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Buck will stop with installers

Grant Buckler writes in this issue's cover story that the lines between data, voice and video are disappearing, and in many cases so are the wires. In other words, there is enormous change occurring i...


November 1, 2005  


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Grant Buckler writes in this issue’s cover story that the lines between data, voice and video are disappearing, and in many cases so are the wires. In other words, there is enormous change occurring in this New World Order in which there is as much demand for copper as there is fiber.

That is particularly true when it comes to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, a subject that will be covered in-depth in our next issue.

The Siemon Company recently pointed out in an electronic FAQ posted on its web site that demand for reliability and Quality of Service (QoS) has never been greater now that voice, data and video networks are being converged onto a single infrastructure.

“Specifically, a structured cabling system capable of delivering 10Gb/s services is the minimum requirement to ensure future compatibility with emerging services.”

What this all means is that the performance bar has been raised, particularly for the structured cabling installer.

In a white paper released earlier this year, Panduit Corp. noted that all components in a 10 Gigabit Ethernet system are important. Jack modules, copper cable, patch panels, and patch cords must be precisely tuned to achieve 10 Gigabit speeds. Enhancing a cable or connectivity component alone is insufficient.

” Ten Gigabit Ethernet performance has raised the bar for copper structured cabling systems. The IEEE requires Category 6 electrical channel parameters to be extended from the current 250 MHz to 500 MHz.

“(An IEEE) draft also introduces PowerSum Alien Crosstalk requirements up to 500 MHz and calls for the use of the line-encoding scheme PAM12. While the draft standard recognizes that Category 6 cabling systems may support 10 Gigabit Ethernet over limited distances, only new augmented Category 6 copper cabling systems will be able to support 10Gb/s data rates for distances up to 100 meters.”

John Bakowski, the incoming president of BICSI, says that in a 10 Gig world, the quality bar is not only raised, the job has to be done once and it has to be done right.

Meanwhile, Rob Stevenson, a member of CNS’ Editorial Advisory Board and communications division manager at Toronto contractor Guild Electric Ltd. says 10-gigabit networks will give installers less margin for error.

“In general, the tolerances on your workmanship are a lot slimmer, so you have to take a lot more care and a lot more attention to detail,” he warns in our cover story.

Peter Sharp, our newest board member, says that that the lack of understanding of augmented Category 6’s physical requirements could lead to substandard installations.

The cable’s thickness will require 1.25-inch conduit instead of smaller sizes common now, bigger cable raceways will be needed and the bending radius should be larger, but Sharp expects many installations will ignore these issues, and “the result is that inferior installations will be put into effect.”

Sharp, whose areas of specialty include industrial telecommunications infrastructure, is a senior consultant with Giffels Associate Limited, and the past chair of the TIA TR42.9 industrial telecommunications subcommittee, and the current chair of TR42.5 and TR42.6 subcommittees.

The author of several technical and commentary articles, he will be a welcome addition to the team.