Top 6 Things to Know About the New Category 8 Cabling Standard

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has published ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1, which supports 25, 40 and possibly even 50GBASE-T over Category 8 copper cabling. As you consider high-bandwidth applications, here are some key things to keep in mind.

1) How far can you go?

Category 8 channel reach is 30 meters, much shorter than the 100-meter channel of traditional categories of copper cabling.

2) It’s a familiar face!

Category 8 has the familiar RJ45 interface, so jacks and plugs are compatible with the same patch panels, switches, and other equipment that users are familiar with today.

Category 8 products

Category 8 will be deployed as shielded twisted pair construction only.

3) Shields up!

While other category cabling uses unshielded or shielded twisted pair construction, Category 8 will only be shielded cable construction.

4) Where, oh where can it be?

Category 8 is designed for the data center. More specifically, it is designed to support 25G and 40GBASE-T switch-to-server links, a typical fiber-optic application. It will provide the most cost-effective and easiest-to-deploy 25G and 40G links within the data center. The 30-meter reach makes it challenging for Category 8 to be used to deliver higher bandwidth to the desktop or in other Enterprise applications in large-scale deployments.

5) Can Enterprise play, too?

Due to the reach limits of Category 8, Panduit recommends installing Category 6A today for all Enterprise applications. Category 6A supports up to 10GBASE-T at lengths up to 100 meters. Investing in a Category 6A infrastructure for your Enterprise space is the smartest and most cost-effective option for long-term optimal performance of your network. Panduit’s Advanced MaTriX Category 6A products have the additional advantage of allowing optimal heat dissipation and performance with next-generation Power over Ethernet (PoE++).

6) The next step …

Manufacturers are actively developing the next generation 25G and 40G products. Panduit expects to have its product offering – including cabling and connectivity – in 2017, to coincide with the launch of active equipment that will require the higher speeds.

Panduit has already received third-party approval on it’s upcoming Category 8 solution. Learn more here.

Panduit Sees Growth in Stagnant Structured Cabling Market

The structured cabling industry showed a downturn in 2015, according to recent research results shared  by BSRIA. The organization noted a difficult global market for the industry, showing a 3% decline, to $6 billion dollars for 2015. They cited a strong U.S. dollar, lower oil prices, and delays in project timelines as the primary market drivers causing market contraction.

A bright spot in the market analysis is the continued growth of Category 6A in structured cabling. This growth is fueled by a growing need for increased bandwidth, and an upward trend to converge separate legacy protocols onto standard Ethernet protocols. The ongoing evolution of wireless communication standards, which require more than 1 Gb of bandwidth to wireless access points, are compelling IT staff to realize that enterprise-wide multi-gig applications are already here.market growth

Panduit has achieved market growth rates for Category 6A that exceed the BSRIA market assessment and we continue to see strong growth for Category 6A in our target markets globally. End users who install our MaTriX solution benefit from improved alien crosstalk, smaller cable diameters, and the best thermal performance in the industry, a critical factor when Power over Ethernet is part of the installation.

Educated end users recognize that the time for smart infrastructure investment is now.

The convergence of separate systems into a single IP network raises the relevance of the network infrastructure. It is at the core of why our customers continue to choose Panduit and drive our sustained growth in a market with strong economic headwinds.

Whether you are looking for a solution to support the convergence of your networks, or simply want to add wireless access points to your space, Panduit would like to help. Contact your sales rep or distributor today, and we will help you identify the perfect solution.

Cabling Infrastructure for Wireless Access Points

Wireless Access Points (WAPs) have become a common installation in the Enterprise space. How do you know what cabling infrastructure is right to get optimum performance from your WAP? The answer is simple: new permanent installations call for Category 6A.

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Hasn’t Everyone Deployed 10G Ethernet?

The other day I was participating in a conversation with a customer about LAN and SAN speeds greater than 10G. It was a good conversation and the customer had numerous questions about migrating to 40G Ethernet; what is happening with 100G Ethernet, using multiple fibers for Fibre Channel, etc.

Toward the end of the conversation I asked them about their plans regarding deploying 40G Ethernet. They replied that they had no immediate plans for deploying 40G and that the reason they wanted to talk about it was to make sure that their LAN infrastructure could support it in the future. They plan on deploying 10G Ethernet in the new data center.

That revelation hit me with the same impact as participating in an ice bucket challenge.

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Cisco Live 2014

This year’s Cisco Live , being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, promises to be another exciting event. As a Platinum Sponsor, Panduit will be exhibiting in booth #1521 and will be featuring our Intelligent Data Center Solutions, Enterprise Solutions and Industrial Automation Solutions.

We are particularly excited about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture that promises to deliver fast application provisioning and simplified operations. ACI networks will be built upon a flatter 2 tier network architecture that requires some new ways of thinking about how an optimal physical infrastructure should be built. Panduit has been working with Cisco to understand the differences between traditional three tier physical architectures and the ACI architecture, and will be presenting the “ACI Impact on Physical Infrastructure Design and Deployment” in the general session on Tuesday May, 20th at 2:00 p.m. PDT. Examples of cabinets configured with Spine/Leaf network topologies including Top of Rack (ToR), End of Rack (EoR) and Middle of Rack (MoR).

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Reaching for 40GBASE-T

When developing a new networking standard, several attributes need to be balanced to optimize its implementation.  To optimize the implementation of 40GBASE-T, the task force developing the standard (IEEE P802.3bq) appears to have settled on a reach of 30 meters.  This is a tradeoff between power dissipation of the silicon physical layer (PHY) IC driving the cable, the complexity of the PHY which would impact cost, the implementation of the channel, and the reach of the link.

The question is: Is 30 meters long enough?  Let’s take a look.

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