TIA revising cabling guidelines for wireless access points

TSB-162-A will meet the needs of wireless LANs that can reach 7.3-Gbit/sec transmission rates.

A task force within the Telecommunications Industry Association’s TR-42 Committee is working to revise the cabling guidelines for wireless access points. TSB-162 Telecommunications Cabling Guidelines for Wireless Access Points was published in 2006, before the IEEE made official its 802.11n specifications. In the seven-plus years since TSB-162’s publication, not only has 802.11n been widely deployed, but the IEEE also has worked toward creating higher-speed 802.11ac and 802.11ad specifications. The task force is revising that document, which ultimately will be published as TIA TSB-162-A.

In an interview with Cabling Installation & Maintenance for an article that will appear in the magazine’s August 2013 issue, task force leader Masood Shariff observed what will take place when users begin to step up from 802.11n to 802.11ac wireless LANs: “As 802.11ac clients become more widely deployed, and additional channels are made active in the WAP to increase throughput and capacity, the backhaul data rate will exceed 1 Gbit/sec and may ultimately reach up to 7.3 Gbits/sec. Therefore, and somewhat paradoxically, wireless will be the first application to exceed the performance of Category 6 cabling.” He points out also that while TSB-162 “recognizes that initially the backhaul requirements may be addressed with multiple cables to the WAP and link aggregation, it recommends Category 6A for WAP cabling.”

The revision, TSB-162-A, has gone through a single ballot cycle. A document of this type typically goes through several such cycles before its specifications are finalized. Nonetheless, the performance levels specified are balanced twisted-pair Category 6A or two-fiber multimode OM3 or higher.

Any timeline for the publication of a standard, or TSB in this case, from the TIA is written in sand rather than stone. The documents are developed on a consensus basis, so a single dissenting voice can wreak havoc on a projected timeline. Even so, experienced participants in the process see it as likely that by spring 2014 the document will be approved for publication.

We are gathering more details, which will be included in the article appearing in our August issue.

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