Worldwide agreement on cabling standards

Wouldn`t it be nice . . . if there were one worldwide standard for each of the premises-cabling segments, including cable, pathways and spaces, grounding and bonding, and administrative monitoring? Some industry leaders think that it`s possible. In fact, they believe it`s already happening.

Ron Karjian

Wouldn`t it be nice . . . if there were one worldwide standard for each of the premises-cabling segments, including cable, pathways and spaces, grounding and bonding, and administrative monitoring? Some industry leaders think that it`s possible. In fact, they believe it`s already happening.

Standards groups covering emerging technologies such as enhanced Category 5 and Category 6, Gigabit Ethernet, upgraded field testers, and fire-safe cable are forging alliances with national and international organizations as they work toward more universal protocols. "There`s dramatic growth in standards development participation and increased harmonization with international standards bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization [iso--Geneva]," says John Siemon, engineering vice president of The Siemon Co. (Watertown, CT). "This kind of coop- eration has led to a progressively greater understanding of issues that influence evolving specifications on cabling and components. For example, far-end crosstalk and other phenomena have emerged as important performance drivers."

"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them," quips Jay Warmke, executive director of bicsi (Tampa, FL), who points out the plethora of standards organizations around the world. "We currently have the Telecommunications Industry Association [Arlington, VA], the Electronic Industries Alliance [Arlington, VA], the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [New York City], the iso, the European standards, and any number of country-specific cabling standards. Driven by the reality that the cabling industry is global in nature, both from a supplier and consumer perspective, one common world cabling standard will emerge. It will be a bloody battle, but it`s hoped that the emerging standard will incorporate the best that each separate standard has to offer."

"As a result," adds David Hess, product marketing vice president at Alcatel Cabling Systems (Malvern, PA), "we`re going to end up with a lot of categories of cable, and they`re all going to be relevant."

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