June is graduation season for high schools throughout the United States. And I'd be willing to bet that at more than 25 percent of high school graduations, some reference is made to the Dr. Seuss book "Oh, the Places You'll Go." Written as a pep talk of sorts for new graduates, the book combines encouragement with gentle advice and moral support.
"You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed," the reader is told. "You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead."
Forgive me for turning everything into a story about cabling. But one could (with an imagination on the scale of Dr. Seuss's) see the book as homage to twisted-pair copper cabling. In a point-of-view column in this issue, Harshang Pandya reflects, "We are used to, and comfortable with, a typical commercial office building as the site at which we install cabling. But what would you think about installing cables at a 'site' that is actually the interior of an automobile?" Oh, the places you'll go, twisted-pair cable.
In this case, it's really a place cable has already gone. The use of twisted-pair cable in automobiles is far beyond the conceptual stage; it's reality today. Last year the IEEE published 802.3bp, specifying the delivery of gigabit speed over a single twisted pair, 1000Base-T1. In 2015 the institute published 802.3bw, specifying 100Base-T1. In a document titled "Fact Sheet Single Pair Ethernet," connectivity producer Harting tells us, "In these two standards a 15-meter channel over one unshielded twisted pair of wires is defined for use in the vehicle. Furthermore, both standards also include the parameter definitions for a 40-meter transmission channel over one shielded and twisted pair of wires for use in trucks, buses, aircraft, trains, and industrial applications."
The deployment of cabling systems inside automobiles probably doesn't represent much business opportunity for professionals who design or install communications systems for enterprise or data center user organizations. But the ability for a single-pair cable and connector to support gigabit speeds to 40 meters in an industrial environment ... that sounds like a prospect that many of you could sink your professional teeth into. A task group within the TIA's TR-42.9 Industrial Telecommunications Infrastructure Committee has been, and continues to be, hard at work specifying the physical layer cabling for such transmission.
Over the next few years, I think the most progressive planners in our industry will be equipping industrial facilities for their digital futures. I'll remind those planners, and those facilities: "You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed." Oh, the places you'll go.