computer lab

Lets start learning on How to Setup a Computer Lab or Computer Centre

For designing and outfitting a computer centre we need creativity and the collaboration of a host of different parties. It is very important to find out the vendor’s specifications so that the requirement of the party can be fulfilled. Managing the development of a new (or) upgraded computer centre is a primary and vital straightforward project management function.

When designing a computer centre/lab one has to consider the following parameters in detail

1. Space

2. Flooring

3. Loading considerations

4. Ceiling

5. Room Layout

6. Air Conditioning

7. Dust free

8. Cleanliness

9. Siting

10. Security

11. Safety

12. Power and lighting

 

SPACE:

It occupies very less space for main frame of a very large and powerful computer. Various sorts of associated equipment may consume a lot of space for large to medium machines. The equipment may contain power supplies [UPS], tape units, channels, input units, output units, disk units, printers etc.

We need to fit the machinery in a stipulated space. So, Let us see few considerations as follows:

 Cable Length:  Electricity travels at a speed of light. The lengths of few cables are limited by design to make the loss of time waiting for electrical signals to flow from one place to another place as small as possible.  Other cables are restricted to prevent voltage drop due to electrical resistance.

 Physical restrictions on size of box (or) bends in cables, on height etc.

 Operator convenience, especially whether the operator can see what is happening on printers and tape units.

 Services availability: Air intakes and power supplies can give problems; even little large equipment requires chilled water supplies.

 Continuous computer stationery is a very bulky item but supplies of scratch tapes and storage of written tapes should also be in close proximity.

 FLOORING: 

In a computer centre, each compartment needs a cavity floor to house cables. A cavity floor easily allows rearrangement (or) augmentation of the computer equipment in a structural floor. The minimum clearance between the lowest part of the cavity floor and the top of the structural floor must be decided in consultation with the supplier of the computer. 100mm is usual, but it may vary between 200 to 400 mm.  Now the power cables, telecommunication lines, and fire protection equipment are to be arranged along with heavy computer equipment. The space beneath is also used for air circulation.

 PROTOCOLS FOR LOADING CONSIDERATION [EQUIPMENT]:

The total weight of the computer centre flooring should not be more than 40Kg/sq.cm. in the center of the flooring panel it has to support at least 450Kg with maximum deflection of 1.5mm and a minimum distributed load of 800 Kgs/sq.m.  Floor panels are to be faced with PVC vinyl (or) asbestos vinyl tiles.

Suitable precautions:

• No metal things to be exposed to walking surfaces

• Applying wax to the floor panels must be avoided.

• Sweeping should be avoided.

• The recommended way of cleaning is Mopping.

 CEILING:

A false ceiling is essential to reduce the volume of area to be air- conditioned. The false ceiling may be provided with an anodized T-bar self-interlocking ceiling system with a modular grid. The tiles (or) panels used should be the lay-in type which can be easily removed and re-fixed. The most recommended and suitable panel would be a 19mm thick particle board tile with reheated edges, faced with PVC wall paper keeping the tile 6mm below the T-bar surface. As an alternative, a dish type aluminium panel, plain (or) perforated could be used.

 ROOM LAYOUT:

A computer room should not have windows. If the windows are exposed to the sun, a solar control film may be applied on the glass. Curtains are not recommended to be used in the computer centre/room. Venetian blinds can be fitted to prevent direct glare from sun. Emphasis is being laid on the thickness and weight.

 AIR CONDITIONING:

Every computer centre requires an air conditioning space. The input and output devices, electric motor present in them tend to increase the power consumption and consequent waste heat output. To avoid relative humidity air conditioning is necessary.

 DUST-FREE

The computer room has to be kept clean in order to avoid excessive vibrations, air pollution, dust, noise, electromagnetic radiations etc. Dust caught in between the magnetic tapes may cause reading and writing errors and that may damage the tape permanently. In order to prevent this problem we can fit dust filters. Dust producing surfaces can be prevented by applying a rubber based paint, epoxy paint (or) sodium silicate.

 CLEANLINESS:

We can reduce the amount of dust by having a separate area for printers and paper load. It is best not to allow smoking (or) food and drink in the machine room.

 SITING:

In siting the requirements like floor loading, services availability, security, access and safety need to be evaluated.

It is not common to need additional floor reinforcement if you are converting normal multi-storey office space into computer machine space. It may be the air conditioning which gives the heaviest single loads and these items can go on a lower floor.

The machines themselves should contain their own circuit for power supply apart from normal services like lighting and power. The power fluctuations can be caused by other equipment present in the same compartment unless the supply is independent. There is a necessity for a UPS- Uninterruptible Power Supply as this may smooth out the variations in the supply voltage. This may be an expensive option.

 SECURITY:

The user needs to site the machine behind the concrete walls without windows of any sort, if we think we can get people to work in such an enclosed environment. Otherwise, opt for rigid perimeter security and test it frequently to make sure that it still works. A reasonable compromise is possible with blank walls to the outside world but picture windows facing inwards to other work space. All the access to the machines in the computer room should be recorded. Badge lock system seems to be the most common access control system but there are risks.

 POWER ANFD LIGHTING:

The power requirements for a computer room are based on the quantity and type and type of equipment installed. The designer must consider requirements for lighting, heat, air conditioning, convenient outlets, and administrative office equipment etc. Outrages and voltage problems can arise if systems are improperly matched to the power system required at the location. We may go with the equipment like Constant Voltage Transformer (CVT), motor generator, UPS along with the computers to diagnose power related problems at regular intervals of time.

We need to regulate the temperature of the computer room. Backup for cooling and electricity is important.

RFI [Radio Frequency Interference] may be another problem which causes read/write errors and also harmful for operating personnel and equipment components. This problem can be solved by shielding method and providing a good earth-ground [isolated ground] for the computer equipment, supplying copper screens for windows.

While lighting a computer room we must see that console indicator light is clearly visible without any difficulty. The operator should not face a bright area.an average illumination of atleast490 lux may be considered as a guide. Usage of Fluorescent lamps and tubes are desirable.