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Will that be STP or UTP?

Shielded versus unshielded cable debate among several that have cropped up recently at conferences on both side of the Atlantic.


July 1, 2007  


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During recent con-ferences and region meetings in both North America and Europe there have been a number of interesting presentations. For example, there is currently a debate ongoing on over shielded twisted pair (STP) versus unshielded twisted pair (UTP).

The issue is centered on alien crosstalk and the significant negative affects that it has on 10GBASE-T systems. Learnings over the years suggest that designs and installations need to be concerned with the affects of electromagnetic interference or EMI.

EMI is proving to be a significant issue with 10GBASE-T performance. While bonding and grounding (earthing) is effective in dealing with low frequency signals, shielding on STP and ScTP cables help filter out high frequency signals.

Recent tests indicate STP cables are significantly better at being immune to alien crosstalk even if the shield is not bonded.

Tests also show that bonding significantly improves the immunity to EMI. If you have a chance to participate in presentations about such topics as common mode noise, differential mode noise, STP, ScTP, UTP in the 10GBASE-T world at upcoming BICSI events, it will be informative at the very least.

On another technical matter, PoE is being cited as the reason to continue installing copper in the last mile. On June 21, I attended a joint North-Central and Canadian Regional Meeting at the NXTcomm conference in Chicago.

A presentation by Rodney Casteel of Commscope Inc. suggested that limiting our thinking that Ethernet devices can only be powered by electrons, might be shortsighted.

He suggested we should consider that significant amounts of research with light are ongoing and that photon-powered devices of many types may soon be a possibility. Watch for future technical presentations about this as well.

Data centres are also getting their fair share of airtime lately; especially when it comes to design related to cooling.

At the BICSI Dublin Conference, presenter Bob Faber told the audience that recent testing reveal that 20 watts of heat/port in 10GBASE-T data centres should be considered when developing the designs.

He suggested that 10GBASE-T will be commonplace beyond 2009, and predicts that we will be installing 40GBASE-T in data centres within the 2017-2018 timeframe.

Heat dissipation from increasing densities of smaller microchips will increase our need to understand and design data centers with cooling and powering in mind.

Upcoming Canadian events

During the summer, BICSI is offering courses and an exam in the Toronto Region. Following the Fall Conference, we will have a Region Meeting with training and an exam in Halifax, N.S. The Region Meeting will be held at Nova Scotia Community College. In mid-November, we are planning to offer the two-day Project Management course and have a Region Meeting at Algonquin College in Ottawa.

Visit www.bicsi.org and click on the Upcoming Events tab for details about these events.

I am fortunate to have responsibility for a BICSI region with so many members in manufacturing and supply chain.

Many of these companies are active in the Canadian Region events. If you or your company would like to make presentations, provide sponsorship, or participate in any of our “What’s New, What’s It Do” information sessions, please contact me via e-mail.

Also, the BICSI Professional Development Operations Department is now selecting training sites across Canada. If you are interested in certain courses, please contact BICSI at 800.242.7405.

CEC Requirements: With less than six months remaining in 2007, don’t forget to think about your BICSI CEC requirements. On BICSI’s refurbished Web site, you can view your transcript and much more information about BICSI and its events including upcoming Canadian Region events.

Finally, I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable time with your families this summer and I look forward to seeing you this fall at some of the upcoming BICSI events. From early September to mid-October, BICSI will be conducting the elections for several positions on our Board of Directors.

Canadian members will have the opportunity to vote for Brian Hansen, RCDD/NTS or Christine Klauck, RCDD/NTS for the position of President-Elect.

Your votes will also determine if Roman Dabrowski, RCDD, or James Ray Craig, RCDD/NTS, will become Treasurer. The second big event of the season will be the 2007 BICSI Fall Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. on Sept. 10-13.

Richard Smith is the Canadian Region Director of BICSI and the manager of Aliant Cabling Solutions in Moncton, N.B. He can be reached at rsmith@bicsi.org.