3 things you’re likely to see in the TIA-942-B data center standard

May 12, 2016
The current draft of the TIA-942-B standard includes new copper and fiber cable types, and new connectivity technology.

At its January 2016 meeting, the TIA’s TR-42.1 Committee agreed to issue for committee ballot the current draft of the TIA-942-B Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers. That ballot was completed in April. A substantial element in the balloting process is resolving comments made by committee members. The committee ballot that wrapped up in April produced a significant number of comments, which will be resolved when TR-42.1 meets again June 15 and 16.

The first draft of TIA-942-B that went through committee balloting includes the following changes from the TIA-942-A standard.

  1. It incorporates Addendum 1 to the 942-A standard, which addressed data center fabrics, as a new Annex.
  2. It adds 16- and 32-fiber MPO-style array connectors as an additional connector type for termination of more than two fibers. The 16- and 32-fiber connectors were recently standardized when ANSI/TIA-604-18 was published.
  3. It adds Category 8 as an allowable type of balanced twisted-pair cable, and changes the recommendation for Category 6A balanced twisted-pair cable to Category 6A or higher.

There is some likelihood that wideband multimode fiber (WBMMF) will be included in 942-B as both an allowed and a recommended fiber type. The TIA-492-AAAE standard that will specify WBMMF is close to publication.

As the TR-42.1 Committee undertakes the revision process, they are considering the practical reality that the TIA-942 standard series has been used globally. As TIA standards, 942 and 942-A were developed under the processes prescribed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Generally TIA cabling standards are applied in North America. But the 942 series of standards has been unlike many others in that it has been widely adopted in other regions. As such, users of the document outside the United States could benefit if the “B” revision incorporates terms and references that are applicable outside the U.S.

For example, the current “A” version of the standard makes several references to documents published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and used primarily or exclusively in the U.S. Additionally, measurements that reference feet rather than meters appear to be U.S.-centric. And 120V, 20A electrical systems largely apply to U.S. facilities. Through the comment-resolution process, these and other “U.S./international” issues will be resolved. The TR-42.1 Committee has a sizable task ahead of it, with more than 100 pages of comments to resolve by its June meeting.

We will continue to follow the progress of the TIA-942-B standard and report on its developments.

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