On June 12, 2018, the TIA TR-42.7 Copper Cabling Systems Subcommittee approved the new TIA 568.2-D standard for publication. The new Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling and Components standard will replace TIA-568-C.2. There are a few changes included in this standard that sets it apart from its predecessors.
What’s in a Name
First, you might think that the name of the standard is backwards. But the TIA changed its naming convention by swapping the last letters and numbers. Remember 568-A, 568-B, and 568-C? The letter indicated the revision. Then, within the series (568-C.1, 568-C.2, 568-C.3) the numbers indicated the components. 1 defines general requirements; 2 is balanced twisted-pair cable; 3 is for fibre cabling. The TIA thought it made more sense to put media first (number) and the revision last (letter). We do too. But, after all these years, we’ll just have to remember that we need to swap things around.
Slim is In with 28-AWG Cable
The biggest change in the new standard is the recognition of 28-AWG patch cables, which are becoming more and more popular in high-density racks. The cables are almost half the diametre of 24-AWG cable providing more space, better airflow, easier handling, and a better bend radius. There is a caveat with 28-AWG cable though. If you’re using 28-AWG patch cables, you won’t be able to run a standard 100-metre channel. So if you use 10 metres of 28-AWG patch cables, your horizontal cable run will have to be reduced to 82.5 metres.
Straight to the Point with MPTL
Another big change in the standard is the inclusion of the modular plug terminated link (MPTL). Instead of terminating the horizontal cable in an outlet, you can terminate it on one end with a RJ-45 plug that connects directly into a device. This is extremely practical for connecting IP security cameras or wireless access points where it may be too difficult or expensive to install a traditional outlet. The standard also covers how to test the MPTL.
CAT8 Joins the Party
Although Category 8 cabling was ratified in the TIA 568-C.2.1 revision published in November 2016, it now has a place at the table in the new standard alongside CAT6A. There are some major differences. Developed to support the IEEE 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T specs, CAT8 has a maximum channel length of 30 metres with two connectors and is tested from 1 MHz to 2000 MHz as opposed to a 4-connectors, 100-metre, 500 MHz channel for CAT6A.
Get Powered Up
TIA 568-D.2 also includes Guidelines for Supporting Power Delivery Over Balanced Twisted-Pair Cabling. This provides recommendations for cables that will support DC power, which is important in terms of supporting 4-pair PoE. DC resistance unbalance testing within and between pairs is also now specified in 568.2-D.
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