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cabling system was introduced to support 16MBit Token Ring but only lasted in the market for about 6 months then withdrawn because of the introduction of a Cat5 structured cabling system to provide up to 100MHz.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.
The cabling system must be procured from one manufacturer.
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.
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.
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.
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