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Here is a look at the highlights of the most recent TIA TR-42 meeting...

April 1, 2002  

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A variety of issues were discussed at February’s TIA TR-42 engineering committee meeting in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Following is a quick review of the key items, including an update on the Category 6 standard.


The TIA TR 42 engineering committee and the even numbered subcommittees held elections at the meeting, resulting in a new slate of chairs and vice-chairs:

TR- 42 User Premises Telecommunications Infrastructure Committee – Chair: Bob Jensen, Fluke Networks; Vice Chair: Paul Kish, NORDX/CDT

TR-42.2 Residential Telecommunications Infrastructure Subcommittee – Chair: Bob Jensen, Fluke Networks; Vice Chair: John Pryma, Genesis Cable Systems

TR-42.4 Outside Plant Telecommunications Infrastructure Subcommittee – Chair: Donna Ballast, University of Texas/BICSI; Vice Chair: Henry Frank, Bell Canada

TR-42.6 Telecommunications Infrastructure Administration Subcommittee – Chair: Tom Rauscher, Archi-Technology, LLC

TR-42.8 Telecommunications Optical Fiber Cabling Systems Subcommittee – Chair: Herb Congdon, Tyco Electronics; Vice Chair: Chad Burel, Corning Cable Systems

In addition, a number of documents were approved for publication during the TIA meeting, including: ANSI/TIA/EIA-606-A – Administration Standard for Telecommunications Infrastructure; ANSI/TIA/EIA 862 – Building Automation Cabling Standard for Commercial Buildings; and Addendum 1 to ANSI/TIA/EIA-570-A – Security Cabling for Residences.


All of the comments on draft 10 of the Category 6 standard (Addendum No. 1 to ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2), were addressed by the TR-42.7 Subcommittee. Some unresolved negative ballot comments and some technical changes relating to permanent link testing, connecting hardware and patch cord requirements still exist, but these will be dealt with in a 30-day default ballot.

A special interim meeting is scheduled in early April to resolve the default ballot comments. There is a very good chance that the Category 6 standard could be published as early as May of this year if the are no further technical changes following the default ballot.


Connecting hardware is a critical piece of the Category 6 cabling system. Most of the standard development work has been focused on connector and modular cord requirements to achieve a high level of performance, while maintaining backward compatibility with Category 5/5e hardware and interoperability between different vendors of Category 6 products.

When you look at the performance of a Category 6 mated connection, it all comes down to the plug termination (please see Figure 1). There is a significant amount of cross talk between the blades of a plug, especially between the split pairs (4-5 / 3-6), where pins 4-5 are contained within the magnetic field of pins 3-6. This, in itself, is not the main problem as it can be compensated for in the jack design. The main problem has more to do with the method of terminating the wires at the back of the plug. That is why Category 6 plug terminations use a special means to ensure consistent and repeatable performance from plug to plug.

The specification for Category 6 plug qualification is quite detailed. It contains “test plug” magnitude and phase requirements, and it elaborates test procedures to ensure consistency and repeatability between labs. Once these specifications are published, users can be assured that Category 6 components are backward compatible with all existing Category 5/5e installations and will provide minimum Category 6 performance in a worst case channel configuration, including four connectors.

Paul Kish is Director of IBDN Systems & Standards at NORDX/CDT in Pointe Claire, PQ. He is also Chair of the TR-42 engineering committee.

Disclaimer: The information presented is the author’s view and is not official TIA correspondence.

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