Cabling Standard Subcommittee Work-Hand in Hand with IEEE

April 28, 2016 / General

With the need for increased speed and power over Ethernet (PoE) being addressed within IEEE standards, work within TIA must follow suit as the two standards bodies work hand in hand to ensure that the applications put forth by IEEE can be adequately supported by the cabling infrastructure.

Let's take a look at some of the recent and most significant standards activity within the Subcommittee and how they relate to standards development happening within IEEE.

Category 8 and 25/40GBASE-TWorking Hand in Hand With IEEE

The TR-42.7 copper standards activity that is one of the most significant surrounds < a href="/content/category-8-cable-testing">Category 8 cabling, which is being driven by the IEEE 802.3bq standards development for 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T applications. Developed as a data center application for switch-to-server connections, 25 Gbps and 40 Gbps Ethernet runs over 4-pair balanced twisted pair cabling (i.e., Category 8) in a two-connector channel up to at least 30 meters.

The TIA standard that defines Category 8 will be 568-C.2-1 Addendum, which will quickly turn into 568.2-D. The default ballot was sent out in early April but there were some technical changes proposed. While those changes were rejected, in keeping with the rules within TIA, it must go out for another default ballot. There is a fairly good chance that it will be approved for publication this summer.

Category 8 will be a shielded cable operating at 2 GHz, and anyone who is not familiar with installing and testing shielded cable, now is a good time to start learning. The good news for installers is that Category 8 systems will use the familiar RJ45 connector. While the application is intended to be a 24-meter permanent link with two 3-meter equipment cords on each end, the standard will also include some de-rating factors for different gauge equipment cords.

Cabling Field Tester Accuracy LevelOf course, there also needs to be the ability to test this cabling system in the field. That's why in January of this year, the ANSI/TIA-1183-1 standard that defines the measurement and test methods for laboratory testing of Category 8 was approved. That paved the way for Category 8 field testing standards. The existing TIA-1152 standards for field testing that supports the TIA 568 series of standards will have an 1152-A version for 2G field testing--the 2G refers to the accuracy level and was named as such due to the need to test Category 8 to 2 GHz.

If you're familiar with the accuracy levels for previous categories of cable (i.e., Level III for Category 6 and Level IIIe for Category 6A), you may be wondering why the next level isn't Level IV. That's because Level IV and Level V accuracy levels already exist within ISO/IEC standards for Class F and Class FA cabling. TIA-1152-A will likely also be approved for publication this summer, and cabling manufacturers are watching this closely as it's difficult to sell a Category 8 system if can't verify the performance of the installation.


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The  IEEE 802.3bz 2.5 and 5.0 Gbps Ethernet standards being driven by next generation Wi-Fi and expected to run over Category 5e and Category 6 respectively is also driving work within TR-42.7.  TSB-5021 will define how to evaluate the installed base of Category 5e and 6 to ensure its ability to support these multi-gigabit speeds. And you can rest assured that Fluke Networks will enable testing Category 5e and Category 6 to these higher speeds, including alien crosstalk testing that was previously not a concern for these cable types.

PoE Plus Plus

Just as TIA Category 8 standards are all about IEEE 25/40GBASE-T applications, there is also standards activity within TR-42.7 that is all about forthcoming IEEE 802.3bt standards for 4-pair PoE. TSB-184 Guidelines for Supporting Power Delivery Over Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling, is being revised as TSB-184-A to support the higher levels of power delivery. It will provide guidance on cabling type and  testing for dc resistance unbalance within a pair and between pairs. For more information on how dc resistance unbalance relates to PoE, read the Fluke Networks whitepaper here.

The TIA 42.7 Subcommittee is not the only working group with TIA developing standards driven by IEEE 4-pair PoE standards. A task group within the TR-42.3 Subcommittee for Commercial Building Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces was also formed to explore the impacts of higher power PoE within the pathway and create a document with guidelines for bundle sizes, and the TR 42.6 Administration Subcommittee is also working on guidelines for labeling and identifying systems delivering these remote powering applications.

Stay tuned for more standards updates happening within TIA that of course correlate with what's happening within IEEE.