Overview Category 8 Cable Testing
Category 8 cabling and all the related standards have been approved. Below, we review the most common questions related to the latest twisted-pair copper system designed to support future IEEE 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T applications.
Characterized to 2 GHz and specified for 30-meter, 2-connector channels, Category 8 is intended as a data center application. It is specifically targeted for data center edge applications in copper server-to-switch connections where the emerging 25 and 40 Gb/s speeds will reside.
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1. What are the relevant standards for Cat 8 cabling?
There are several.
- IEEE 802.3bq 25G/40GBASE-T, published 8 September 2016 – This defines minimum transmission characteristics for the application on a twisted pair channel to support 25 Gbps and 40 Gbps over twisted pair cabling.
- ANSI/TIA-568.2-D, approved in June 2018 - Defines Category 8 Channels and Permanent Links and includes limits for Resistance Unbalance, TCL, ELTCTL.
- ANSI/TIA-1152-A published, 10 November 2016 - Defines field tester measurement and accuracy requirements for Category 8, including the new “2G” accuracy requirements for Cat 8 testers
- ISO/IEC Standards are expected in 2017, including ISO/IEC 11801-99-1 which defines the Class I/II Channels and Permanent Links and IEC 61935-1 Ed5.0 which defines tester measurement and accuracy requirements, including the same “2G’ requirement from ANSI/TIA1152-A.
2. When are Cat 8 solutions expected to ship?
As of this writing, no vendors are shipping Cat 8 cabling solutions, although Panduit and Leviton have announced and are demonstrating solutions which have been independently verified.
3. What’s the case for Cat 8 cabling?
Cat 8 solutions are designed to support Ethernet at rates up to 40 Gbps (40GBASE-T) over distances up to 30 meters, making it a solution primarily for data centers. Copper cabling is less costly to install, but the biggest savings will be related to power usage and electronics costs. If Cat 8 / 40GBASE-T becomes widely deployed, it’s expected that switch and server connections supporting it will be much less expensive than those using fiber optics. Further, the 25/40GBASE-T standards support autonegotiation, which provides convenience for data center operators
It's also possible that Cat 8 may be adopted for other applications in the future.
4. Why is the DSX-8000 the first “true” Cat 8 field tester?
There are four “firsts” for the DSX-8000 that make it a “true” Cat 8 field tester
- The first Permanent Link and Channel adapters with a full 2 GHz range. These adapters allow connection to installed links in the field which is what is required by contractors installing Cat 8 systems.
- The first tester to be endorsed by Cat 8 cabling manufacturers. One of the main reasons for certifying installed cabling is to obtain a manufacturer’s warranty. Without their endorsement, the certification is of no use for this purpose.
- The first tester independently verified to meet the ANSI/TIA-1152-A Level 2G requirements for measurement accuracy required for Cat 8 testers.
- The first tester (along with the DSX-5000) to test screen continuity along the path of the cabling as required for Level 2G testers
5. Can the DSX-8000 test standards “below” Cat 8?
Yes, the DSX-8000 can test all copper cabling types that can be tested by the DSX-5000.
6. What are the test times for the DSX-8000?
The DSX-8000 is the fastest tester on the market with an eight second Cat 6A certification. Test time for Cat 8 is 16 seconds.
7. What is the requirement for testing “screen continuity along the path of the cabling”?
This is a requirement in ANSI/TIA-1152-A for Level 2G testers. Cat 8 is a screened system which requires the screen on the cable be connected to the shielded connectors at each end. This improves crosstalk performance, especially for Alien NEXT. Therefore, being able to verify that the screen is connected properly is essential to certifying the performance of the system. Most testers (including the DTX) use a simple DC continuity test for this verification. Unfortunately, this test can be fooled by alternative paths for the test signal, such as a common ground or screens on other cables. The DSX-5000 and 8000 use a more sophisticated method which can determine if the continuity of the screen is maintained “along the path of the cabling”. It can also tell the distance to the shield fault, which greatly simplifies troubleshooting.
8. What other tests are performed by the DSX-8000?
The DSX CableAnalyzer Series (DSX-5000 and DSX-8000) continues to be the only field cable tester that can measure:
- Resistance Unbalance: which is important for successful PoE operation
- TCL and ELTCL balance measurements: which are important for successful 10GBase-T operation.
As noted above, these tests are part of the ANSI/TIA-568.2-D standards for cabling and connectors, but are not required for field testers. These tests are available to DSX users by selecting +ALL when choosing Test Limits.
9. Does the DSX-8000 meet ISO/IEC Class I/II requirements?
Yes, the DSX-8000 has adapters for TERA and GG45/ARJ45 type connectors in accordance with ISO/IEC Class II. The adapters can be found in the table in question 11.
10. Is the DSX-8000 part of the Versiv product family? If so, does it use the same Versiv mainframe and remote as the DSX-5000 and other Versiv products?
Yes, the DSX-8000 is part of the Versiv Cable Certification Family and uses the same Mainframe and Remote as the other Versiv products (DSX-5000, CertiFiber Pro, OptiFiber Pro, and FI-7000). The Versiv family is a modular design with swappable testing modules that provide four types of testing plus report generation software and a cloud service for managing jobs.
11. Will DSX-5000 adapters work with the DSX-8000? Will DSX-8000 adapters work with the DSX-5000?
The following charts show the compatibly between the two measurement modules and their adapters
|DSX-8000 Adapters||Measurement Module Compatibility|
|DSX-PLA804S||Cat 8 Permanent Link Set||No||Yes|
|DSX-CHA804S||Cat 8 Channel Set||No||Yes|
|DSX-PLA-8-TERA-S||TERA Permanent Link Set||No||Yes|
|DSX-CHA-8-TERA-S||TERA Channel Set||No||Yes|
|DSX-5000 Adapters||Measurement Module Compatibility|
|DSX-PLA004S||Cat 6A / Class EA Permanent Link Set||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-CHA004S||Cat 6A / Class EA Channel Set||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-CHA021S||M12 4-Position Set||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-COAX||Coax Adapter Set||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-PC5ES||Cat 5e Patch Cord Set||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-PC6S||Cat 6 Patch Cord Set||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-PC6AS||Cat 6A Patch Cord Set||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-PC5E||Single Adapter for Cat 5e MPTL Testing||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-PC6||Single Adapter for Cat 5e MPTL Testing||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-PC6A||Single Adapter for Cat 5e MPTL Testing||Yes||Yes|
|DSX-5000 Adapters||Measurement Module Compatibility|
|DSX-PLA001||Universal Permanent Link||Yes||No|
|DSX-CHA-5-GG45-S||GG45 Class FA Channel Set||Yes||No|
|DSX-PLA011S||TERA Class FA Permanent Link Set||Yes||No|
|DSX-CHA011S||TERA Class FA Channel Set||Yes||No|
12. Why should I consider buying a Cat 8 tester?
If you’re looking to purchase a tester, you should seriously consider stepping up to the DSX-8000. Testers are a long term investment – thousands of DTX’s that are more than a decade old are still in use today. Given such a long time horizon, it’s difficult to predict whether or not you will encounter Cat 8 technology. The difference in cost between a DSX-8000 and a DSX-5000 is relatively small, while upgrading to Cat 8 afterwards is considerably more expensive, making the DSX-8000 the safer investment.
13. Will the DSX-8000 work with Versiv / LinkWare PC / LinkWare Live?
Yes, the DSX-8000 is fully compatible with all Versiv modules and works with LinkWare Live and LinkWare PC.