The TIA TR-42 Committee recently approved the ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1 specifications for Category 8 cabling systems. Developed by the TR-42.7 Telecommunications Copper Cabling Systems Subcommittee, the Category 8 standard is, as of mid-June, awaiting publication and likely will be available soon.
The TR-42 Committee and its subcommittees met 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 time of the last TR-42 meeting, held in late January, the Category 8 standard "has been approved for publication."
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 an 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 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 wiht 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 the 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 industry suppliers and bring you news of Category 8 component and systems introductions.