Siemon Co. advocates cable sharing

May 22, 2006 -- Siemon Co. reports that its fully-shielded category 7/class F cabling allows multiple applications to run over a single cable, potentially reducing the number of copper cabling channels while mitigating the effect of rising copper prices.

Siemon Co. reports that its fully-shielded category 7/class F cabling allows multiple applications to run over a single cable, potentially reducing the number of copper cabling channels. The company contends that cable sharing via cat 7/class F media can help to offset the effect of rising copper prices for network infrastructures.

The company notes that, according to the London Metal Exchange (LME), the price of copper has tripled in the past four years, rising over 59% between January and May of 2006 alone. With copper prices soaring globally and showing little signs of stabilizing, the company observes that network cabling companies have been forced to adjust copper cable pricing accordingly.

"Enterprises are facing difficult network infrastructure decisions," comments Bob Carlson, Siemon's VP of global marketing. "It is a well-established best-practice to install a future-proof cabling plant capable of supporting the next generation of application speeds. The total cost of ownership on 10Gbit/sec-capable cabling is far better than lower performing options. While these full-lifecycle savings hold true even with increasing copper prices, the up-front costs can act as a deterrent."

According to the company, enterprises are under pressure to balance long-term costs with current expenditures. Rising copper prices have led some to explore fiber to the desk alternatives; although fiber can provide a future-proof option, the company observes that it is not capable of supporting the growing demand for Power over Ethernet applications, and that the cost of fiber electronics remains prohibitively high for horizontal applications.

The company says that its TERA brand of fully-shielded (S/FTP) category 7/class F copper cabling is capable of supporting application speeds well beyond 10 Gbit/sec, and that the media's "future-proof" performance provides an extended cabling lifecycle, capable of driving the total cost of ownership well below that of category 5e, category 6, and even category 6A UTP cabling. (Source: Cabling Lifecycles and Total Cost of Ownership, C. Higbie, 4/2006)

The company adds that, while long-term savings and performance capabilities beyond 10 Gbit/sec are driving global adoption of the TERA system, the system's singular cable-sharing ability in support of lower speed applications can provide "up-front savings" through the reduction of cable counts. By combining the use of one TERA outlet dedicated for high-speed applications and another for cable sharing of lower speed voice and video applications, end users simultaneously benefit from the highest performing and most cost-effective copper platform, contends the company.

Accepted by both TIA and ISO, cable sharing describes the practice of running more than one application over different pairs of a twisted-pair copper telecommunications channel. In the case of Siemon's category 7/class F TERA, up to four applications can be supported with a single cable. This ability is a function of both cable and outlet construction. (Source: Cable Sharing in Commercial Building Environments: Reducing Cost, Simplifying Cable Management, and Converging Applications onto Twisted-Pair Media, V. Rybinski, 4/2006)

By virtue of individually foil-wrapped pairs and overall screen, S/FTP cable exhibits excellent internal, pair-to-pair crosstalk control. This allows separate applications to run without interference from others within the same sheath. The cable construction is further supported by the TERA 4-quandrant isolated outlet, the only non-RJ category 7 interface recognized by ISO/IEC.

Fitting within a standard RJ footprint, the combination of the TERA outlet and cord options allows extremely simple facilitation of cable sharing. As with traditional cabling channels, all four pairs of each cable are terminated in a single outlet. However, unlike an RJ interface, the TERA outlet can support up to 4 one-pair cords, 2 two-pair cords or a combination of the two, without the need for additional splitters or adapters. Using these features, many popular applications may be converged onto a single cable, including: analog voice, 1 pair; VoIP, 2 pair; Video over IP, 2 pair; CATV, 1 pair; CCTV, 1 pair; and 10/100BASE-T, 2 pair

Depending on the applications supported, a single TERA cable can replace up to 4 copper channels. With copper prices significantly raising the cost of cable, Siemon contends that this reduction in total cable runs can provide an immediate cost benefit.

Siemon Co.'s Val Rybinski has authored an article on cable sharing that will appear in the June issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

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