10-GbE seen fueling demand for shielded cable

October 23, 2006 -- Cable manufacturers Siemon and Hitachi Cable Manchester report a surge in demand for shielded copper cabling, driven by the wide emergence of 10-Gigabit Ethernet applications.

October 23, 2006 -- Cable manufacturers Siemon and Hitachi Cable Manchester (HCM) have reported a surge in demand for shielded copper cabling, driven by the wide emergence of 10-Gigabit Ethernet applications.

Siemon says it has noticed a strong upward trend in the adoption of its 10-Gbit/sec (10-Gb/s) screened (F/UTP) copper cabling systems, particularly in markets where UTP has traditionally been the most popular option.

"We launched our 10Gb/s 10G 6A F/UTP solution in January 2003 and have offered screened solutions since the early 90's. These systems have enjoyed steady growth," says Robert Carlson, Siemon's VP of global marketing. "But, as the industry got closer to the 10GBASE-T and Category 6A/Class EA standards, there has been a sharp upswing in screened projects, especially in UTP markets like the US, UK, and Asia-Pacific countries."

Similarly, HCM says that demand for its shielded Category 5e and Category 6 cable has "skyrocketed" in the past few months. Lynne Humenik, senior vice president for HCM, says the huge increase in demand is due to trends in data security and the recent ratification of the IEEE 802.3an 10-Gigabit Ethernet standard.

"We're finding that more and more companies are choosing our shielded products due to their inherent immunity from RFI and EMI interference," says Humenik. "They're also choosing our Category 6 ScTP cable because it supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet to 100 meters. As 10-Gigabit Ethernet electronics become more prevalent in the marketplace, we expect demand for our Category 6 ScTP to continue to increase.

Siemon sees the increased demand for screened and shielded cabling as a market-driven response to the limitations of UTP cabling in 10Gbit/sec applications. The inclusion of strict alien crosstalk parameters in the 10-Gbit/sec standards poses "major issues" for UTP systems, contends the company. The company notes that while major cabling manufacturers were able to meet the 10GBASE-T performance requirements and limit alien crosstalk in a UTP configuration, the resulting designs relied on increased cable diameters and restrictive installation practices.

These UTP limitations significantly raised the profile of shielded and/or screened 10-Gbit/sec platforms such as Siemon's 10G 6A F/UTP system, says the company.

Such systems defeat alien crosstalk without requiring major design or installation changes; the company says that this, coupled with "time-saving innovations" such as its Quick-Ground termination and grounding features and decreased installation costs due to greater pathway/conduit fill density, has caused many users to consider using 10-Gbit/sec screened cabling.

Siemon also notes that the rising end user acceptance of screened/shielded cabling systems is further evidenced by a recent trend in the cabling industry, whereby manufacturers at one time known primarily as UTP-focused have begun to enter the screened/sheilded market with their own versions.

"Siemon has spent years globally promoting the benefits of 10-Gbit/sec screened cabling while many other manufacturers downplayed its importance, claiming that it was 'only for Germany,' 'difficult to terminate and ground,' and 'overkill,'" remarks Siemon's Carlson. "Now we see the same companies launching screened systems. It's good to see more manufacturers promoting screened systems as a strong global option to UTP."



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