Siemon recently announced the development of its Quick-Ground line of connectors and patch panels, for use with the company's fully shielded category 7/class F TERA and screened category 6A 10G 6A F/UTP systems.
According to the company, unlike category 6A UTP cables, which control alien crosstalk through larger cable diameters and the resulting increase in conductor separation, screened and shielded cables eliminate crosstalk by encasing pairs in metal foil, either with an overall foil (F/UTP) or individually foil-wrapped pairs and overall braided shield (S/FTP).
The company notes that while screened and shielded systems offer superior alien crosstalk performance in smaller cable diameters than UTP and can reclaim pathway space, they must be grounded for proper performance. In primarily UTP markets such as the U.S., confusion regarding grounding practices has caused some to avoid these products; the company says its Quick-Ground connectors were developed as a way to alleviate this confusion.
The company says that both its TERA and 10G 6A F/UTP MAX outlets incorporate "tool-less termination features," automatically terminating the shield or screen of their respective S/FTP and F/UTP cables, providing ground continuity to the outlet body. Used in a telecommunications room or data center, the company says its TERA-MAX patch panel provides additional, integrated ground continuity.
The company says that as the TERA or 10G 6A F/UTP modules are snapped into TERA-MAX panels, the modules automatically connect to a ground point, without additional steps, requiring only a 6-gauge wire connection from the TERA-MAX's provided ground lug to the equipment rack in order to complete the grounding. Provided that all grounding and bonding standards have been followed for the active equipment, the aforementioned steps are all that's required for grounding a screened or shielded system, according to Siemon.
"Having sold screened and shielded cabling solutions globally and into high-noise environments in historically UTP markets for years, we continually saw the performance benefits of these systems, particularly in 10-Gbit/sec applications," comments Tony Veatch, Siemon's product manager. "But there were places where the idea of grounding still presented uncertainty."
Veatch says that the company's research indicated a widespread misconception of the grounding process, assuming that complex additional steps and expertise were required as well as increased installation times.
"That just isn't true," he continues. "Both TERA and 10G 6A F/UTP take the guesswork out of grounding. Through standard installation practices, the grounding of the cabling plant is covered in about the same time as one would expect to install a category 6A UTP system."
A time study performed at Siemon Labs reinforces Veatch's assertion, showing termination times of less than 3 minutes for both TERA and 10G 6A F/UTP outlets, according to the company.
For videos detailing termination for TERA and 10G 6A F/UTP outlets go to http://www.siemon.com/us/download/installation.asp#videos. For more information on grounding and bonding of screened and shielded systems, a whitepaper is available at http://www.siemon.com/us/white_papers/06-07-20-grounding.asp.