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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes Section 14 In this Section:

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Excel White Papers

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The importance of cleaning fibre Benefits of choosing a pre-terminated solution Category 6, 6A and Category 7A (ISO Class Fa) – A Comparison The impact of IEEE 802.11ac on copper cabling systems The impact of remote powering (PoE) on Balanced Twisted Pair Cables

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Accelerated degradation of balanced twisted pair performance due to the use of remote powering (PoE+) The Use of System Assured Manufacturers Patch Leads in Warranted Channel Systems The potential impact of IEEE 8O2.11ac on copper cabling systems (Part 2) 2.5 & 5Gb -A step too far? – You decide To Screen or not to Screen? – A subject re-visited

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Excel Cable – Liquid Contamination

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Installation Guidelines Update – BS7671 Electrical Regulations Changes in US Conec Single-mode MTP Connectors Change to Excel Multi-Fibre Colour Code Standard Class E / Category 6 Extended Distances

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The importance of cleanliness when handling fibre One of the most basic and important procedures for the maintenance of fibre optic systems is to clean the fibre optic equipment. One of the most basic and important procedures for the maintenance of fibre optic systems is to clean the fibre optic equipment. Any contamination in the fibre connection can cause failure of the component or failure of the whole system. Even microscopic dust particles can cause a variety of problems for optical connections. In a survey carried out by Fluke Networks they claim that 85% of the failing links can be attributed to ‘end-face contamination’. To illustrate this it can be compared to a typical human hair which is between 50 and 75 micron. A dust particle can be as little as 9 micron and is pretty much impossible to see without a microscope. Despite this it could completely block a single mode fibre core, and if trapped between two fibre faces it can even scratch the glass, damaging the end-face. If this happens then at best it will require the careful and time consuming process of being polished out and, at worst, it will have to be replaced. Furthermore, with high power lasers now in use, if the contamination remains in place when the laser is turned on it can actually be burned into the end-face to such an extent that it cannot be polished out.

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Whilst this may seem extreme consequences, each time you disconnect and re-connect a fibre connector problems can be re-introduced; a statement backed by a study carried out by NEMI (National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative) The study showed that mating caused loose contaminants to spread. Through connection, a significant amount of the particles were transferred from the contaminated connector to the clean reference connector in a pattern similar to that seen on the contaminated connector.

Even the use of ‘dirty’ dust caps can have a significant impact on the ‘cleanliness’ of the fibre installation. The oil from human skin can also have a dramatic effect when viewed under a microscope. A recent incident was reported claiming that fibre cable was failing after less than 10 years of use, when it shouldn’t degrade at all over this period of time. The first clue to the culprit of the problem was that the building and cabling infrastructure had transferred ownership on two separate occasions during this time. Each time, there was a massive opportunity to introduce contamination, which in reality is what had occurred. There are many excellent documents which cover the correct procedure for cleaning and inspecting fibre optic end-faces, however we should always defer to the standards if they are available. In February 2010 the British Standards Institute published BS EN 61300-3-35 Examinations and Visual requirements for PC polished connectors, single mode fibre, RL ≥ 45 dB Zone name

Scratches

Defects

A: core

None

None

B: cladding

No limit ≤ 3 µm None > 3 µm

No limit < 2 µm 5 from 2 µm to 5 µm None > 5 µm

C: adhesive

No limit

No limit

D: contact

No limit

None => 10 µm

NOTE 1 For scratches, the requirement refers to width. NOTE 2 No visible subsurface cracks are allowed in the core or cladding zones. NOTE 3 All loose particles should be removed. If defect(s) ae nonremovable, it should be within the criteria above to be acceptable for use. NOTE 4 There are no requirements for the area outside the contact zone since defects in this area have no influence on the performance. Cleaning loose debris beyond this region is recommended good practice. NOTE 5 Structural features that are part of the functional design of the optical fibre, such as microstructures, are not considered defects.

continued overleaf

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www.excel-networking.com Measurements-Fibre optic connector end-face visual and automated inspection. This document outlines the criteria for the number and details of the scratches and defects that can appear on the end-face, both in the core and cladding areas. The following is a table taken from the document that outlines the limits for single mode with a return loss of ≥45dB.

Conclusion Cleaning fibre is not a mystery it just requires some common sense and a little thought before the cleaning process starts. There are, of course, some warnings that must be noted. Here are just a few of the dos and don’ts: l Never touch the end-face of the fibre connectors - natural body oil can be a major cause of contamination

Cleaning Methods There are a range of cleaning products on the market and it is almost a case of you pay your money and make your choice. The two most popular are the cassette type cleaners such as Cletops or the Pen/Swab type. Whatever the choice, it is important to follow the correct procedure/instruction. Failure to do so could lead to even more contamination being introduced. The following is a flow chart outlining the suggested process for cleaning fibre connectors.

l Always keep a protective cap on unplugged fibre connectors – protection from both damage and contamination l Do not clean bulkhead connectors without a way of inspecting them – how else will you know whether the cleaning is successful? l Always store unused protective caps in a sealed container they can also be a major source of contamination if not stored in a clean environment. l Never re-use any tissue, swab or cleaning cassette reel l Never touch any portion of tissue or swab where alcohol was applied – you could be introducing both dirt and body oil l Never use a wet cleaning method without a way of dry cleaning immediately afterwards - the wet process can leave a harmful residue that is hard to remove when it dries Finally, be warned: Ensure all the fibre connectors you intend to clean are disconnected. And NEVER look into a fibre with either a fibre microscope or the naked eye when the lasers are on.

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Benefits of Pre-Terminated Solutions

Pre-terminated cabling systems have been around since the beginning of computing, well before the inception of Structured Cabling. Early IBM System 36 and 38 computers used to be connected to its peripherals by way of factory terminated twin-ax assemblies, very similar to the ones still used today for 40 & 100Gb connectivity within the Data Centre. The use of pre-terminated solutions fall into a few key areas, one as previously mentioned is the Data Centre and the other increasingly used option is in commercial office fit-outs, as the project timescales are constantly being reduced by the competitive nature of the market. Another area that we are starting to witness is the use of pre-fabrication within the construction industry. By that we mean not only the construction, but the partial fit-out of wall sections. This method of construction is increasingly popular for Hospitals and Schools, and involves levels of first and second fix being done in a factory and the completed wall craned into position onsite and effectively ‘plugged in’. This includes not only the voice and data cabling but other systems such as electrical and plumbing and in the case of Hospitals, gas services as well to the ‘bed heads’. By way of continuing to innovate, Excel has continued to keep abreast of these developments by producing new ways of deploying both Copper and Fibre Pre-terminated solutions. Data Centres

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This is the one area that is very competitive, not only the cost but also the delivery schedules required to satisfy the very quick turn-around of the modern Data Centre deployment. It is not uncommon for a DC operator to want to turn an empty data hall into a fully functioning and revenue generating suite in a matter of weeks, time is money, and as soon as the decision is made they want to start earning revenue.

the cabinets, both server and storage. On top of this there is sometimes the need for direct inter-cabinet links. One of the traditional drawbacks of copper is the density that can be achieved, especially within the main patching field. The use of traditional outlets and patch management bars every 2U can be very restrictive and waste a lot of space. To get around this manufacturers have come up with a wide range of angled options, from angled V style panels, standard outlets mounted at an angle within a flat panel, an angled modular panel that houses a standard presentation outlet in groups of 6 etc. All of these options have one drawback or another, some need the front profiles to be moved back to accommodate the angle of the V style panel, with the traditional outlet mounted at an angle, the problem appears at the rear with the cables having to crossover. Excel has come up with a unique approach by having the front presentation of the jack itself at 45 degrees, this means the patch cables lie flat at the front of the panel with standard presentation at the rear, meaning the profiles do not need to be adjusted and the dressing of the cables within the cabinet can be optimised.

Therefore the time pressure quite simply dictates that pretermination is essential for the rapid commissioning of new data halls. This involves both copper and fibre connectivity, MPO/MTP fibre is fast becoming the de-facto system for both single and multimode connectivity in this space due to ease of use and speed, not to mention the high density. Copper Pre-terminated cassettes have been traditionally restricted to Category 6 and below due to the potential problems of Alien Cross Talk. Category 6A is usually installed by way of individual screened jacks, that are then mounted into patch frames. These assemblies typically involve harness links from switches to a central patching field and then further assemblies that emanate from there to provide connectivity to

The image above shows a main patching field deployed within a DC, that is fully patched in a 45U 2post frame containing 960 outlets, almost 50% more than a traditional approach, all of which were pre-terminated and labelled off-site and then just plugged in and tested. continued overleaf

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www.excel-networking.com Whilst traditional termination of fibre is still used, increasingly using a fusion splicer within a DC is mainly restricted to rectifying faults. Almost all fibre assemblies are pre-terminated whether that is conventional construction fibre that is terminated at both ends with SC or LC connectors, or more commonly used, MPO/MTP 12 fibre assemblies that are used as inter-cabinet links (Trunk Cables) which are then connected to cassettes housing the fan-out cables to LC presentation. Each approach has seen a ‘step-phase’ in the time to deploy. Using conventional and fusion splicing pigtails within patch panels, can take days if not weeks, pre-terminated conventional fibre, can take days, whereas the time taken to deploy MPO/ MTP can be measured in just a day or so, if not hours.

The structure of a generic cabling installation as per EN50173-2 Pre-terminated cable assemblies can be produced for each element outlined above.

Commercial Office Pre-terminated Assemblies

BD = Building Distributor and Solid Core Harness Links

The completion of the handover of a project is critical, mainly due to the fact that the lease deadline of the end user client’s existing facilities, have to be met to avoid the costly penalty of having to extend their previous lease by a further 3-6 months. This is then compounded by protracted negotiations to get the best price.

Building Backbone Cabling Subsystem = Backbone Cabling (pre-terminated fibre)

Therefore pre-termination for commercial office installations is becoming increasingly popular as the project timescales are being constantly shrunk. Some integrators have even taken the step to invest in their own facilities to keep up with the demand.

EO (Equipment Outlet) = Including those housed in GOP boxes

Whilst it is basically the same product set being used, there are a few key additions and techniques being utilised. One key difference is the lengths involved, they are usually much longer, and if there is a concern about the accuracy of drawings or measurements provided, some companies are opting to minimise their risks by just pre-terminating the floor outlet end at the factory. In effect producing extremely long outlet to outlet assemblies, that are tested fully if they are below 90m. If over this length, they are tested for continuity before being cut in half, labelled, packed and shipped to site to be pulled into position onsite. This approach is being seen almost as a two visit approach, to the floor locations. First stage is to ‘pull’ or lay the loom, usually from the floor location back to the SERs (Secondary Equipment Rooms/Floor Distributors) at which point ‘the floor’ can be handed back to the main contractor for other trades, with the outlets or GOP (Grid Outlet Point) box bagged and coiled for safety under the raised floor and the termination of the other end can continue in the SERs. On some projects a two-shift process is used for speed, with the assemblies being pulled in overnight when the Data Installer has free access to the floors and the termination and testing is done through the day. Along with the Solid Core Harness links used in the Data Centre we also see the use of longer versions of these assemblies being used as Consolidation Cables in coordination with Consolidation Points that are used to service zones or service areas within a floor or building. Consolidation Points have been a building block within the standards for a long time however they have only recently started to come into their own due to the additional flexibility they provide in a dynamic office environment that undergoes a lot of moves and changes.

Floor Distribution Cabling Subsystem = Horizontal Cabling CP = Consolidation Point and Solid Core Consolidation Cables

We mustn’t forget that most backbone cabling systems between the MER (Main Equipment Room) and the SERs on each floor are typically fibre, with the occasional copper links as back up. There is an increasing demand for conventional tight buffered fibre to be pre-terminated offsite. This approach not only saves a great deal of time, it may be essential due to the lack of power onsite for a fusion splicer. The days of ‘glue and polish’ are gone especially with the lower losses of OM4 fibre, certainly I don’t know of anyone who is attempting the manual approach for singlemode. Pre-fabrication Another area on the increase is that of Pre-Fabrication where complete sections of buildings are being constructed in a factory style environment and all services are being ‘preplumbed in’ initially it used to just be the power and water but now complete walls for schools and hospitals are having all their services installed in a factory environment including items such as gas/oxygen and IT cabling. The completed wall is then wrapped up taken to site by lorry and craned into position.

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Once delivered, it’s a fairly quick and simple task to plug them together and test. This approach moves the resources to where they are needed and where they perform best. The easy question is where do people perform their best work, a purpose built factory that is dry and warm or a building site open to the elements in the middle of winter? This approach takes the use of Consolidation Points and Solid Core Consolidation cables to the next logical stage. By running Horizontal Cabling from the SER or Floor Distributor out to a consolidation point close to the location of the final position for the wall or walls for when they are craned into position. The solid core consolidation cables that have been installed within the wall, in the factory are just connected and tested. continued overleaf

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes This means the time and resources required onsite are dramatically reduced. If everything is labelled correctly it takes a fraction of the time and cost required for a traditional installation, hence the large number of construction companies that operate in the education and healthcare sectors who are looking to invest heavily in this approach.

Concentration of Resources, rather than having teams of engineers in pulling and terminating in less than ideal environments, have a select group of specialists pull the assemblies in the right manner, in a controlled environment and then test. This leads to smaller teams for a shorter time and subsequently a smaller labour bill.

Considerations

Testing on this subject, if they have been tested in the factory sometimes means less testing onsite, Excel has one Data Centre customer who accepts the factory test results for warranty purposes. All he asks for onsite is random testing within the looms to validate the factory test data, if this is within an acceptable tolerance he is then happy to accept all of them, this has lead to a reduction of testing time by as much as 75%.

With all things of this nature, there are some serious ‘Pros and Cons’ to take heed of one size does not fit all, however the Pros certainly outweigh the Cons. Pros: l Time Saving l Cost Saving l Less Wastage, both packaging and cable off-cuts l Concentration of valuable resources l Pre-Tested l Less Failure onsite Cons: l Accuracy in measurement required l Lacks on-site flexibility for change in program Benefits of Pre-Terminated Solutions As can be seen throughout this paper if used correctly PreTerminated solutions can bring a raft of benefits to both the installer and the end-user. It all comes down to money and all the Pros listed above have a ‘Cash’ value. Yes the assemblies have a higher initial cost as they include the factory termination time, however the savings go beyond this.

Conclusion: Pre-termination is not a fad, it is an increasingly popular way of delivering a project in a more timely and cost effective manner. It should not just be confined to the major projects delivered by the large integrators, this approach can provide benefits for all sizes of project. Excel Networking is investing and will continue to invest in both products and services that can support any level of project with many different variations of product presentation, panel to panel, solid core harness links, panel to GOP, Panel to CP etc. including both copper and fibre, both traditional and MTP.

Time Saving which in itself brings benefits of cost saving, if you buy the assemblies pre-terminated you don’t need as many onsite engineers pulling cables in and terminating them for as long, saving on the labour bill. Cost Savings include all the other items of equipment that have to be hired, such as podiums and lifts, if the turnaround is quicker they don’t need to be on hire as long.

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Less Wastage, the installer in a lot of cases still has to pay for his waste to be removed from site on many projects, especially if they include cable drums, more importantly the installer is purchasing a more accurate quantity of cable, they are buying by the metre and not by the drum, how many installers have their facilities cluttered up with odd lengths of cables in boxes hoping for a project that will use them up.

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Category 6, 6A and Category 7A (ISO Class Fa) – A Comparison. Structured cabling has evolved over a number of years since its inception in the mid to late 1980’s Overview Structured cabling has evolved over a number of years since its inception in the mid to late 1980’s. Over the period the popular standards prevalent in the market were: EIA/TIA Category 5e (ISO Class D) EIA/TIA Category 6 (ISO Class E) However, due to increasing demand for bandwidth, new standards have been developed over the last few years to provide a future-proof solution to growing needs of the LAN. Hence the IEEE released 802.3an the 10GBase-T standard in April 2006, this was intended to use Category 6 Augmented, in simple terms this became widely known as Category 6A or ISO Class Ea. The requirement of the systems was to offer 10Gb/s speeds at a frequency up to 500MHz. This increase in throughput was achieved using a combination of the higher performing cabling system along with new and improved encoding techniques. Category 6 Typically an Unscreened solution (although some countries insist on a Screened version), Category 6 was introduced to anticipate the requirement for more bandwidth than 1Gbs networks. Application Switches were now able to allocate Quality of Services Policies (QoS) to enable users to run some applications faster than others . These applications were typically Video Applications (Video Conferencing over IP ) and large image files (CAD drawings). Therefore this increase in frequency to 250MHz (two and a half times that compared with Category 5e which operates at 100MHz) would assist in this however what wasn’t anticipated was the fact that the IEEE changed/improved the Ethernet encoding technique, which allowed 10 times the bandwidth for a 5 fold increase in frequency from 100Mhz to 500Mhz. Category 6 is still only capable of providing 1Gbs Ethernet, so the bandwidth is the same as Category 5e however it does have a number of features that provide a tangible benefit over Category 5e.

With the proliferation of Power over Ethernet (PoE) tests have shown a significant benefit regarding the heating characteristics and the ability of a Category 6 cable to be less impacted by the increase in Attenuation (reduction in signal) due to heating up when carrying power as well as data. All forecasts suggest that the PoE market is not only going to keep on increasing in size the level of power deployed will also increase. Category 6A The first Category 6A solutions were based around both Unscreened solutions, as well Screened but in recent times the preferred solution has become a Screened system. This is mainly due to concerns over interference both from other data cables as well as external sources better known as Alien Crosstalk (ANEXT) at the new higher frequencies now used. Category 6A is designed to perform at a frequency of 500MHz, twice the range of Category 6 and 5 times that of Category5e. This high frequency operation can leave the cabling susceptible to external interference from local EMI and RFI signals, unfortunately the Transceivers involved cannot cancel out this interference from external sources and it must be done in the cabling. This interference can be minimised with improved installation techniques and the design of the components for an Unscreened solution, hence the Standards state they ‘may’ be compliant by design. However the client is still within their rights to have that confirmed by Alien Crosstalk testing A Screened solution on the other hand is not seen to be susceptible at all to any external interference affecting performance, therefore all Standards agree Alien Crosstalk testing is ‘Not Required’ and on this basis Screened solution are now becoming the system of choice for most end users. Connectors The Category 6A solution offered by all manufacturers is still based around the RJ45 connector, offering full backwards compatibility from switch connections in the Data Centre through to the outlet at a workstation. Standards compliant Category 6A RJ45 Patch Cords are produced by the manufacturers for the Category 6A systems. continued overleaf

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes Frequency Capabilities

Frequency Capabilities

Category 6A/ISO Ea is designed to operate up to 500MHz, the current standard for 10Gbs Ethernet transmission. Multiple Applications are also supported, including VOIP Telephony, IP Security (CCTV, Door Entry Systems, Alarms and Environmental Controls)

The frequency range of ISO FA systems is 1000-1200MHz, and no applications are designed to run at this frequency. The original design of ISO Class F was a 350MHz operational frequency, with future-proofing headroom to 600MHz. This was seen as a great advantage in the mid 1990’s but new cabling technology has superseded this capability using traditional RJ45-based solutions.

Modern construction methods of Category 6A Screened solutions have reduced the Excel Category 6A U/FTP cable diameter by over 14% to 6.7mm – just 0.5mm bigger than Category 6 U/UTP. This has seen the use of U/FTP solutions increase significantly for 10Gbs requirements, but also the increase the overall cable size and the use of a screen has future-proofing capabilities for future PoE (Power over Ethernet) developments. ISO Class Fa (Category 7A) ISO Class Fa systems are constructed using Category 7A components however no EIA/TIA Standard exists for systems (Channels & Links). The ISO Class F Category 7 market is dominant in central European countries due to the long history of using Screened systems for the implementation of ‘Sheath Sharing’ which is no longer allowed by the standards but used to be prevalent for 10/100 systems that only required 2 pairs. Multiple Proprietary Connectors The ISO Class FA standard is also unique in that it does not state a specific type of connector for the system. This has resulted Standard

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The only data application that can currently be supported over and above 500MHz is Fibre Channel (FC) which would require the higher performing ISO FA (Cat 7) at 600MHz, but this restricted to the lower speed FC and is now negated by the wide deployment of higher speed Fibre Channel systems requiring Fibre connectivity. One other application currently using a frequency over and above 500MHz is Analogue CCTV at 862MHz, therefore requiring the higher performing ISO FA (Cat 7A) at 1000MHz, but this is also now rapidly shrinking due to the advent of IP CCTV systems which are capable of Megapixel quality images over standard LAN cabling. It is not anticipated that any new build projects will employ an analogue CCTV system, and so Category 6A will be the most viable cost effective solution for all applications of High Speed LAN, VOIP Telephony, and IP Security systems, given its capabilities at higher levels of PoE being planned. Cabling Bandwidth Overview

Type

Frequency

Length

LAN Applications

Notes

Cat 5e/ ISO Class D

U/UTP, F/UTP

100MHz

100m

100Mbs, 1Gbs

General LAN use

Cat 6/ ISO Class E

U/UTP, F/UTP

250MHz

100m

100Mbs, 1Gbs

General LAN use

ISO Class Ea Cat 6A

U/UTP, U/FTP, F/FTP

500MHz

100m

100Mbs, 1Gbs, 10Gbs

High Speed LAN use

ISO Class F/ Cat 7

S/FTP

600MHz

100m

10Gbs

High Speed LAN use Fibre Channel

ISO Class Fa Cat 7A

S/FTP

1000-1200MHz

100m

10Gbs

High Speed LAN use Fibre Channel

in two FA connectors being produced and accepted, including the TERA connector and the GG45 connector. These connectors are all proprietary to their own systems and are typically 3040% more expensive than RJ45 based solutions, whilst these connectors are available to licence by other manufacturers other than the patent holders the terms involved are very restrictive which will limit their deployment. Custom Patching Equipment Special custom patch cords will also be required to convert the ISO FA connector to a traditional RJ45 connector for switch connection. These are also typically 30-40% more expensive. However this will bring the performance of the overall system back to the ‘lowest common denominator’ there if the RJ45 is of Category 6A performance then the whole system will be limited to that.

“With the proliferation of Power over Ethernet (PoE) tests have shown a significant benefit regarding the heating characteristics and the ability of a Category 6 cable to be less impacted by the increase in Attenuation (reduction in signal) due to heating up when carrying power as well as data. All forecasts suggest that the PoE market is not only going to keep on increasing in size the level of power deployed will also increase.”

continued overleaf

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www.excel-networking.com Future High Frequency Requirements Data Centre Applications With the announcement of the NGBase-T working group by the IEEE it set out a series of requirements for the future, the first announcement was to try 40Gbs over Copper using an RJ45 ‘Style’ connector (not any of the proprietary connectors that had been approved for Category 7A) the transmission distances required would be 25-30m Channels to support ‘Top of Rack/End of Row’ topologies within the Data Centre. This work whilst started in 2013 still has some way to go however the Cabling Task Group suggested that a Category 8 screened cable supporting 2000Mhz would be required,

ISO are working on a interim solution using a 1600Mhz cable and either TERA or GG45 connectivity at a further reduced distance of possibly as short as 15m. 10 Gbs Hardware Manufacturers It is not anticipated that switching hardware manufacturers will be making proprietary switching equipment for each of these aforementioned 7A connectors, and so the RJ45 interface remains the accepted connector for its copper 10Gbs interface. The only anticipated change will be in the fibre backbone where multi channel fibre connectors (MTP) are used for 40Gbs and 100Gbs backbone connections between switching equipment.

Cable Performance Summary Category Construction

5e U/UTP

6 F/UTP

U/UTP

6A F/UTP

U/UTP

U/FTP

F/FTP

7

7A

S/FTP

S/FTP

Bandwidth Headroom* PoE Performance Alien Crosstalk EMI/RFI Immunity Note: Headroom is the additional margin expected at the maximum bandwidth of the previous Category i.e. 1Gbps using Category 6 rather than Category 5e Legend: all values are marked between 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest value

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The impact of IEEE 802.11ac on copper cabling systems. The emergence of new wireless applications will have a major impact on the future. Overview This white paper will discuss the emergence of new wireless applications that will have a major impact on the future of the copper cabling systems we install in the next 5 to 10 years. It was only a few years ago that some people questioned the future of copper cabling and believed one day it would all be wireless, the reality is, for the foreseeable future, the next generation of Wireless connectivity will actually drive an increase in the installation of high Category cabling. 802.11ac technology fundamentals IThe current generation of 802.11ac Wave 1 products that have been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance since mid 2013, deliver a three-fold increase in performance. This is driven by a doubling of channel bandwidth to 80MHz, the addition of a more efficient 256-QAM encoding technique and explicit transmit beam-forming to improve signal quality.

Wave 1 802.11ac supports multiple streams to the same client much as 802.11n did (MIMO). The major change in Wave 2 802.11ac will introduce multi-user MIMO where an access point (AP) transmits simultaneously to multiple clients or a single radio can transmit multiple simultaneous conversations to different clients. The following table gives an indication of the theoretical rates available with Wave1 products. The table on the next page shows how simple multiplication can generate all other rates, up to nearly 7 Gbps. Bear in mind that the conditions required for the highest rates – 160MHz channels, eight spatial streams – are not likely to be implemented in any chipsets in the near future due to design complexity and power requirements. Now is the time many organisations are looking to move ahead with 802.11ac Wave 1 products that deliver 3X the performance

802.11AC THEORETICAL LINK RATES

Channel Bandwidth

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Transmit - Receive Antennas

Modulation and coding Typical client scenario

Throughput

40MHz

1x1

256-QAM 5/6, short guard interval

Smartphone

200 Mbps

40MHz

3x3

256-QAM 5/6, short guard interval

Laptop

600 Mbps

80MHz

1x1

256-QAM 5/6, short guard interval

Smartphone, Tablet

433 Mbps

80MHz

2x2

256-QAM 5/6, short guard interval

Laptop, Tablet

867 Mbps

80MHz

3x3

256-QAM 5/6, short guard interval

Laptop

1.3 Mbps

The 802.11ac project title succinctly reads “Enhancements for Very High Throughput for operation in bands below 6 GHz.” These changes enable modes of operation capable of supporting: z

A maximum multi-station (STA) throughput (measured at the MAC data service access point), of at least 1 Gbps.

of the prior 802.11n generation. Some are even looking towards the 802.11ac Wave 2 products that are just starting to emerge. If this isn’t enough to convince you of the size of the potential impact, the following data might give an indication of the scale of change. continued overleaf

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www.excel-networking.com Category 6 cables to each AP location.

DATA RATES FOR VARIOUS 802.11AC CONFIGURATIONS Highest rates Mbps (160Mhz channel, 8x SS)

Spatial streams

x2 for 2 SS

x3 for 3 SS

x4 for 4 SS

Long GI

Short GI

468.0

520.0

939.0

1040.0

1404.0

1560.0

1872.0

2080.0

2808.0

3120.0

3744.0

4160.0

4212.0

4680.0

4680.0

5200.0

5616.0

6240.0

6240.0

6933.3

x5 for 5 SS

x6 for 6 SS

x7 for 7 SS

x8 for 8 SS

This has lead to one major manufacturer of Wireless technology to make the following statement: “Preparing your wired network for 802.11ac: z Ensure minimum 1 Gbps uplink ports for the APs z Ensure 10 Gbps uplink from edge switches to core - One 11ac AP can max out a 1 Gbps uplink on a switch” Source: ARUBA Networks

Whilst at this moment in time it still makes financial sense to utilise two 1Gbps switch ports, purely on the basis that the cost of these, including the cabling infrastructure, is still considerably less than trying to utilise a 10Gbps switch port. However this will probably change in the next 3-5 years according to all forecasts when we start to see commoditisation of the technology. The other hurdle at this moment is the Ethernet ports on the APs themselves are still 1Gbps and will probably stay that way for the next few years, until Wave 2 is mature and the cost of the 10Gbps ports come down to a reasonable level. Power options for 802.11ac in the most part, is unchanged from previous generations of wireless LAN access points. However, some vendors require the additional power provided by 802.3at (PoE+) which provides up to 25.5 watts at the end of a full-length Ethernet cable. 802.3at power is provided by many newer edge switches and can be added onto existing networks by using mid-span power injectors. Alternatively, some products have the ability to draw power simultaneously from multiple Power over Ethernet (PoE) connections, which enable these products to add two 13-watt 802.3af sources together for higher power draw. In most cases, the cost of running a second cable to existing AP mounting locations is negligible if it is part of a new cable installation, however the level of disruption and cost could be prohibitive if this was part of a retrofit upgrade. Finally enthusiasm for bring-

2,500

802.11n/802.11ac 802.11n (2.4 GHz) 802.11n (dual-band) 802.11ac ( 6 GHz)

2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Wi-Fi chipset forecast for 802.11ac chipsets (millions) Source: ABI research

The impact on cabling Infrastructure The first point to highlight is the cabling standards recommend that any new cabling installation should be able to support two full hardware technology upgrades. Therefore any cabling infrastructure needs to support a wireless LAN for much longer than the lifetime of any particular generation of access points. With the second wave of 802.11ac, the speed will rise to 1.7 Gbps in 80 MHz channels and may be as high as 3.5 Gbps, if 160 MHz channel support is introduced. With these speeds, a single gigabit link will probably be no longer sufficient. Therefore any new cable installation required for the firstwave 802.11ac deployment, could possibly still exist using a Category 6 system, however many specifiers are now laying the foundation for the second wave and beyond by installing two

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your-own-device (BYOD) programs is based on the productivity increases that flow from putting information quite literally in the hands of users. Designing a technical architecture for a BYOD program is a book topic in itself; however it is leading to a requirement to build a network that requires a significantly higher level of service due to increases in device density. 802.11ac will not only have a major impact on the corporate network it will certainly effect the cabling infrastructure that supports it.

“Now is the time many organisations are looking to move ahead with 802.11ac Wave 1 products that deliver 3X the performance of the prior 802.11n generation. Some are even looking towards the 802.11ac Wave 2 products that are just starting to emerge”. continued overleaf

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes

Conclusions Access points based on 802.11ac Wave 2 will add more users and more bandwidth to the wireless network. Like all legacy Wi-Fi standards, 802.11ac Wave 1 allows access points to send multiple streams to only one client at a time, which means fewer flows on the network. Wave 2 will support multiuser, multiple-input, multiple-output (multi-user MIMO), which allows access points to send multiple streams to multiple clients at the same time. This technology will allow businesses to support significantly more end users and applications. Employee productivity may get a boost - but Wave 2 won’t enable these changes without the supporting infrastructure being capable of supporting it. As far as the cabling infrastructures are concerned the days of running just one Category 6 cable to an AP location is over, many organisations are now planning at least 2 x Category 6 cables to support both the Data requirements as well as the PoE, some are even planning further ahead by installing Category 6A at high level and Category 6 to the desktop. One other impact that we haven’t covered in this paper is the knock on effect of having to use additional switch ports to support Wave 2 of 802.11ac. It doesn’t matter whether it is a College or a Corporate user, if they are going to upgrade 400 APs throughout the campus or HQ building, that is an additional 9 x 48 port Switches and 32 patch panels, using a traditional cross-connect. This will subsequently involve an additional 2 cabinets at least. Does the building physically have the space and power feed to accommodate the upgrade? So whilst on the surface this development appears to hold a welcome enhancement in performance for the future, it doesn’t come without its challenges and some major considerations if it is to go without a hitch, as it isn’t just a case of replacing an existing AP with a new one . Therefore the questions that need to be asked as part of the process should include but not be limited to: — Have enough cables been run to each AP location? — Is the existing containment capable of holding additional new cables? — Is there sufficient switch capacity to support the upgrade? — Are those switches capable of supporting 802.3at (PoE+)? — Is there space for additional switching within existing cabinets? — Is there space for additional patching fields?

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— Is there sufficient space for additional cabinets?

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The impact of remote powering (PoE) on Balanced Twisted Pair Cables “Powered Ethernet - heat effects on various categories of cables where will it stop?” Powered Ethernet is a technology that continues to push accepted limits: the more power that can be delivered through copper Ethernet cables, the more industry wants to have available. The benefits are obvious: reduced cabling to equipment in terms of power and data comms provides financial, weight and real estate savings. While some disadvantages are also obvious, such as the failure of a cable bundle which exceeds its temperature limit, other disadvantages are less obvious and include changes in the channel performance during heating and potentially over several heating cycles. This paper builds on work presented at the International Wire and Connectivity Symposium (IWCS) to further analyse the effects on channel performance of powered Ethernet. The discussion surrounding the impact of PoE (Power over Ethernet) on structured cabling and the heating effect that is caused by pushing a current down a cable that was not designed originally for that purpose has been gaining momentum in recent years as more and more powered devices are being deployed. In 2010 the International Standards Organisation/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) published a technical report (TR 29125) that looked at ways to mitigate this heating effect, however many felt the initial testing model was not as robust as it could have been and didn’t look into all the environments a twisted pair cable may be installed and therefore questioned whether it did give a reliable set of results. Cenelec decided to produce their own Technical Report to look at ways of mitigating the heating effect of PoE however to do so it first needed to come up with a robust testing methodology. This was published in 2013 as the first element of TR EN50174-99-1. The proposed testing method has gone much further than previous examples, in the main by calling for the optimum bundle size that allows for at least 6 temperature probes or thermocouples to be employed, it also allows for the cable bundle to be, both in ‘free air’ and insulated, allowing a more realistic investigation of the impact of having cables installed within a range of sealed containment and unventilated spaces etc.

Today there are very few test rigs that have been constructed to carry out this level of testing and even less are said to be independent, one of which is at De Montfort University, Dept of Engineering, Leicester, UK. Excel Networking commissioned a series of tests under the guidance of Dr Alistair Duffy from the University. This paper will look at the results of that testing, the results will also be shared with Cenelec to help complete the work on developing TR EN50174-99-1 TR EN50174-99-1 Testing Methodology The first stage of testing is to construct a rig that allows for a bundle of 37 cables to be suspended initially in ‘free air’ with thermocouples installed within each layer as shown in the following diagram. Thermocouples T1, T2a and T3

Thermocouple T2d

Thermocouple T2c

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Thermocouple T2b

As well as being distributed throughout the layers, thermocouples are also positioned along the length of the cable sample this is to measure the difference in temperature closer to the actual source of the power. T1

T2

T3

Ta Ambient

0,6 ± 0,05 m

0,6 ± 0,05 m

≥1,2 m

≥1,2 m

“perfect” bundle

continued overleaf

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes

In total 3 levels of testing were completed, PoE+ at 34.2 watts, UPoE at 60 watts and 100 watts which is a level being discussed by the IEEE for the development of the new 802.3bt, which has a stated minimum of 49watts and could be in excess of 100 watts when finally ratified, this also relates to some of the higher claims coming from proprietary systems such as HDBase-T which is a hybrid application intended for the AV market. To get a true reflection of the impact these levels of power have on channel performance a range of cables we tested. The above applications are intended to operate over standards compliant copper twisted pair cables from Category5e U/UTP grade upwards, with a channel distance of up to 100m. The following sample cables were initially tested Category 5e U/UTP, Category 6 U/UTP, Category 6 F/UTP, Category 6A F/FTP, and Category 7A S/FTP. In addition we took the opportunity to assess the impact of using cables with construction which differ from the industry standard, for example such as a Category 6 cable that is 24 AWG rather than the more common 23 AWG. We also included a length of Copper Clad Aluminium (CCA) Category 6 cable, a lot has been written about the potential problems with these latter cables we wanted to get some real firm evidence.

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Finally these tests were carried out both in ‘Free Air’ and contained within a glass fibre based insulating material commonly found within modern construction, the latter being a recognised method of simulating the effects of the cable bundle being contained within an insulating medium, whilst this may seem extreme it is important to note that some cables run either in high level tray or under a raised floor could run into many hundreds. We wanted to try to understand what may happen to a bundle of 37 cables in the centre of this mass, the test also provides evidence for the model to calculate the cables being in an unventilated containment for a prolonged period, for example 24 cables within dado or 3 compartment trunking is estimated at 80% of the value of the 37 cables. All the testing done to date has shown the cables do reach a ‘steady state’ after a given period when the heat increase levels out and this insulating material helps reach that point quicker. The ‘steady state’ can vary from 40 minutes up to over 30 hours depending upon the cable construction.

Category 5e U/UTP This cable was of a standards compliant construction, 4 pairs contained within a LSOH sheath, conductor size being 0.51mm (24AWG) as seen in the table below the temperature increases at 802.3at and UPoE levels during the ‘Free Air’ tests are at an acceptable level, however when we get to 100watts results show it going beyond the operating temperature range of up to +60˚C stated within the cable construction standard EN50288-3-1. The Ambient Temperature (Ta) during this test was 23.36˚C + 41.02 = 64.38˚C

Test Date

20/3/2014

Test ID

001A

Wires used

8

Conventional test set-up

Yes

Cable type

LSOH Cat5e UTP

Cable diameter

5.2mm

Installation conditions

Free Air

Humidity at test end

40%

Average Conductor Resistance

0.098Ω/m

DC Loop Resistance

19.7 Ω/100m

Temperature Rise above Ambient Power

T1

T2a

T3

T2b

T2c

Watts

°C

°C

°C

°C

°C

34.2

14.21

14.39

13.79

13.4

11.8

60

25.09

25.52

24.57

24.02

21.33

100

40.38

41.02

39.62

38.63

34.29

During this test it took approx 180 minutes to reach ‘Steady State’ at 34.2Watts, 530 minutes at 60Watts and over 800 minutes for 100Watts before the temperature stabilised as shown in the following graph.

Testing Results Before going into the details of the results it is important to understand, the background of the test methodology. The process is to create extremes of heat build up, to produce a worst case scenario from which a set of recommendations and mitigation strategies can be defined to ensure these scenarios are not reached never mind exceeded in ‘real life’ installations. Therefore the following results will show some extremes of temperature increase over the ambience of the test room environment.

The most concerning results were recorded at the second stage of testing when the bundle of cables are encased in insulation and then the same levels of power were introduced. continued overleaf

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Test Date

21/3/2014

Test ID

001B

Wires used

8

Conventional test set-up

Yes

Cable type

LSOH Cat5e UTP

Cable diameter

5.2mm

Installation conditions

28mm X 25mm Foam Insulation

Humidity at test end

40%

Average Conductor Resistance

0.098Ω/m

DC Loop Resistance

19.7 Ω/100m

Temperature Rise above Ambient Power

T1

T2a

T3

T2b

T2c

Watts

°C

°C

°C

°C

°C

34.2

52.04

51.06

50.89

49.84

47.94

60

88.26

86.6

86.19

84.8

81.84

100

117.61

114.1

115.51

108.02

104.14

As we can see the actual temperature is outside the defined operating temperature range at all levels, Ta = 22.72˚C for this test. So with 100 watts we actually hit a peak of 140.33˚C. It also has a major impact on the time to reach ‘Steady State’ with 740 minutes at 34.2Watts. 1220 minutes at 60Watts. However it took a little over a further 100 minutes from the time that the 100 watts was introduced before the cable failed completely as is shown in the following table.

However the extreme temperature increase had a major impact on the construction of the cable, the insulating material starts to lose its properties. The first thing that happens is that it starts to go soft and sticky which is again not overly surprising when you consider that the insulating polyethylene compound is extruded on to the conductors at a temperature of 160-180˚C therefore the copper conductors can migrate to the surface and eventually short out. In speaking with compound manufacturers we were advised heating and rapid cooling can start to make the compound re-crytalise and lose some of its dielectric properties. Even if the conductors do not short, the cable will have lost the values that have been designed into the cable, for example Insertion Loss (IL), Return Loss (RL) and Next which are vital elements enabling system performance in line with standards. Category 6 U/UTP Test Date

23/3/2014

Test ID

002A

Wires used

8

Conventional test set-up

Yes

Cable type

LSOH Cat6 UTP

Cable diameter

6.2mm

Installation conditions

Free Air

Humidity at test end

40%

Average Conductor Resistance

0.075Ω/m

DC Loop Resistance

15 Ω/100m

Temperature Rise above Ambient Power

T1

T2a

T3

T2b

T2c

Watts

°C

°C

°C

°C

°C

34.2

14.02

15.89

14.45

15.3

14.17

60

22.9

26.2

23.77

25.35

23.39

100

35.16

40.67

36.82

39.38

36.36

The testing of the Category 6 U/UTP with 0.58mm (23AWG) conductors followed the same process.

The catastrophic failure of the cable took us by surprise initially until we did some further research and some additional factors come into play. Firstly the resistance of the overall bundle changes during the heating cycle and that level of change is directly proportional to the temperature of the bundle. This has always been a known factor and is why we have always taken temperature into account when calculating the attenuation over a 100m channel.

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In ‘Free Air’ the larger cable reached very similar temperatures as the Category 5e of the previous test, however one major change was the time it took to reach ‘Steady State’ it took 4 times longer at 34.2Watts=720 minutes nearly twice as long for 60Watts at 986 minutes and 1446 minutes at 100Watts. The insulated values followed a similar trend although we included one additional level for validation purposes of 80Watts.

The calculation for this is different for screened and unscreened cables using the formulas provided with EN50173-2. We were expecting to see as much as a 10% difference in resistance which is what we got. continued overleaf

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes As already established a combination of the conductor size and the overall outer diameter can have a major impact on the findings of these tests.

Test Date

27/3/2014

Test ID

002B

Wires used

8

Conventional test set-up

Yes

Cable type

LSOH Cat6 UTP

Cable diameter

6.2mm

Installation conditions

28mm X 25mm Foam Insulation

Humidity at test end

40%

Average Conductor Resistance

0.075Ω/m

Test Date

5/5/2014

15Ω/100m

Test ID

006A

Wires used

8

Conventional test set-up

Yes

T2c

Cable type

Reduced Cat6 UTP 5.4mm

DC Loop Resistance

The first indication of the probable performance can be seen when you view the Conductor and DC Loop Resistance values, these are already higher than that of the 23AWG cable, part of which is due to the conductor size being closer to 24AWG at 0.52mm and an overall cable diameter of 5.4mm.

Temperature Rise above Ambient Power

T1

T2a

T3

T2b

Watts

°C

°C

°C

°C

°C

Cable diameter

34.2

45.42

46.01

44.15

45.39

44.29

Installation conditions

Free Air

60

76.34

77.55

73.91

76.92

75.26

Humidity at test end

40%

80

104.66

106.8

101.58

106.14

104.25

Average Conductor Resistance

0.082Ω/m

100

112.62

114.34

110.11

113.35

111.37

DC Loop Resistance

16.4Ω/100m

Again the time taken to reach ‘Steady State’ was much longer, 80% longer for 34.2Watts, twice as long for 60Watts and a full 4,500minutes before it also failed at roughly the same overall temperature as the Category 5e which is over 2.5 times as long. ˚C

T1

T2a

T3

T2b

T2c

T2d

Ta

Ta

Temperature Rise above Ambient Power

T1

T2a

T3

T2b

T2c

Watts

°C

°C

°C

°C

°C

34.2

14.73

14.78

14.31

13.7

12.48

60

25.65

26.24

25.78

24.66

21.49

100

41.12

42.09

41.38

39.77

34.83

120

The next key observation is the time taken to reach a steady state is less than half the time when compared to 23AWG Category 6 cable.

100

80

When tested in insulation the Reduced Diameter cable actually failed overall quicker than the regular Category 5e cable.

60

40

20

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Min 0

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

Therefore whilst the larger conductor size and polyethylene cross filler has slowed the heating process it still reaches the critical mean temperature which appears to be somewhere between 135-140˚C before cable failure, this slight variation could be accounted for by variations in the polyethylene compound used. Category 6 U/UTP (Reduced Diameter) Next we tested a reduced diameter Category 6 cable. These lower cost cable designs have appeared on the market in recent years to address market demands for cheaper products, and are marketed around cost and space saving benefits, whilst still claiming to offer 100 metre Category 6 channel performance. These reduced diameter, or HD cables have physical characteristics closer to that of Category 5e.

Category 6 U/UTP (Copper Clad Aluminium) This was a very intriguing set of test results, on the surface apart from not being solid copper, this cable did meet a number of the performance requirements for a Category 6 U/UTP cable, for example it had 23 AWG conductors, it also had a DC Loop resistance that was just standards compliant at 22.25 Ω/100m the limit being 25 Ω. continued overleaf

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www.excel-networking.com However once testing began we found that the heating effects had a huge impact on the resistance of the cable, at first it increased dramatically beyond the 25 Ω mentioned previously. We therefore ran the test once more , this time the cable did perform as expected with a ‘Free Air’ temperature some 5-6˚C above that of the Category 5e and it failed at a temperature some 10˚C less when contained within Insulation. The following chart demonstrates the issue that we encountered and the temperature increase appeared closer to one end rather than the middle as seen with every other. We have also included the details of the resistance as a further indication of the risks attached to installation of CCA based cables. Test Date

8/5/2014

Test ID

007A

Wires used

8

Conventional test set-up

Yes

Cable type

Cat6 CCA

Cable diameter

6mm

Installation conditions

Free Air

Humidity at test end

40%

Average Conductor Resistance

0.11Ω/m

DC Loop Resistance

22.25Ω/100m

Air when in Insulation it performed better than the Category 6 F/UTP. Once a steady state was reached the cable continued to perform well for a long time, a decision was made not to try and continue to ramp up the power levels just to make it fail. The same decision was taken with the Category 7A S/FTP cable which has a 7.8mm OD and an even lower conductor resistance along with a large amount of screening. This cable recorded the lowest temperature level of 98.67˚C above ambient at 100Watts as well as reaching a steady state at around 3,000 minutes and not showing signs of going above that point.

Comparison of Temperature Profiles

Temperature Rise (˚C)

10

89

60W

28.60 28.48 27.99 27.09 23.07

120

92.4W

42.1

110

40.24 34.11

TP Ca t7

A

S/F

FTP Ca t6

TP F/F

TP

34.2W 60W 100W

The Category 6 F/UTP is 7.2mm in diameter, as we started to discover the larger the overall diameter of the cable the less it actually heats up, this combined with the Foil screen meant that it reached a steady state at 100Watts without failing. Purely out of interest we pushed the power level up to 107Watts before we damaged the cable, even then it took over 15 hours or 9,000 minutes to reach the overall failure level, remember the reduced diameter cable took just over 1,500 minutes. Whilst the overall diameter of the Category 6A F/FTP cable is slightly smaller at 6.9mm along with a combination of more screening material and a lower conductor resistance to begin with meant that whilst the cable reached a higher temperature in Free

40 30 20

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10 TP S/F A

Ca t7

TP F/F A

Ca t6

FTP Ca t6

CC A Ca t6

Ca t6

U/U

TP

0 TP

The remaining cables performed as expected with lower temperatures and longer time taken to reach steady state due to thicker conductors aligned with a larger outside diameter and screening construction. Full results can be made available upon request, however an indication can be found in the Summary Chart of all tests on this page.

50

U/U

Category 6 F/UTP, Category 6A F/FTP & Category 7A S/FTP

60

Ca t6

DC Loop 25.7

70

Red .

45.50 46.01 44.81 44.16 36.92

80

P

DC Loop 22.5

/UT

Initial Resistance

90

Ca t5e U

99.9

Temperature Rise (˚C)

100

Final Resistance

Final Resistance

P

Insulation + Heating (All pairs energized)

130

41.8

Cable Types

Comparison of Temperature Profiles

16.23 16.20 15.86 15.23 12.86 42.2

A

Ω

Ca t6

°C

U/U

°C

Ca t6

°C

/UT

°C

eU

°C

Ca t5

Resistance/100m

U/U

T2c

Ca t6

T2b

Red .

T3

TP

0 CC A

T2a

20

Ca t6

T1

30

34.2W

100W

34.2W 60W 100W

40

Temperature Rise above Ambient

Initial Resistance

Free Air Heating (All pairs energized)

50

Cable Types

The tables show the complete set of results for the cables tested whilst in insulation however they only indicate the maximum temperatures reached not the time it takes to get to that point, as previously mentioned the Category 5e, HD Category 6 and the Category 6 CCA, all failed very quickly after 100watts was introduced the 23AWG Category 6 U/UTP lasted much longer before it also failed. The common temperature appears to be approx 114˚C above ambient, before the dielectric starts to break down and eventually the conductors short with each other. The other 3 cables never reached this crucial temperature to cause failure, the Category 7A having both the largest conductors and outside diameter combined with a different screening construction. continued overleaf

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes Conclusions Whilst more analysis of these results will be needed by Cenelec and ISO/IEC before the full recommendations can be published we can certainly draw the clear conclusion that risk of degradation to system performance caused by the impact of remote powering devices over copper communications cables cannot be ignored and should be a key factor when specifying cable constructions, and performance categories.

Screened Cabling performs much better, as the research has proved it does not heat up as much as an unscreened cable and when it does the de-rating formula is much simpler as it is based upon 2%.

During this testing we have highlighted that some cables have physically FAILED during the tests. The common temperature being approx 115˚C above the ambient temperature, however you must also consider that not all cables are run in spaces that operate at 21˚C some can be in air return spaces that have a far higher natural temperature.

Taking these calculations at some of the higher operating heat levels we have put forward, an unscreened solution may only ever possibly work at less than 75% of the intended distance.

Furthermore these results show a distinct and very clear argument for installing a Standards Compliant Category 6 cable rather than Category 5e or reduced diameter Category 6 cables which exhibit similar heating characteristics as Category 5e cable. All the performance criteria for the 100m Channel as outlined in EN 50173-2 is based upon it operating at an ambient temperature of 20˚C and for every degree over this level this distance should be reduced. The following formula provided in the above standard gives the rate of reduction for unscreened cables, in short for temperature increases up to 20˚C above the ambient the Channel should be reduced by 4% and for temperatures over 20˚C above the ambient there is an additional 6% that has to be added. Unscreened Lt>20˚C=L/(1 + (T-20) x 0,004) Lt>40˚C=L/(1 + (T-20) x 0,004 + (T-40) x 0.006)

This could potentially have a dramatic effect to the performance of installed cabling as recent research shows that the level of heating can be significant in some cases 3040˚C above the ambient.

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Screened Lt>20˚C=L/(1 + (T-20) *0,002)

It gives another very major reason, if it was even needed, why products such as Copper Clad Aluminium should be removed from our market place, as the failure is not just at a lower level than all the others it had a more erratic behaviour. It is also evident that 4 pair powering has a significant impact on the heat build up witnessed, therefore UPoE is going to have more of an impact as it is rolled out and becomes more common place. When it comes to the proposed 802.3bt it may well be a step too far. Other proprietary systems should be avoided at all costs the level of power involved is just too much for communications cable intended to transmit data. They claim that it can be run over a standard Category 5e cable but anyone reading these results will think otherwise. Furthermore as we demonstrated anyone thinking of using a 26AWG solid core cable should seriously think again as it is not just about today it is about tomorrow which brings us on to the subject of 25 year Manufacturer Warranties. All current warranties are written around current standards, irrespective of the manufacturer, they specifically relate to the operating temperature dictated in the cabling standards of -10˚C to +60˚C when we go outside these boundaries who is going to become responsible? The manufacturers of the system, the end users, the designers or the manufacturers of the equipment vendors who are trying to push more and more down the cable, when they are given an inch want to take a mile?

This Technical Note has been produced by F. Akinnouye, Dr A. Duffy (De Montfort University, Dept of Engineering, Leicester, UK) and Paul Cave, Technical Manager, Excel Networking.

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Accelerated degradation of balanced twisted pair performance due to the use of remote powering (PoE+) Overview It had been observed during testing carried out in conjunction with De Montfort University in 2014 that heating due to remote powering over twisted pair cables appears to degrade the cable performance. With power heading towards 100W, this could be significant. In fact we even witnessed failure within the cable bundles when thermally insulated and operating at this high power and hence temperature, this was presented in the Proceedings of IWCS 2014.

This specification remains a challenge for the Unscreened Twisted Pair (U/UTP) cables, specifically once installed in a restricted heat dissipation environment. This is because the lower categories of cable have smaller conductor sizes and their D.C loop resistance per unit length is higher than that of the higher categories of cable. Category 6A has a larger cable diameter than the lower categories of cable and therefore does not heat up as much.

In this present study, we assessed the performance degradation of balanced twisted pair cable by repeated heating cycles for both temperatures within the standards specification and beyond. It was suspected that repeated heat cycles would lead to accelerated ageing of the compounds used for the dielectric insulating materials around the conductors, which in turn would lead to changes in the performance values of the cables when tested.

In a typical installation where cables exist in a number of bundles and are packed together, they will also possibly experience proximity of heat sources and that could lead to an excessive temperature rise within the cable itself and the surrounding cables. This has been suggested by SPIE as a contributing factor to heat-aging of the cable polymers and the potential performance degradation of the cabling system. Additionally, communication cables may be subjected to different operating and environmental conditions that can also alter their performance.

Part of these assumptions were based upon work being carried out by SPIE the Specialist Plastics Industry group who are looking to launch similar research in conjunction with UL (Underwriters Laboratory) after they had related concerns regarding the performance of the cladding materials used in fibre cables. The tests in the study thermally cycle the cable from an ambient of +20 degrees up to an ambient of +70 degrees to see if there is any substantial ‘knee point’ in behaviour. Also, to assess the performance degradation at elevated temperature, the thermal cycling was extended to about 120°C.

Background of Study The specification of the IEEE 802.3at includes 60°C as the maximum acceptable operating environment for cabling supporting PoE+. However, the Addendum TIA TSB-184 specified 15°C as the maximum allowable temperature rise above ambient for any cable rated for 60°C. This means, no matter how much power is being pushed down the cable, the number of cables deployed per bundle, the cable type and the installation condition, temperature rise above 45°C for instance, will have to stay within the 15°C limit.

A study conducted near a return air plenum during the summer period suggested a peak temperature of 40°C. Cables installed in such areas may experience change in temperature that may lead to the modification of the cable properties and could cause attenuation issues in transmission, leading to increased signal attenuation and high bit error rate in some applications.

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Experiment Description The experiment into accelerated age testing was performed on a Category 6 U/UTP cable link. As shown in figure 5 below, the laboratory set up consists of a DSX-5000 Cable Analyzer, kindly supplied to the University by Fluke Networks, with the appropriate permanent link adapters, a set of thermocouple sensors of K type, a wire basket tray, a temperature data logger for the automatic temperature readings from the thermocouple sensors, some heating elements for the purpose of heating the cable externally, Power Supply Units (PSU) that were used for powering the heating elements, a constructed heat chamber and a 50m length of Category 6 U/UTP that was subjected to thermal degradation inside the constructed heat chamber.

continued overleaf

341


Excel White Papers and Technical Notes Also, before the heating cycling began, the thermocouples placed on the various locations of the cable were connected to a data logger that allowed the temperature readings to be recorded automatically. During the first heating cycle, the cable sample was tested at an ambient temperature of 20°C. When the temperature on the cable under test had risen to about 10°C, measurements were taken again. For this initial experiment, 25 consecutive heating measurements were made with an increment of 10°C, up to a maximum operating temperature of 70°C. When the temperature on the cable had reached ~70°C, the cable was allowed to cool naturally by turning off the heat source and by taking the heat chamber lid off. The second heating cycle started when the temperature on the cable was at or near room temperature. This process was repeated for 10 heating cycles. After a trend in the cable performance had been observed for 10 heating cycles, another 2 heating cycles (cycle 11 and cycle 12) were carried out using the previous process but with a prolonged heating time.

Figure 5

To gain sufficient information in order to predict the effects of the repeated heating cycles on the cable performance, another 13 heating cycles were carried out. The temperature profile for the last 13 heating cycles is shown in the following.

The heat chamber is about 2m length and was constructed using a wooden box with a lid. The internal surface of the chamber was lined with an insulating foil. The wire basket tray was raised off the bottom of the box. The heat chamber had two openings on its sides. One opening was used to place the thermocouple sensors on different positions on the cable, while the other opening was used for the mounting of a faceplate that was housing the Category 6 keystone jacks.

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The tests were performed using the upper operating temperature specified within ISO/11801 of 60°C and were later increased to 80°C in order to observe the behaviour of the cable when operating at a temperature above the specified limit. The Category 6 cable sample was spooled loosely and on the wire basket tray and thermocouple sensors were placed in various locations of the cable jacketing material. The cable was kept at a permanent position, inside the heat chamber and without any movement throughout the test period. The measurement ends of the cable were terminated with standard Category 6 keystone jacks.

Return loss has been used in this paper as a good illustration of the cable performance and the following figure shows the Return Loss for several of the heating cycles. It is interesting to observe that the first cycle of heating brought about changes to the overall profile which did not change for the other cycles.

Before the test began, the main and the remote ends of the Cable Analyzer were connected using the Permanent Link Adaptors. ISO/IEC 11801 Class E test limit was selected on the Cable Analyzer, along with the correct cable type and Nominal Velocity of Propagation (NVP) value was set. To establish a baseline cable performance and to verify the cable compliance with the ISO1811 class E standard limit, the permanent link adapters were attached to the outlets at the outside of the heat chamber and the certification tests were performed. The measurements taken at an ambient temperature of 23°C before the test began passed the certification tests.

342

continued overleaf


www.excel-networking.com In the previous study in 2014, the catastrophic effects associated with energizing U/UTP cable bundles with 100W were reported. Similarly, a recent study on the performance of the U/UTP cables has reported high attenuation at elevated temperature. As a result of this, the performance of the U/UTP cables poses a great concern under extreme conditions.

Conclusion and Recommendation Remote powering is a fact of networked life, aging and degradation is to be expected during remote powering. It can be minimized by avoiding extreme temperatures or by ‘running in’ the cables by powering them up to get them hot prior to installation (pre-aging) and then rechecking that they still meet specifications. There are two key aspects that this paper impacts. The first is the physical behaviour of the cabling and the second is the implications that this has on the integration of cabling within the building design. While the reason for changes in the cable data is not specifically understood, some polymer degradation effect is likely, however further research to look at complex permittivity assessment of the dielectrics on their own and as part of transmission will be needed into the physical or chemical changes within the dielectrics.

remote powering end equipment and passing through a roof space in a non-air-conditioned building: a bundle core temperature exceeding 100°C may be a possibility. So, what is the implication of this? It is typical that new buildings will be modelled for air-flow, insulation and temperature (for the comfort of those who use the building). The conclusion from this paper is that the simulation also needs to include data cable pathway temperature simulation, which includes potential self-heating effects and those areas with greatest risk of excess heating are monitored and the temperature controlled with the same attention that the equipment at either end of the cable is thermally managed.

Credits l Florence Akinnuoye – MSc Communications Engineering (De Monfort Univ) studying for PhD l Professor Alistair Duffy BEng(Hons), MEng, MBA, PhD, CEng, FIET, IEEE Fellow l Professor of Electromagnetics, De Montfort Univ l Paul Cave RCDD, RTPM,CDCDP,CNID – Technical Manager - Infrastucture

The second aspect that comes out of this work is associated with integrated building design. As data services in ‘smart’ buildings become more fundamental to the operation and management of the building, health monitoring and management of the data infrastructure becomes vital to ensuring that other services and operations of the building do not become impaired. This paper has looked at the effects of repeated and extended heating of Ethernet cables. It has demonstrated that while changes to the performance within the ‘usual’ range of temperatures can cause changes to the performance profile, these are generally within specification. However, should the temperature extend beyond this, the safety margin is not terribly large, with only something like 30 degrees of headroom. This, in itself should be sufficient for most operations. However, consider a bundle of cables

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White Paper

The Use of System Assured Manufacturers Patch Leads in Warranted Channel Systems Overview

Mechanical Testing

I really didn’t know where to start when researching this white paper as the initial background work I did in other facets of Manufacturers Warranties, threw up a number of different ideologies.

Besides having properly mated patch cords and connectors to ensure maximum performance during initial installation, patch cords also have to be designed to easily handle frequent moves, adds, and changes. Due to the handling that patch cords receive, it is recommended that mechanical stress testing of patch cords to ensure they continue to operate under real-world conditions be carried out. Patch cords should also be mechanically tested for performance after bending in various configurations.

Some manufacturers insist that the Warranty is only valid with their patch and work areas cords installed, others take a more pragmatic approach, their testing is based on the permanent link and treat the patch lead almost as a necessary ‘disposable’ item, certainly at the work area. However, from personal experience I have found that the majority of the ‘reported’ faults in a cabling system can be traced back to aftermarket and incorrect category patch cords. I have even witnessed a customer who had spent a six figure sum on the installation of a Category 6A solution, then install Cat6 patch cords to save themselves a few hundred pounds.

Conclusions

In the long term this will be a major false economy!

As we have seen, some will try and run the risk of saving a few pennies by not using the systems manufacturers patch cords; however before doing so they should take the time to read the freely downloadable ‘Copper Cabling Troubleshooting Handbook’ from Fluke Networks to see all of the potential pitfalls.

It is clear that the performance of the channel is most impacted by noise generated in the area of the channel closest to the end devices equipment; therefore it is critical that patch cords properly support the performance requirements of the entire structured cabling system. Why when making such a major investment to support critical business applications do some organisations risk continued performance by using un-branded patch cords.

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It is important that patch cords have the following design features: l

Mated performance through design with connecting hardware to ensure the maximum cancellation of near-end-crosstalk

l

A construction that ensures long-term reliability of the network under day-to-day moves, adds and change conditions

l

Certified component performance to match the rest of the system

Patch cords are an integral component impacting the performance of the entire structured cabling system. Investment should be made in patch cords that utilize advanced features to deliver maximum reliability and usability of the network.

The following will show the test parameters most impacted by poor patch cords. Whilst in the overview the Handbook lists Bad Patch Cords as the number 5 reason, they do go on to clarify that by saying that it would be much higher up the list, as patch cords are not usually present when the installation testing is taking place.

Investing in high quality patch cords ensures the channel components work together as an end-to-end solution to maximize performance and reliability. Various testing scenarios, not least of which is highlighted below provide quantifiable results to support the importance of high quality patch cords. continued overleaf

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www.excel-networking.com The Test Parameters that can be affected by Bad Patch Cords are: Insertion Loss â&#x20AC;&#x201C; (Attenuation) l

Excessive length

l

Non-twisted or poor quality patch cables

l

High impedance connections

l

Inappropriate cable category

As frequencies increase these factors become even more crucial, so using a patch cord that has not been supplied by the manufacturer of the system may be one false economy too far.

NEXT and PSNEXT l

Poor twisting at connection points

l

Poorly matched plug and jack

l

Poor quality patch cords

l

Bad connectors

l

Bad cable

l

Excessive compression caused by plastic cable ties

RETURN LOSS l

Patch cord impedance not 100 ohms

l

Patch cord handling causing changes in impedance

l

Installation practices (untwists or kinks of cable)

l

Excessive amount of cable jammed into the Telecom Outlet box

l

Bad connector

l

Cable impedance not uniform

l

Impedance mismatch at junction between patch cable and horizontal cable

l

Poorly matched plug and jack

RESISTANCE l

Excessive cable length

l

Poor connection due to oxidized contacts

l

Poor connection due to marginally attached conductors

l

Thinner gauge cable

l

Incorrect patch cord type

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes

White Paper

The potential impact of IEEE 8O2.11ac on copper cabling systems (Part 2) Further to the Whitepaper we published in early 2015 on the impact of the new IEEE 802.3ac wireless systems, Excel Networking commissioned additional testing in conjunction with De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. This paper will look to outline the initial findings and provide some insights on how any potential effects can be mitigated. Overview

large frequency range and is tolerant to minor changes.

For obvious reasons the vendors of this new technology, specifically the Ethernet Alliance, do not want to be limited to the number of customers they can sell these devices to because the potential bandwidth implications require an upgrade to the existing cabling installation.

In using the reverberation chamber, a rotating reflective stirrer altered the ‘boundary condition’ within the chamber; the purpose of which was to cause large amounts of changes in the standing wave patterns

They want to remove the roadblock of legacy cabling effecting higher performance Wifi which has lead to the NGBase-T working group developing new Ethernet speeds. Therefore the emerging 2.5GBase-T and 5GBase-T standards are designed to support such applications as wireless access points (WAPs). The intended target is for 2.5GBase-T to operate over Category 5e and 5GBase-T over Category 6, whilst there is current debate about whether Category 5e cable should actually be used at all for such applications due to the uncertainty of whether the Category 5e cable (and to extent unscreened Category 6) would not only be effected by the external interference induced by the WAP or other WAPs in the vicinity of the cable, but whether they can support the level of remote powering required to drive the units.

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Furthermore, where data cables are used to support intentional radiators, such as wireless hotspots, the cable may become an antenna in its own right and signals will couple to the cable and can be transmitted along it, which could cause a potential problem further down the link. Method Used A mode stirred reverberation chamber is a useful environment in which to assess cables for such interference because it provides a statistically uniform ‘worst case’ environment in which to place a cable under test. In this case, the reverberation chamber provides noise coupling to the entire length of the cable under test, finding the most vulnerable coupling points, as might happen in an actual installation. Because of the unpredictability in the real world environment, a high frequency test method was required rather than using a current probe or the tri-axial method. The reverberation chamber approach was chosen as it is very accurate over a

Test Reverberation Chamber • Frequency range- 100MHz-6GHz • Mode tune operation was used. • Transmitter antenna excited the chamber. • Receive antenna measured the generated field. • VNA was used to measure the coupling between the transmit antenna, the receive antenna and the twisted pair under test. In laypersons terms, we induced a signal to the chamber. We used a stirrer to induce fluctuation into the signal and then we tested the impact on the cable sample. Given the understanding that screened cable would be fundamentally immune to the effects during this test, both Category 5e and Category 6 unscreened cable were used and the impact was further modified and sampled by just screening the point of termination. continued overleaf

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www.excel-networking.com Testing The frequency range used was between 100 MHz-6GHz and the peak value at each frequency was obtained and that provided the worst case response. First, all the measuring instruments used in this test were calibrated. Next, the noise floor measurement of the network analyzer was taken. This was done with no source of signal connected to the vector network analyzer. The noise floor is the level of background noise in a signal or the level of noise introduced by the system below which the signal being coupled cannot be isolated from the noise.

TEST 1 In the first test, 2.5m, 5.0m and 10.0m coiled lengths of Category 5e and Category 6 cables were prepared as described and tested for noise coupling in the chamber with the terminals and connections exposed to electromagnetic waves in the chamber. This test was to investigate if there was any length dependence on the coupling to the cables.

TEST 2 In the second test, 2.5m, 5.0m and 10.0m lengths of Category 5e and Category 6 cables were laid straight instead of coiled (change of orientation) and the same coupling tests were repeated. Here the test was to investigate whether there was any limitation on the way the cable is laid out in the chamber.

TEST 3 In the third test, the same 2.5m, 5.0m and 10.0m lengths of coiled Category 5e and Category 6 cables were tested with the cable ends and terminations screened. Here the aim was to investigate the influence of exposing the cable ends and terminations from dominating the coupling.

Reference Antenna Category 5e Category 6

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continued overleaf


Excel White Papers and Technical Notes Conclusion

Additional Credits

l The result of test 1 showed that the coupling of noise conducted in the reverberation chamber is length independent. This is shown clearly from the very close resemblance and trend of the couple signals in the three lengths of cables tested. From the result of test 2, there is marginal difference in coupling between Category 5e and Category 6 cables when laid straight rather than when coiled. However, in this test Category 6 coupled less than Category 5e.

l Edwin C Arihilam is currently reading for a PhD in EMC. His main research interests are in EMC, Antenna systems at De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester

l Screening the cable ends and terminations resulted in less coupling in the category cables. This result can be seen in the results from test 3. By screening, the ends and terminations were protected from dominating the coupling. l Finally, coupling in both category cables were compared with a reference antenna. The result showed that Category 6 coupled less noise than Category 5e. l Overall, while the rate of coupling is strongly dependent on frequency, the shape of the coupled noise did not significantly change much with respect to cable category. This research demonstrates that high power wireless APs operating at 5GHz have the ability to induce noise coupling with the cabling. However it is unclear as to the scale of the potential problem this might cause when combined with the higher bandwidths of 2.5Gb and 5Gb, also whether this level of noise coupling will cause an increase in the BER (bit error rate) encountered. It is commonly accepted that the higher the frequency the structured cabling is operating at, the higher the risk of interference from outside sources, therefore it is clear that screening the terminations and ultimately the cable itself has a significant impact. The next step for this research is to actively test a permanent link whilst it is being subjected to the same levels of signal as used in this initial research.

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l Alistair Duffy is a professor of Electromagnetics at De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester


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White Paper

2.5 & 5Gb -A step too far? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; You decide. Overview

Channel Performance Comparison

In the last few weeks we have seen a major announcement coming out from the IEEE, followed by the supporting marketing hype from certain switch technology vendors, making several very bold claims which border on the irresponsible.

Parameter

Category 5e

Category 6

Category 6A

Propagation Delay

548ns

546ns

546ns

Delay Skew

50ns

50ns

50ns

Insertion Loss

24dB

21,7dB @100MHz 35,9dB @250MHz

12dB @100MHz 8dB @250MHz 6dB @500MHz

Next

30,1dB

39,9dB @100MHz 33,1dB @250MHz

39,9dB @100MHz 33,1dB @250MHz 27,9dB @500MHz

PSNext

27,1dB

37,1dB @100MHz 30,2dB @250MHz

37,1dB @100MHz 30,2dB @250MHz 24,8dB @500MHz

Return Loss

10dB

12dB @100MHz 8dB @250MHz

12dB @100MHz 8dB @250MHz 6dB @500MHz

1PSACR-F

14.4dB

20,3dB @100MHz 12,3dB @250MHz

20,3dB @100MHz 12,3dB @250MHz 6,3dB @500MHz

Back in 2013 the IEEE set up a task force under the designation of NGBase-T which set out to investigate getting higher and higher speeds over copper twisted pair cables. The first task was to try and get 40Gb Ethernet over what has become Category 8 cabling. This was given the designation 802.3bq, the background of which was more about the economics of copper vs fibre interfaces in the switch, rather than anything around a performance upgrade. The second task, driven by the Ethernet Alliance, came along more recently which saw some additional requirements under the banner of 802.3bz. Its members had realised that there was a potential hurdle in the deployment of Wave 2 802.11ac wireless. This has a theoretical bandwidth limit that far outstrips what can be delivered by existing 1Gb Ethernet provided by Category 5e and Category 6 cabling. Therefore anyone wanting to upgrade their systems and deploy this new technology would also have to re-cable their building. This has made some companies think twice, due to the additional cost as well as the major disruption it would cause to upgrade the cabling. Not a good result for the equipment vendors. So, in October 2016 we have seen one of the fastest developed standards being published, which states that 2.5 and 5Gb can be deployed over legacy Category 5e and Category 6 twisted pair cabling. A significant development you might think, unfortunately whilst it may be well intentioned, it is poorly thought out. The reason for this statement is based on the premise that these Categories of cabling are now going to be asked to support parameters they were never designed for. When the standards were developed the Category 6 standard improved various values including Next and Return Loss values and introduced ACR-F (attenuation to crosstalk ratio â&#x20AC;&#x201C; far end) as can be seen below. When Category 6A, was introduced, this further introduced AXT (alien crosstalk), so we are now asking the cable to do more than it was intended for. Furthermore the Category 5e cable we installed 10 years ago, as well as the way it was installed, is not the same as what we have and do today, purely because we have had 10 years to learn and make improvements in both aspects.

Above values taken from BS EN 50173-1 Also, note there is no mention in the above table above regarding anything to do with ANEXT as this only appears as a parameter for Category 6A and above.

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What has been the reaction of the cabling groups? Whilst not with the same fanfare, the cabling standards groups have not been sat on their hands either, work has been progressing both within the TIA and ISO/IEC, the former being slightly ahead of the latter. TIA TR42.7 has been developing TSB 5021 Guidelines for the Assessment and Mitigation of Installed cabling to support 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T ISO/IEC TR 11801-9904 is also underway. Guidelines for Installed Cabling to Support 2.5G/5GBASE-T

continued overleaf

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes Please understand the titles of both the TIA and ISO/IEC documents, they are Technical Reports or Technical Service Bulletins, are not standards, they are used for mitigation and assessment NOT design, you cannot use them to design a new installation, as explained further in this document. These documents lay out how to test and assess the existing installation to see if it is possible to support either 2.5 or 5Gb Ethernet on any of the links. TSB 5021 provides details for this testing and if we thought AXT (Alien Crosstalk) testing for 10Gb over unscreened Category 6A was complex, it has nothing on this latest development.

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The basis of the calculations is as follows. You create a 6 around 1 bundle in the same manner as AXT testing and test all victim/disturber combinations, however this should now also be done for 10Mb, 100Mb, 1Gb, 2.5Gb and 5Gb. In total there are 4096 calculations, you then take your worst value which cannot have a value less than 28dB.

Table Courtesy of TIA TSB 5021

28dB of what? Because the IEEE would not agree to it being called AXT we have a new parameter to contend with - Alien Limited Noise to Signal Ration (ALSNR), in simple terms it is the ratio between Insertion Loss and Alien Crosstalk. This calculation is also length dependent, both the length of the link as well as the length the cables are bundled together. Within TIA TSB 5021 they do try to provide some form of guidance regarding whether the cable might work or not, unfortunately in the table above these are only single cables or very short links that are only bundled for a very short distance.

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For clarification, every combination in Green requires the calculations to be run and only the Grey are said to work. Unfortunately, there is no simple fix for testing, whilst Fluke have got 2.5 and 5 Gb application tests in the latest DSX, it’s only an application based test on the single cable. ALSNR is looking at the impact of the noise coming from the cables around the victim cable, so will require an extension to the existing AXT testing to be able to do that. Another consideration we must look at is the fact that whilst we have the ‘get out of jail card’ for Screened Cables when it comes to Category 6A & AXT the problem is that the vast majority of the Category 5e and Category 6 cable installed,

continued overleaf


www.excel-networking.com especially in the UK, is unscreened so susceptible to external noise. The scale of the potential problem could be huge with customers complaining that their wireless networks are failing to provide the bandwidth their equipment vendor has promised. The blame is likely to be placed on the cabling infrastructure, however the cabling system they installed 5-7 years ago was never intended to support these new parameters.

Conclusion One saving grace for the cabling community will be the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Standardsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; there will be no retrospective action by any of the standards committees to include 2.5Gb and 5Gb Ethernet as supported applications in the Category 5e and Category 6 sections of ISO 11801 or BS EN 50173. Only under Category 6A will they be listed. Furthermore, there is a clear move within the cabling standards to recommend that all new installations should be of a minimum category to support the latest technology, therefore it should be Category 6A. So the simple answer for anyone considering upgrading their wireless infrastructure to support a higher bandwidth should be, to ignore the marketing hype and factor in the cost of re-cabling if they want guaranteed performance.

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White Paper

To Screen or not to Screen? – A subject re-visited. Should Class EA /Category 6A cabling installations be Screened? Overview The debate rages on in many sectors of the market concerning whether ISO/IEC 11801 Class EA, or Category 6A should or in fact NEED to be Screened to effectively support 10Gig Ethernet transmission.

Figure 1. 100-Metre Channel PSANEXT Performance Characteristics

Each method has its pros and cons; there is a misguided belief that unscreened is cheaper and easier to install and terminate and that screened has its own issues in relation to grounding and bonding. In this white paper we try to balance a number of these choices and dispel some of the myths and try to give the reader a balanced view on what is the best route to follow. In the last few years there have been a number of studies carried out by manufacturers in their own right and independent studies that have been part or wholly funded by manufacturers, we will look at some of those findings. The IEEE 802.3an-2006 standard for 10GBASE-T operation was ratified in June 2006. It defined an application standard for 10 Gb/s data transmission over copper twisted pair cabling of up to 100 metres, it includes the use of both unscreened twisted pair (UTP) and screened twisted pair (STP) copper cabling systems. Detail

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In 10GBASE-T applications, the noise source that most limits the ability to transmit 10Gb Ethernet over copper cabling is alien crosstalk. Because the 10GBASE-T receiver cannot compensate for the noise from adjacent channels, this effect must be cancelled out wherever possible by the cabling system to ensure reliable data transmission. This noise is measured as Power Sum Alien Near-End Crosstalk (PSANEXT) and as Power Sum Alien Attenuation to Crosstalk Ratio at the Far-End (PSAACRF). Both ISO/IEC 11801 Ed 2.2 Class EA and TIA-EIA568-C.2 Category 6A require that crosstalk be measured in a 6-around-1 cabling configuration that takes into account the worst-case effect on a centre cable with six cables tightly bundled around it. A Category 6 U/UTP system will not meet the alien crosstalk limits required for 100 metres of 10GBASE-T transmission (see Figure 1).

The above shows the TIA limits, it must be noted that ISO/IEC limits are somewhat tighter, meaning the Category 6 and is even further from success and whilst Category 6A U/UTP still passes it is a lot closer to the limits than a screened system. Coming back to the question of whether to screen are not there are some basic considerations to weigh up when making the choice. Some of the benefits for a screened solution are clear from the above chart, however there are a number of screening types available, each has a different level of effectiveness and we will look at that in more detail later however the basics remain the same. In properly installed and bonded screened cabling, the foil screen within the cable prevents signals from coupling which reduces alien crosstalk well below the required limits. All the tests we mentioned in the opening of this paper indicate that screened cabling systems provide significant margin over the IEEE 802.3an-2006 specification for 10GBase-T PSANEXT and PSACCRF, thereby removing the need for time-consuming and complicated field-testing of alien crosstalk completely. Therefore ISO 11801 clearly states that Alien Crosstalk testing is NOT required for screened systems. The standards also state that an unscreened solution may be ‘compliant by design’ this may be the products or the design continued overleaf

352


www.excel-networking.com of the installation or in fact a combination of both, however it is clear that much more care must be taken when considering an unscreened solution. This includes both selection of the product, through to the design of the installation itself, taking into account specific routes the cables take and proximity to potential sources of external noise. The client or their representative is fully within their rights to request proof that the unscreened system complies either by way of independent certification or if that is not available, by carrying out testing of the actual installation itself. Independent Testing In a recent independent test a leading testing establishment selected 5, Class EA Cabling Systems from five different marketleading suppliers they included 2 x U/UTP systems 1 x F/UTP solution and 2 x S/FTP systems. The test set up involved the use of real 10GBase-T equipment and live 10Gb/s traffic.

Figure 3 – Practical Radiated HF Test (3m distance)

System System System System System 01 02 03 04 05

Walkie-talkies

Mobile communication devices (mobile phone, GSM card)

Figure 4 – Fast Transients 400 350

Initial Findings

300

The first and most important fact was the basic Class EA performance in all cases the screened solutions provided greater headroom than the unscreened systems The second factor was the U/UTP systems tested demonstrated significantly weaker ANEXT performance and coupling attenuation in comparison to the screened systems.

System System System System System 01 02 03 04 05

Trace level in kv

250 200

E1

150 100

E2

050

E3

Channel type

U/UTP

U/UTP

F/UTP

S/FTP

S/FTP

Insertion loss (margin) [db]

8.8

8.6

8.6

10.5

15.5

PS NEXT (margin) [db]

5.5

8.2

7.8

5.8

6.2

TCL (margin) [db]

9.2

8.9

9.6

5.45

10.4

Without knowing the full details of the systems selected and cable constructions used, it would be wrong to jump to the conclusion that all U/UTP systems will fail to meet the performance requirements, so we should look to consider some of the other factors that are being discussed.

RL (margin) [db]

8.8

9.5

3.4

6.9

8.2

Field Testing

PS ANEXT (margin) [db]

-7.6

0.93

27.44

31.37

37.92

Coupling Attenuation [db]

45.0

47.5

78.0

76.0

79.0

000 E1 = Office Environment

Other tests included immunity against fast transient electrical disturbances, such as Powering of Fluorescent Lamps and immunity against radiated electromagnetic fields, such as those produced by GSM based mobile phones. Once again the U/UTP systems performed badly in comparison to the Screened Systems.

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The reason why Alien Crosstalk testing be should avoided wherever possible is very simple, it comes down to time and money. Performing a 100% alien crosstalk test in a cabling plant is impractical and virtually impossible in large cabling plants. Using the specified 6-around-1 method, the formula to determine the number of tests that would need to be run for 100% coverage is (n2+n)/2 where n is the number of links in the installation. For example, in an installation with 100 links, a total of 5,050 tests would need to be run to test every possible combination. In a 500-link installation the total number of tests climbs to 125,250 tests when testing every possible combination. Therefore the ISO/IEC 61935-1 standard provides guidelines for sample testing.

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Excel White Papers and Technical Notes ISO/IEC 61935-1 states sample testing should be conducted based upon evaluating links that meet all of the following conditions: l Links with the Highest Insertion Loss l Links with the Lowest Insertion Loss l Links with the Median Insertion Loss l Longest installed lengths l Cables within the same bundle l Adjacent ports in the patch panel The key weakness of a U/UTP system comes about when you have a large quantity of adjacent ports loaded into patch panels, a fact that is highlighted within the measurement of ANEXT within ISO/IEC 11801 ed2.2 as by definition it does not meet the criteria of the infrastructure design element.

“Worst case conditions occur where ANEXT coupling occurs over the full length of disturbing and disturbed cabling and where all connections within each link are co-located”.

Power over Ethernet Whilst not in the original scope of this White Paper (the full details are discussed in our ‘Demystifying PoE’ white paper) this technology has more of an impact on this matter than a lot of people realise. It is widely accepted that the use of remote powering or PoE has the side effect of heating up bundles of cables. As the demand for higher levels of power increases the level of heating is also following on. What some have forgotten is an increase in Temperature is one of the major contributors for the increase in Attenuation, what a lot don’t realise is the extent of this and the fact that it differs for Unscreened and Screened. All the performance criteria for the 100m Channel as outlined in EN 50173-2 is based upon it operating at an ambient temperature of 20˚C and for every degree over this level this distance should be reduced. The following formula provided in the above standard gives the rate of reduction for unscreened cables. In short for temperature increases up to 20˚C above the ambient the Channel should be reduced by 4% and for temperatures over 20˚C above the ambient, there is an additional 6% that has to be added.

Unscreened Lt>20˚C=L/(1 + (T-20) x 0,004) Lt>40˚C=L/(1 + (T-20) x 0,004 + (T-40) x 0.006)

“Simple models assume equal lengths of disturbed and disturbing links and co-location of connecting hardware (patch panels)”.

This could potentially have a dramatic effect to the performance of installed cabling as recent research shows that the level of heating can be significant in some cases 30-40˚C above the ambient. Again Screened Cabling performs much better, firstly research has proved it does not heat up as much as an unscreened cable and when it does the de-rating formula is much simpler as it is based upon 2%.

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Screened Lt>20˚C=L/(1 + (T-20) *0,002)

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www.excel-networking.com On this basis what are the real differences and myths. Unscreened

Screened

No Screen, Simpler and quicker to terminate. Yes and No; more care is needed in the preparation to ensure twist ratios are maintained etc. Most U/UTP solutions are very tightly twisted pairs and a large plastic separator.

Most manufacturers offer either a termination aid or have toolless products which lead to the overall time taken being quicker than U/ UTP. Certainly the cable pulling time will not change

Cable pulling time for an unscreened solution can vary from slightly to a lot worse depending on the actual construction of the cable

Most screened cables have a relaxed twist on each of the pairs meaning that the cable itself is much less stiff and easier to handle and install

Does not require Bonding – This is a Myth, all metal panels within a cabinet whether Screened or Unscreened need to be bonded within the cabinet in accordance with BS/ EN50310

A small amount of additional time is required to ensure all the outlets within each panel have a clean contact with the frame.

UTP cables are smaller – Again a myth, some U/UTP cable have an elliptical design and overall OD which is on average anywhere between 7.3 - 9.3mm, depending upon the manufacturer , however they are all bigger requiring more containment, larger bends and larger back boxes.

Average size of an Excel F/FTP solution is 6.9mm U/FTP is 6.7mm.

Field Testing although not common Alien Cross Talk testing can be requested requiring a 6 around 1 test method. A number of field testers make assumptions for this and rely on the manufacturer to back them up. If the full 6 around 1 test is called for the additional time for testing is a minimum 10-15mins per link.

Field Testing – ANEXT testing is not required, typical test time for a permanent link is approx 14-22 seconds, although there are next generation testers on the market that can test a Permanent Link less than 10 seconds.

The U/FTP cable is also available in a 305m box, thereby reducing set up time for cable pulling by as much as 75%.

Conclusions It is clear that all the evidence shows that Screened is best, while Unscreened can be a viable option for those who choose to take that route, when they understand the implications highlighted in this paper. One thing that is becoming clear is the number of companies choosing a screened solution is dramatically increasing across the globe, even in markets that have been firmly unscreened historically, as they start to understand the benefits while at the same time the myths of screening have been dispelled by better education.

For the same physical space, it is possible to get as many as 15% more cables in the same space based upon the smallest U/UTP available from a leading manufacturer.

This is separate and on top of the Permanent Link Testing Separation distances between Power and data are greatly increased with an unscreened cable e.g. for 10 circuits of 20A there has to be a physical separation between the Power and the Data cables of 80mm

The separation distances between the same number of power circuits is at least halved with foil screening requiring a distance of only 40mm and a S/FTP construction requiring even less.

Increased attenuation caused by temperature. Increased attenuation caused by temperature. Screened cable has a lower and simpler deUnscreened cable has a higher and more rating factor complex de-rating factor

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This Technical Note has been produced by Paul Cave, Technical Manager, on behalf of Excel.

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Technical Note Excel Cable – Liquid Contamination Author: Simon Robinson Date:

March 2012

This document covers the interaction of liquids (including water) with indoor Excel Copper and Fibre cable and connecting hardware. This document excludes product that is designed for external use.

Connecting Hardware

The connecting hardware consists of l copper jacks & patch panels l fibre optic pigtails, connectors and patch panels These connecting hardware products are designed for indoor use as defined by ISO standards. This means that they are to be used in dry environments. Therefore if any of the mentioned Excel product has been in contact with any liquid they shall be replaced. This is because of the unknown composition of the liquid. Even water may contain impurities, for example from the salts that emanate from a concrete slab. These contaminates may have affects on the mechanical and/or the electrical/optical performance. In the case of the performance the effect of the connector ‘drying out’ may lead to altering performance during the process. The long term effects of the contaminate will also be unknown.

Cable

The cable consists of l copper – LSOH & PVC cable l fibre optic – LSOH & PVC cable These indoor cables are also designed to be stored, installed and operated in an indoor environment. This excludes the immersion in liquids or having liquids in contact with the sheath. If any liquid comes into contact with the cable it shall be replaced. The jacket sheath is designed to ensure that the cable is mechanically secure and stable. Even in the case of water this can have a negative effect on the sheath due to the composite of the jacket material. For example the construction of LSOH indoor sheathed cable can absorb liquid over time. This is a factor of the compound manufacture and will be common with many manufacturers. Any liquid absorption will change the geometry of the cable therefore having an effect on the electrical or optical performance. Probably the worst case would be to get liquid in the end of a copper cable. The capillary action will draw the liquid a fair distance along the inside of the sheath. The liquid will have an effect on the Return Loss of the cable which will vary as the cable ‘dries out’ over a much extended timescale.

Mitigating Actions

Excel recommends that to mitigate the possibility of liquid contamination that installations are only undertaken once the building is ‘water tight’ and liquid systems (e.g. sprinklers, water, etc.) are installed and tested. Cables can be protected by containing them in basket or tray that is off the floor slab. In the case of spillages this will reduce the risk from indirect contamination.

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On a pragmatic note If a cable is in constant contact with water for less than four hours it may be possible to lift and dry it completely and as long as it passes all subsequent testing we will accept these cables for warranty purposes with the following conditions: l The total period of time involved is less than, i.e. either one period of 4 hours or a cumulative 4 hours following multiple instances. l This is only acceptable if can be proved the period of time involved is less than 4 hours e.g. recorded time for a burst main or sprinkler etc. If the period of time is unknown, then it can only be assumed to be more than 4 hours. The onus is on the installer to provide evidence. l At no point should the water have come in contact with the un-terminated end or the outlet of a terminated end. Any incident of this nature and the cables shall be replaced.

Summary

Liquid contamination of any kind requires the product that has come in contact to be replaced. After any change the affected link shall be re-tested. This Technical Note has been produced by Simon Robinson, Product Manager, on behalf of Excel

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Technical Note Installation Guidelines Update – BS7671 Electrical Regulations, 17th Edition, Amendment 3 - 2015 Title:

TN21

Author: Paul Cave Date:

February 2015

This technical note covers the changes to the Electrical Regulations that must be followed to comply with installation practices moving forward.

Chapter 52 – Selection and Erection of Wiring Systems In particular this section of the regulations has seen the significant addition of the following Regulation:

521.11 Wiring Systems in escape routes 521.11.201 Wiring systems in escape routes shall(1)① be supported such that they will not be liable to premature collapse in the event of fire. The requirements of the Regulation 422.2.1 shall also apply(2)②, irrespective of the classification of the conditions for evacuation in an emergency. — Note 1: Non-Metallic cable trunking or other non-metallic means of support can fail when subject to either direct flame or hot products of combustion. This may lead to wiring systems hanging across access or egress routes such as that they hinder evacuation and firefighting activities. — Note 2: This precludes the use of non-metallic cable clips, cable ties or cable trundling as the sole means of support. For example, where non-metallic cable trunking is used, a suitable fire-resistant means of support/retention must be provided to prevent cables from falling out in the event of fire. 1.

②In standards and regulations terminology SHALL means MUST or Mandatory.

2.

②422.2 – Conditions for evacuation in an emergency (from the existing Regulations and not amended)

The following regulations refer to conditions:

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BD2: Low density occupation, difficult conditions for evacuation BD3: High density occupation, easy conditions for evacuation BD4: High density occupation, difficult conditions for evacuation. Note: Authorities such as those responsible for building construction, public gathering, fire prevention, hospitals etc. may specify which BD condition is applicable.

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Technical Note Installation Guidelines Update – BS7671 Electrical Regulations, 17th Edition, Amendment 3 - 2015 422.2.1 In conditions BD2, BD3 or BD4 wiring systems shall not encroach on escape routes unless the wiring in the wiring system is provided with sheaths or enclosures, provided by the cable management system itself or by other means.

What this means. Escape routes as defined within these regulations could be interpreted as any routes used by the occupants to get into and out of the building both in normal as well as emergency conditions. To avoid any confusion or risk this should therefore be considered as all corridors or passageways within buildings. This is now of particular importance as it is common practice for these routes to also be used for the distribution of communication cables at high level. Therefore effective from January 2015 any cables being run at high level shall now be supported by metallic supports along their full length when installed in these areas. This will include, cable tray, metal basket tray and metal ‘J Hooks’ the latter will be spaced at recognised regular intervals of every 1.5m.(5ft).

Amendments to Excel Installation Guidelines The use of nylon and ‘hook n loop’ cable ties to retain communication cables from the underneath of cable or basket tray will not be acceptable. The use of nylon or ‘hook n loop’ cable ties to suspend communications cables, irrespective of the quantity, from ‘anchor systems’ driven into the floor slab at high level will also not be acceptable Finally, the use of Non-Metallic ‘Anchor Systems’ for supporting communications cables will not be acceptable.

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Technical Note Changes in US Conec Single-mode MTP Connectors

Title:

TN22

Author: Paul Cave – Technical Manager Date:

February 2015

This technical note covers the changes carried out by US Conec to their Single-mode MTP Connectors in the second half of 2014.

Change to APC (angled physical contact) Polish for US Conec MTP Single-mode connectors In June 18, 2014 – US Conec, a global leader in the design and development of high-density optical interconnections, announced the immediate availability of single-mode pre-angled thermoplastic MT ferrules. The unique pre-angled design eliminates a polishing fixture, minimizing the polishing time during the production process, all while improving the overall performance of the MT ferrule. At the same time they also announced they would be phasing out support of PC (physical contact) for single-mode applications. As of September 2014 we could no longer source PC ferrules for single-mode MTP connectors. The 8 degree APC polish on single mode MTP connectors has improved the overall performance of the connector as well as providing a route for other future enhancements in performance.

What this means. As of October 2014 Excel Networking will only be supplying APC MTP connectors for all Single-mode applications, this includes, Trunk Cables, MTP Patch/Equipment Leads, Cassettes and Fan-out assemblies. All Single-mode part numbers will remain unchanged.

NOTE: — This action will have no affect on any Multi-mode products or part numbers. — Excel Networking only uses the low loss MTP Elite connector from US Conec in its systems.

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Technical Note Change to Excel Multi-Fibre Colour Code Standard Title:

TN24

Author: Paul Cave – Technical Manager Date:

May 2016

This technical note covers changes to all standard Excel multi-fibre Tight-Buffered and Loose-Tube cables. Excel Tight-Buffered and Loose-Tube cable fibre colour coding will be changed from the current DIN standard to TIA-598. The change will be implemented over the following 12-months beginning June 2016. Existing stocks of DIN colour standard cables will be depleted over the coming months. NOTE that this change affects the fibre colour coding only. There are no other changes except the printing on the cable jacket will now include ‘TIA-598’. NOTE that the 12-fibre cables are unaffected. A cross reference list showing the colour sequence of both TIA and DIN is below.

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Technical Note Class E / Category 6 Extended Distances Title:

TN02a_Cat6_Over_length

Author: Simon Robinson Date:

December 2010

This technical note offers guidance with respect to installed channels over 100m and links over 90m using Excel Class E / Category 6 cabling systems. The Excel warranty is standards based to ensure that all of the protocols and applications will run on an installed system. Included within the International Standards cabling channels have a maximum length as one of the parameters to ensure compliance. In the case of Class E / Category 6 the maximum Channel length is 100m. Where the installation exceeds this parameter, and therefore fails the test, this will result in the exclusion from the warranty for that specific Link/Channel. However, Excel accepts that on a specific Link/Channel basis there are occasions where these lengths are exceeded. Excel has carried out testing to determine the maximum length that can be achieved for a given application. Our configuration testing has shown that correctly installed product from the above will pass the above criteria to the following lengths: Application

Permanent Link Length

Channel Link Length (consisting of 5+5m Patch Cord)

10BASE-T

170m

180m

100BASE-TX

120m

130m

1000BASE-TX is only supported with a fully compliant installation, including length of a 100m channel maximum. To determine whether a specific Link will support the desired application Excel recommend that the test is carried out with the Application Specific Test using the Fluke DTX-1800 Cable Analyzer. As these links are over length a further Channel test should be carried out with the specific configuration required. This will give the best indication for the specific channel of the likelyhood of the desired application working. These distances are offered in good faith and subject to continuing development and improvement. The Excel Warranty excludes the specific links, and therefore channels, that are over length (90m and 100m respectively). This Technical Note has been produced by Simon Robinson, Product Manager, on behalf of Excel

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Section14 whitepapersandtechnicalnotes  
Section14 whitepapersandtechnicalnotes