Mark A. DeSorbo
Scope Communications Inc. (Marlboro, MA) has released an upgrade of its Version 5.0 software for the WireScope 155 cable analyzer and Fiber SmartProbe, a continuing step in providing free upgrades for users of its handheld network testing tool, says marketing manager Eric Olson.
The software will support Gigabit Ethernet media testing and the imminent addenda for standards published by the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Electronic Industries Alliance (TIA/EIA--Arlington, VA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ieee--New York City).
With the introduction of the software, the WireScope 155 and Fiber SmartProbe, which attaches to the WireScope 155, become the only copper/fiber testing solution to provide complete certification of unshielded twisted-pair (utp) cable and multimode and singlemode fiber for compliance with Gigabit Ethernet standards.
"The fact that we do all the utp specifications for Gigabit Ethernet with our 155 and that our Fiber SmartProbe measures loss and length on multimode and singlemode fiber allows us to say we are the only test-equipment products for copper and fiber Gigabit Ethernet certification," Olson says. "You need all those testing measurements to completely certify Gigabit Ethernet on all three types of media."
The software will also support the emerging tia/eia-568a draft Addenda 4 and 5 for Level II-E testers and enhanced Category 5 cabling. Requirements for return loss and equal-level far-end crosstalk (ELFEXT) will be added in Addendum 4, which is slated for ratification this year. Addendum 5 will tighten the limits for cabling parameters such as near-end crosstalk, far-end crosstalk, and return loss to provide improved noise margins for 1000Base-T equipment. The revisions represent the tia`s efforts to define new cabling parameters before the 1000Base-T standard is published.
Asked if the software was upgraded specifically for the addenda, Olson replied: "The main impetus was the Gigabit Ethernet profile test, but we figured we`d add it in."
In addition, a WireScope 155 with Version 5.0 software will perform all testing requirements of the ieee 802.3ab draft standard for Gigabit Ethernet over twisted-pair cable (1000Base-T), slated for revision in early 1999. It will also qualify multimode and singlemode fiber cabling for compliance with the 802.3z Gigabit Ethernet draft specifications over fiber cabling (1000Base-LX and 1000Base-SX). The 1000Base-T standard was developed to augment the installed base of Category 5 utp. The complex modulation technology developed for 1000Base-T, however, is sensitive to cabling performance characteristics that were not defined in the original Category 5 utp cabling or testing specifications. Therefore, it will be necessary to retest existing Category 5 installations for compliance with these additional requirements before running 1000Base-T traffic over these installations.
The new Category 5 parameters required to ensure 1000Base-T support are elfext, return loss, and delay skew. The gigabit profile network test will qualify installed utp cable for each of these parameters and compare them to the draft limit specifications to provide a pass or fail result. Any changes to the 802.3 draft specifications will be incorporated into a future software release to protect customer investments in the WireScope 155.
Version 5.0 software is available free of charge to all current users of WireScope 155 on Scope`s Web site at www. scope.com. For a copy of the software on diskette, call (800) 418-7111.