What is an LOA for a cross-connect

LOA’s (Letters of Authority/Authorization) are a mystery to many.  We help many of our customers with LOA’s on a semi-regular basis.  If you are here you are probably wanting to find out what an LOA is and how to properly fill one out.

When you or a provider orders a cross-connect within a facility, such as a data-center, you have to generate an LOA that allows someone to run a cross-connect to your space from someplace else. This cross-connect could be fiber or copper.  The other side generates and LOA as well.

An LOA is simply a piece of paper with a few parts.  It usually starts on your company letterhead to make it more official. It states you are giving authority to the other party to land a cross-connect to your physical space.  Normally it reads something like this in the first paragraph.

The undersigned appoints ______________________________________________________ (“___________”) authority to act as an authorized agent to order cross connects to be delivered to YOUR_COMPANY (“YOUR_COMPANY”) collocation facilities.

Specifically, this letter authorizes ___________ to order services on the behalf of YOUR_COMPANY in order to engineer and deliver access and transport to the collocation designated below.

___________ is hereby released from any and all liabilities for making pertinent information available to necessary contractors and for following instructions provided by YOUR_COMPANY with reference to the following order:

The above establishes who, why, and somewhat the what and where. The meat of the LOA is usually in the next part.  This is where you define where the LOA is specifically going.  Most LOAs include the following information:
-Where your physical space is in the facility
-What cabinet or rack the connection is to land in
-What patch panel to go in, If you are not using patch panels you really should
-The port designation to plug into on the patch panel
-The type of media (single mode, Ethernet, etc.)
-If fiber what ends your side should be (LC,SC,etc)
-Any other pertinent instructions.

Depending on several factors you may or may not need to include all of the above.  Some data centers are totally hands off and just run the cable to a spot in your space and you are responsible for plugging it into your gear.  Others will plug into the patch panel ports you designate.  Others can do a full turnkey of actually patching it down to your equipment.  If they do this you will need to include additional information on where the switch is, what switch port, what cable needed, etc.

You may ask why can’t I just tell them what I need and they do it? Part of it is because the person doing the work needs to know exactly what they are doing. The person running it into your space may never have even seen your gear and set up before they get there. Secondly, it is a check and balance.  If you tell them to plug into ports 3/4 on patch panel 2 and there is already something there it helps to make sure your documentation is correct, and you meant to type the correct thing.  Thirdly, its a CYA for the data center or the contractor running the cable.  If you specified LC and the contractor put SC on it’s the contractor’s fault.

Lastly, the LOA includes signature, and title of someone who has been authorized by the facility on your behalf.  This is another check and balance.  Some LOA’s have additional wording about a time limit this LOA is valid for or additional notes.

LOAs are an important part of the documentation process.  Data centers are a place most people do not visit very often.  Having good documentation to generate a proper LOA is essential to things running smoothly.

Hope this helps.