The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) TR-42 Telecommunications Cabling Systems Engineering Committee has approved the ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1 specifications for Category 8 cabling systems. The document is now awaiting publication and is likely to be available soon. The Category 8 standard document was developed by the TR-42.7 Telecommunications Copper Cabling Systems Subcommittee.
The TR-42 Committee and its subcommittees are meeting the week of June 13-17 in Portland, OR. During the TR-42 opening plenary session on June 13, the TR-42.7 Subcommittee’s report included the news that since the last TR-42 meeting (which was held in late January), the Category 8 standard “has been approved for publication, expected soon.”
Category 8 cabling infrastructure has been designed to support short-distance (between 5 and 30 meters) runs of 25- or 40-Gbit/sec transmission. In October 2015 we published this article titled “Category 8 Questions Answered,” in which we relayed information supplied by several members of TIA TR-42.7. One question we asked was, “What communication or collaboration is taking place between the TIA and the IEEE—particularly the 802.3bq Task Force—to ensure the TIA’s Category 8 specifications are in concert with the IEEE’s 40GBase-T and 25GBase-T specifications?” To that question, CommScope’s Masood Shariff responded, “The IEEE 802.3bq Task Force is collaborating with TIA TR-42.7 and ISO/IEC/JTC 1/SC 25/WG3 to ensure consistency and compatibility of the cabling specifications within the ‘link segment’ specifications in IEEE 802.3bq applications. Liaison letters to clarify requirements or provide additional information are generated at most meetings and latest drafts of the TIA and ISO Category 8 specifications are sent to the IEEE 802.3bq committee, where they are posted in a ‘private,’ password-protected area for members to review and comment. The relationship between the IEEE 802.3bq and its companion cabling standards organizations has been very positive and constructive, with several common members attending the meetings.”
As the IEEE continues to work toward its 25GBase-T and 40GBase-T specifications, the TIA’s Category 8 cabling specs to support those applications are now final. But this significant milestone is not by any means the proverbial end of the line for Category 8 cabling. The next wave of development will be products coming onto the market. We will continue our efforts to stay in close touch with the industry’s suppliers and bring you news of Category 8 component and system introductions.