Agilent upgrade may signal the end of Cat 6 test adapters

The WireScope operation of Agilent Technologies (Marlborough, MA) is suggesting that the introduction of its Version 2.1 software for the WireScope 350 may signal the beginning of the end of vendor-specific Category 6 test adapter cords

The WireScope operation of Agilent Technologies (Marlborough, MA) is suggesting that the introduction of its Version 2.1 software for the WireScope 350 may signal the beginning of the end of vendor-specific Category 6 test adapter cords.

In announcing the software upgrade, Agilent said its WireScope 350 "supports Category 6 testing with a universal link adapter, Link SmartProbe."

"In view of the impressive progress in the performance of Category 6 connecting hardware, a universal test cord for testing basic and permanent links can be successfully used now, even before the release of the Category 6 standard," says Fanny Mlinarsky, general manager of the WireScope operation. "Most of the connections installed today meet Category 6 requirements, diminishing the need for vendor-specific cords," she adds.

Mlinarsky also says, however, that Agilent will continue to support vendor-specific cords, because they "could benefit installations with narrow test margins." According to the company, a new auto-cancellation technology that's also included in Agilent's software upgrade completely removes the channel-test interface from the measured data. This technology is significant, Agilent claims, because with Category 6's slim test margins, the uncancelled test connections can result in failures.

The auto-cancellation algorithm "automatically determines the specific compensation parameters for a wide variety of modular plugs used in the channels, and is able to remove the contribution of the mated connection at the channel adapter from the measurements," according to a release issued by Agilent.

-Patrick McLaughlin

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