Experts in Voice and Data Cabling Active Communication Company Ltd

Structured Copper Cabling Systems

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The concept of installing structured cabling system into a building has been around in several forms of over 30 years. The solution that was adopted to allow various forms of data transmission to run over a common medium used cables under a Category (Cat) this was followed by a number the first being Cat3 cables with RJ45 (8 pin connectors). At the time several pair configurations were considered but in the end the T568A and T568B won this battle.

The Cat3 structured cabling system was developed and designed to provide 10MHz suitable for 10MBit Ethernet, a Cat4 structured cabling system was introduced to support 16MBit Token Ring but only lasted in the market for about 6 months then withdrawn because of the introduction of a Cat5 structured cabling system to provide up to 100MHz. This however was launched before the Standards had been ratified, but due to the Standards requirements many system manufactures had to upgrade their solution, so Cat5e (enhanced) structured cabling system was created to support 100MBit and 1GBit Ethernet.

With more data through put being demanded Cat6 structured cabling system was the next system launched to provide 250MHz to support 100MBit and 1GBit Ethernet with better headroom.

Recently Cat6a (augmented) structured cabling system launched to provide 500MHz to support 10GBASE-T Ethernet.

All these solutions are available in both Unshielded and Foiled/Shielded Twisted Pairs options

Top of the class is the Cat7 structured cabling systems will provide up to 1,000MHz to support up to 40GBASE-T Ethernet. These systems are only available in shielded cable and connectors.

Structured Cabling Standards and Specification

The cabling system must be procured from one manufacturer.

  1. The cabling system must be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Planning, quality control, documentation and earthing/bonding must be according to EN 50174 parts 1 and 2. External cables must be installed according to EN50174 part 3, latest draft.
  3. 100% of the installed cables must be tested.
  4. 100% of the test data must be reviewed by the manufacturer and approved by the manufacturer before any warranty certificate is released.
  5. The Permanent Link must be tested to IEC 61935 with a Level III cable tester set to Category 6 or Class E Permanent Link referencing the Permanent Link performance standards detailed in ISO 11801 ed. 2, EN 50173 Amendment 2, TIA/EIA 568B B2 Addendum 1.
  6. Cabling must be tested in both directions and the results stored in an electronic database compatible with the tester manufacturer's cable management programme.
  7. The cabling must be covered by a manufacturer's 25 year product and application warranty and installed by an installer accredited and trained by the manufacturer. Proof of training, which must be less than two years old, must accompany the tender.
  8. A labelling and administration system must be designed into the cable system in line with EN 50174 or ISO 14763-2 or TIA/EIA-606.
  9. The cabling system must be earthed according to the manufacturer's instructions and PrEN50303, EN50174-2 and TIA/EIA-607.
  10. Separation of power and data cables must be according to EN 50174 part 2 except where local or national electrical safety regulations require a greater separation.
  11. A cable containment system must be supplied according to EN 50174, TIA 569-B and ISO 14763-2.

EMC Compliance

The structured cabling system shall comply with cable balance and EMC requirements of EN 50288 and ISO 11801 2nd editions and will not degrade the EMC performance of any electrical device connected to it. The manufacturer shall guarantee this facility.

Installation consideration after choosing a system:

Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7 Bend radius

Cable diameters: minimum bend radius 25mm for cables up to 6mm and 50mm for over 6mm in diameter.

LAN application cable type

The approach of designing the cabling system per the dimensioning rules of the international standards is safe, however, there can be occasions when an extended reach would be of interest. It can then useful to understand the maximum length capability of the cabling channel to support the application(s) of interest. Table below shows an example of the channel lengths supported per product set by major LAN application. The values in the table are derived from the advice in the published cabling standards, the application standards themselves and from verification in laboratory and field testing.

Maximum Supported Distances

max distances
  • Note 1: The minimum cabling system class required to support the application
  • Note 2: 10GBASE-T is a Class EA application but Class E systems may be able to support the application provided they meet ISO/IEC 24750 or EN 50173-99-1 or TSB 155. e.g. Class E UTP systems are generally capable of only 37 to 55m. Check with the manufactures of the system.
  • Note 3: Although Class EA cabling is required for these applications the values in the table for Class D and Class E cabling are advised to be supportable in the FCBASE-T standard.

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