Setting the standard

Imagine for a moment that the professionals who specify, design, install, and manage structured cabling systems had to do so without the opportunity to reference standards in their everyday work.

Imagine for a moment that the professionals who specify, design, install, and manage structured cabling systems had to do so without the opportunity to reference standards in their everyday work. OK, the moment is over; you can stop imagining, if you even were able to do so.

Standards are everywhere in our industry, and as some of this issue’s reporting details, more rather than fewer of them will be entering the scene soon. Currently, a subcommittee within the TR-42 Engineering Committee of Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA; www.tiaonline.org) is working to set specifications for the installation of cabling systems in health care environments (page 7).

From a completely different direction, this issue also brings you information about the recently launched Energy Star for computer servers program from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; www.epa.gov). The same article (page 21) also goes into detail about the work being done for the 2010 kickoff of the Energy Star rating for data center facilities. Even though the processes by which TIA specifications and Energy Star specifications could be contrasted moreso than compared, the ultimate product of each process is a standard.

Pretty much the rest of the issue is devoted to such superfluous topics (note the sarcasm in my typing) as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE; www.ieee.org) Power over Ethernet Plus and 10GBase-T specifications (pages 17 and 13 respectively) as well as some early progress from groups PSIA (www.psialliance.org) and ONVIF (www.onvif.org) to standardize IP-based security devices (page 27).

One of my very first assignments in this industry was to cover some goings-on around the TIA’s Telecommunications Systems Bulletin TSB-67. That was the set of specifications (technically, a TSB and not a full-fledged standard) for testing Category 5 cabling systems. Those who have been in the industry awhile probably remember the days of Category 5 testing prior to TSB-67. That document brought order to a process that was pretty chaotic. I remember it well because of the troubling mix of technical data and marketing frenzy that was something of a runaway train.

While we still deal with that mix to some extent today, the industry’s standards at least give us a benchmark from which to work. I’ve been as critical as anyone about the manner in which standards sometimes come together, or don’t, in a very timely manner because of the strategic delay tactics of some. But given a choice to take standards or leave them, I’ll take them.

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN
Chief Editor
Twitter.com/cablingmag

More Cable Installation & Maintenance Issue Articles

More in Cabling Standards