Research finds Cat 5 still rules horizontal

Despite its banishment into Annex D of the TIA/EIA-568B cabling standard, Category 5 cabling still rules horizontal spaces, according to a study that Sage Research Inc. (www.sageresearch.com) completed in May

Jul 1st, 2001
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Despite its banishment into Annex D of the TIA/EIA-568B cabling standard, Category 5 cabling still rules horizontal spaces, according to a study that Sage Research Inc. (www.sageresearch.com) completed in May. In Network Cabling 2001: A Quantitative Analysis, Sage reports that 87% of the 130 participating end-user organizations have some amount of Category 5 cabling in the horizontal. And for the organizations with Category 5, it accounts for more than 70% of their horizontal cabling.

"The study's focus was on LAN-related cabling," said Kathryn Korostoff, Sage's president. "We asked users if their LAN cabling also carries voice, and in a few cases, the answer was yes," she continued.

Despite Category 5's continued dominance, Category 5e and multimode fiber-optic cabling are growing steadily in deployment, according to Sage. Twenty-seven percent of the organizations studied deploy Category 5e in the horizontal systems-almost double the percentage that used Category 5e when Sage conducted a similar study two years ago. Additionally, 24% of users now have some multimode fiber in the horizontal. That figure is also nearly twice the figure from two years ago.


While Category 5 continues to dominate in the horizontal network, Category 5e use has nearly doubled over the last two years.
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Network Cabling 2001 also examined wireless LAN use, and Korostoff reported that results of this study are consistent with Sage's February 2001 study devoted to wireless. At that time, Sage said 19% of small and medium businesses were using wireless LANs, and that an additional 38% planned to deploy wireless LANs by August. In February, Sage reported that more than half of wireless LAN users had only a small minority of their network-attached nodes running over wireless. So, while the number of organizations deploying the technology was high, the scope of deployment within most small and medium-sized businesses was limited.

Also in the most recent study, Sage reports that nearly two out of three companies plan to upgrade their cabling infrastructures within the next two years. "With the ever-growing demands being placed on networks, it is not at all surprising that businesses are aggressively planning changes to their cabling infrastructure, both to support new sites and workgroups and to replace existing cabling," Korostoff commented.

And with the TIA recommending Category 5e as the minimum-performance twisted-pair cabling type for new data installations, Category 5 may soon lose its firm grip on the horizontal space.
-Patrick McLaughlin

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