By now, you’ve probably heard the news that the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) TR-42.7 Telecommunications Cabling Systems Engineering Committee has approved the ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1 standard for Category 8 cabling systems. Category 8 is being developed to support 25 and 40 Gbps speeds over short (up to 30 m) distances. James Withey, our representative on the committee, reports that the members are glad to have passed this important milestone and credits the coordinated development work on the part of cabling suppliers, field tester manufacturers and active equipment suppliers. Publication of the standard is expected soon.
This is crucial milestone on the way to developing a tester. So where are we on that front?
Fluke Networks is continuing to work with many of the same parties from TR-42.7 to finalize a standard for field testers. This standard is now being circulated for industry ballot, with publication expected within the next eight months, and maybe even this calendar year.
But a standard needs hardware to implement it. Fluke Networks celebrated a major milestone in this effort with the development of a reference test plug (codenamed “Jupiter”) capable of testing Category 8 permanent links, which allows manufacturers to accurately characterize links made of their components. (While a plug may seem like a simple product, making it accurate and rugged enough for a field tester is an extremely demanding task.) Already, a number of manufacturers are using the Jupiter plug to demonstrate the performance of their cabling solutions to selected customers and at trade shows.
When standards and the hardware are done, Fluke Networks will be ready with testers allowing installers to certify the performance of the installed channels and cabling manufacturers to confidently offer warrantees.
Of course, with no Cat 8 products on the market yet, there’s no need for a tester right now. But forward-looking installers are already thinking about it. That’s one reason we designed the Versiv as a modular platform so as new technologies are introduced, customers won’t have to replace their entire tester. Stay tuned to Fluke Networks for the latest on Cat 8 and other testing technologies.