Increasing speeds, increasing scrutiny

Twenty pages worth of articles in this month's issue exemplify this publication's attempts to keep you informed.

by Patrick McLaughlin

Twenty pages worth of articles in this month's issue exemplify this publication's attempts to keep you informed.

Beginning on page 11, freelance writer Betsy Ziobron dissects the issue of testing Category 6A systems for their readiness to handle 10GBase–T. While this topic is hardly new, Ziobron's article covers some relatively recent happenings in the Category 6A testing arena—most notably, that several manufacturers are offering application–support warranties without requiring alien–crosstalk testing. As you might imagine, opinions differ on the security of such assurances.

Then, two successive articles leap ahead in transmission rate to 40 and 100 Gbits/sec. Each takes an angle on the in–development 40– and 100–Gbit Ethernet specifications from a fiber–optic perspective. As you read these articles, it becomes apparent that the contributors take different positions on the relative importance of certain transmission–performance characteristics of OM3 fiber.

Here's the rub: If you read one of those articles without reading the other, you'll get just one perspective on the topic. If you read them both, you'll see they don't agree with each other on all fronts, and you mayquestion the value of a publication that puts apparently contradictory information between its covers.

So what do you do? Of course, I hope you read all these articles. But even more, I hope you're able to use the information to help you plan for decisions that will be coming your way sooner or later. The prospect of testing Category 6A systems is becoming real for growing numbers of structuredcabling system designers, installers, and users. The article discussing this issue would/could/should help you right now if you're facing decisionsrelated to 6A infrastructure.

Hopefully, the dueling articles on parallel optics and future–generation networking (40– and 100–GbE as well as Fibre Channel and other protocols) will help to prep you for longer–range decisions when speeds as audacious as 100–Gbits/sec approach the enterprise. Some of the discussion in these two articles may bring back memories from more than a decade ago when Gigabit Ethernet was comingof age. It put multimode fiber to the test; some passed and some did not.

As networking speeds march ahead and the Layer One systems you build are charged with supporting those speeds, we at Cabling Installation & Maintenance aim to helpyou learn from the past, make in–formed decisions in the present, and prepare yourselves for the future. Let us know how we're doing.

Patrick McLaughlin
Chief Editor

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