Plenum-cable clause an issue with pending TIA-942-A standard

Oct. 8, 2011
Group cannot agree on whether to include or exclude a specific reference to plenum-rated cable in access-floor environments.

The Telecommunications Industry Association's Engineering Committee TR-42, Telecommunications Cabling Systems, along with subcommittees within TR-42 met the week of October 3-7. Among the work completed by the TR-42.1 subcommittee was to further advance TIA-942-A, the first revision of the standard addressing cabling systems for data centers.

We have reported in the past about the progress being made within TR-42.1, including the types of multimode fiber-optic media and optical connectivity that the standard, when finalized, will recommend for use in data centers. One of the issues currently being debated within TR-42.1 is whether or not to include in 942-A a reference to plenum-rated cable in underfloor environments. As the 942-A standard was being developed, somewhere along the line a clause was included, stating that in some jurisdictions plenum-rated cable is the minimum requirement for telecom cabling being placed under access floors in computer rooms. The clause included the instruction to consult the authority-having-jurisdiction before placing cable in such an access-floor space. As the standard moved through the balloting process, a proposal was made to remove the clause. Now there is opposition to removing it.

The upshot is that TR-42.1 will have to resolve whether to include or exclude the plenum-cable clause in TIA-942-A, and the standard will not advance any further in the development process until the group has reached such resolution. TIA TR-42 meets three times per year; the October meetings were the last of 2011. The scheduled meeting dates for 2012 are February 6-10, June 4-8 and October 1-5. It is possible that all outstanding items with the standard will be resolved in the February 2012 meeting; if that's the case the document will go into what is called final default ballot. If there are still objections after the February meeting, the June meeting will be the next opportunity to resolve them before going to final default ballot and ultimately submitting the standard for publication.

A web seminar taking place on October 12 (then available on-demand for six months thereafter) will look at the status of 942-A as well as other in-the-works standards from TIA TR-42. You can register for that seminar here.

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