productivity.

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. Category 6A cabling currently represents 5% of the installed base of structured cabling systems. Respondents now expect 25% of new installations to use Category 6A cabling, up from just 17% a year ago. The largest adopters are expected to be in the finance and technology sectors.

And, from a fibre perspective, there has been rapid growth in acceptance of laser optimised multimode fibre as an alternative to traditional multimode and single-mode fibre, where OM3 laser optimised multimode fibre is expected to become dominant for future installations. OM3 is expected to be used in 43% of new fibre installations in the next five years.

The study also indicates a growing trend of migrating to faster speeds in the horizontal and the backbone connections. In the horizontal, installation of 10 Gb/s Ethernet is expected to increase from 4% to 29% over the next five years. And in the backbone, more than half of respondents (51%) intend to install 10 Gb/s Ethernet in the next five years.

The survey also revealed productivity can be lost as IT professionals spend more time working on moves, adds and changes (MACs) for support functions. Users reported that nearly 18% of network assets are mislaid or moved unofficially annually, and 11% of MACs, on average, need rework.

“Video conferencing, VoIP and collaborative working are all on the rise,” said Mark Peterson, senior vice president of CommScope Global Enterprise Marketing. “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.”

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.