A tool available on Panduit's web site allows users to calculate the labor cost for testing alien crosstalk in Category 6A twisted-pair cabling systems. The calculator might be considered a gimmick, as Panduit's message is that users will save the total amount of money by not having to conduct alien-crosstalk testing when using the company's TX6A and TX6A-SD twisted-pair systems. Even with that undertone, users may find the calculator a usable tool.
Users of the calculator input answers to the following questions.
- How many Category 6A ports are there in the project?
- How many disturber cables are being tested around the victim? (average for project)
- How many hours is the typical workshift?
- What is the efficiency rate of the workforce? (percentage)
- What is the labor rate per hour?
- Are both ends of the channel in the same room?
- Are communication devices available to coordinate testing between workers?
- How far apart are the connections? (distance between ports in feet)
- Are you required to test both ends?
- Are you testing permanent link or channel?
- Will internal test data be done at the same time as alien crosstalk testing?
- Does the facility have power for laptops, radios and testers (or extra batteries)?
With that information, the calculator determines the test time, in hours; the test time with efficiency; the total number of hours required; and the cost for labor.
Anyone using the calculator can choose to have the results emailed to them.
The question of whether or not an installed Category 6A twisted-pair cabling system must be tested for alien crosstalk has been debated. Several system manufacturers, like Panduit, have proclaimed such assurance in their systems' ability to perform that they do not require alien-crosstalk testing in order to issue a warranty. On the other hand Fluke Networks, which has developed technology to conduct alien-crosstalk testing, has advised that such tests are best practices. Fluke Networks has pointed out that despite the high level of engineering and manufacturing of the products in a cabling system, the system's performance is also contingent upon it being installed correctly. While that debate may continue for some time, the online calculator available from Panduit can be a practical resource for both entities - those who conduct alien-crosstalk testing and those who do not.