For years, I have used the term “bedrock” to describe the standards that emanate from the Telecommunications Industry Association’s TR-42 Engineering Committee, covering structured cabling systems, components, and technologies. My use of the word is not an insinuation that the group operates on the level of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Lodge Number 26-of which Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were members in the animated prehistoric town of Bedrock. Rather, I mean the word quite literally the way it is defined in my dictionary: the very basis; the foundation.
To use another term, I believe standards, and TIA standards in particular, are the linchpin of the vast majority of cabling projects in North America. For those among you who are cabling contractors, what percentage of your projects include the requirement that systems be constructed in accordance with the TIA/EIA-568-B specifications? And for those reading this who are cabling-system end users, would you select a bid from a contractor who would not agree to conform to 568-B or any other relevant standard?
The importance of standards among the professionals in the cabling industry has been reinforced for me time and again through various formal and informal measures. From focus groups, to online and print surveys, to everyday conversations with those making a living in this industry, two points have remained consistently evident: having knowledge of existing and emerging standards is crucial to business success; and, it doesn’t seem possible to have “too much” standards information.
The article that begins on page 28 of this issue takes a look at the current goings-on in the TR-42.9 Subcommittee, which is reaching the home stretch of the standardization process for what will be the TIA/EIA-1005 standard addressing cabling systems in industrial environments. In an example of how interrelated or intertwined standards and the groups that create them can be, the article points out that the TIA TR-42.3 Subcommittee, which deals with cabling system pathways and spaces, will produce some of the specifications that users in industrial environments will have to know. Also within that article, some attention is paid-and within the TR-42.9 Subcommittee, much attention is being paid-to the activities surrounding the soon-to-come next generation of TIA/EIA-568. That next version, which will be 568-C, has been discussed in some detail within the pages of this magazine over the past few months.
In another example of standard interrelationship, a case is being made within TR-42 that the 100-meter maximum horizontal distance does not have to apply in all cases, and some of the proposed changes within 568-C open the door for longer horizontal runs. The individuals who are making this case hold up, as Exhibit A, the TIA-942 standard covering data-center cabling systems, which permits horizontal circuits greater than 100 meters.
And in case you have missed it to this point (nod nod, wink wink), the TIA has been working on some specifications that have something to do with running Ethernet traffic at 10 Gigabits per second over twisted-pair cabling systems. Key word there is “working,” because the two primary documents-Addendum 10 to TIA/EIA-568-B.2 and Telecommunications System Bulletin 155-are still works in progress as of the time of this writing.
As always, it is our goal to follow standards activities. This month, we’re doing so in two forms: the previously mentioned article on TIA/EIA-1005, and a live Web seminar on Wednesday, November 15 that will cover 568-C; the longer-distance horizontal question; and the package of TSB-155 and 568-B.2 Addendum 10. If you are reading this after November 15 and missed the live seminar, you can see and hear it at our Webcast page: www.cablinginstall.com/webcast.
If you do view the seminar, please drop me a line to let me know what you think of it. We’re striving to provide you useful and practical information, because when it comes to the bedrock of today’s Information Age, you don’t have time for anything whose relevance is akin to that from Bedrock of the Stone Age.