Category 6A Patch Cord Certification

The DTX-1800 CableAnalyzer has an adapter for certifying Category 6A patch cords, the DTX-PC6AS. A Youtube video is also available showing you how to certify a patch cord.

When you look at the photo of the patch cord adapter, you will notice that the Category 6A text on the case has a lower case A. When you see the lower case A, we are indeed talking about Category 6A found in the international standard ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2. The DTX-PC6AS will only let you test to the international ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 standard. It will not permit you to test to the ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 standard. The following article explains why.

When certifying a patch cord to Category 5e, we can use the same Category 5e jack in the Patch Cord Adapter to test to both ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 and ISO/IEC 11801 standards. This is also true for certifying Category 6 patch cords. That’s because the connecting hardware requirements for Category 5e and 6 are the same in these two standards. However, that is not the case for ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 Category 6A and ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 Category 6A.

Since connecting hardware requirements are different between ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 Category 6A and ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 Category 6A, it is not possible to make one Patch Cord Adapter which certifies against both standards. This is complicated by the fact that it is difficult to produce jacks that are suitable for patch cord testing. For practical purposes, preferred vendors of specialty connectors have tuned jacks to the more stringent NEXT requirements of the ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 standard. For this reason, Fluke Networks is unable to offer a Patch Cord Test Adapter for certifying to the ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 Category 6A standard.

This raises the inevitable question; “Will certifying my patch cord to ISO/IEC guarantee the patch cord is also TIA compliant because the connecting hardware requirement is stricter in ISO/IEC?” The technical response is “no” due to the way the equations are derived for the test limits and the upper and lower tolerances of acceptable performance of the patch cord jacks. That is why the DTX will not allow you to test to the TIA Category 6A Patch Cord limits in the DTX. However, practically speaking the answer is “should do”.

So our patch cord adapters are capable of:
It is fair to assume that a patch cord tested with the DTX-PC6AS Patch Cord Test Adapters against the ISO/IEC limits can also be considered compliant with TIA requirements:

  • When we’re certifying the patch cord, we’re looking at the plug termination for NEXT.
  • The NEXT plug requirements are the same in ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 as they are in ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 (It's the jacks that are different)
  • If the mated NEXT performance of the RJ45 plug is acceptable against the ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 limits and ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 connecting hardware, it follows that it will also be acceptable when that same RJ45 plug is mated with ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 connecting hardware against ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 test limits.

We certified a patch cord to the ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 test limits using an ISO/IEC compliant patch cord jack (Figure 1). We then were able to find a jack that met the connecting hardware requirements for ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 patch cord certification. Using the same patch cord, it was retested against the TIA test limits. (Figure 2). 

                                                                  Figure 1                                                                                                                                                      Figure 2

The data shows there is little difference in the mated margins when the correct limits are applied, and that a patch cord tested with the more stringent ISO requirements should also pass the TIA requirements.

The DTX CableAnalyzer is the only field tester trusted by top cabling manufacturers to perform component testing for cable and connecting hardware. Most often this testing is performed in a laboratory environment using specialty adapters. But with the DTX-PCXXS Patch Cord Test Adapters, component patch cord certification can be performed in a production environment or even in the field to ensure quality and compliance. Unlike Category 6 and 5e, requirements of ISO and TIA standards for test adapters cannot be met with a universal Cat 6A solution. So for practical purposes, the more stringent ISO/IEC 11801:2010 AMD2 requirements have been used. This has a strong logical basis and been accepted by some of the world’s most respected technologists, and data acquired shows a strong correlation that a passing result will also indicate acceptable performance to ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 requirements. The marriage between a link certified with a permanent link adapter that has an electrically centered plug, a patch cord that is certified with an adapter featuring a jack that meets special requirements goes on to produce a standards compliant channel capable of performing to expectations.