Standards group prepares for gigabit traffic on Category 5 cables

Working Group TR-41.8.1 within the Telecommunications Industry Association (tia--Arlington, VA) is working to categorize the transmission performance of Category 5 cabling for Gigabit Ethernet applications. The group`s goal is to complete the specifications for a minimally compliant Category 5 channel. Most of the installed base of Category 5 cabling will likely meet this specification, which will include requirements for worst-case channel return loss, multidistributor near-end crosstalk, and f

Nov 1st, 1997

Paul Kish, NORDX/CDT

Working Group TR-41.8.1 within the Telecommunications Industry Association (tia--Arlington, VA) is working to categorize the transmission performance of Category 5 cabling for Gigabit Ethernet applications. The group`s goal is to complete the specifications for a minimally compliant Category 5 channel. Most of the installed base of Category 5 cabling will likely meet this specification, which will include requirements for worst-case channel return loss, multidistributor near-end crosstalk, and far-end crosstalk.

The group is also developing specifications for an enhanced Category 5 channel for new installations. An enhanced Category 5 channel is defined as a channel with improved performance specified up to 100 megahertz.

The working group hopes to approve both documents as addenda to the tia/eia-568a commercial building wiring standard by February 1998. To achieve this objective, the group has scheduled interim meetings to review technical contributions from the association`s membership. The technical contributions reviewed to date reflect the significance of installation practices and the importance of connecting hardware on overall channel performance--particularly at frequencies between 20 and 100 MHz.

The TR-41.8.1 Working Group has also agreed to consider proposals for next-generation cabling with frequency performance beyond 100 MHz. Such proposals will need to address issues of measurement accuracy and the limitations of 8-pin modular connections.

The group has also received input from Working Group 802.3 of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ieee) regarding next-generation cabling and is awaiting additional information from the ieee`s committee on cabling channels that will support the next anticipated network architecture after 1000Base-T.

Paul Kish is manager of ibdn systems and standards for nordx/cdt (St. Laurent, QC, Canada). He chairs the tia TR-41.8.1 Working Group.

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