Andrew Jimenez, Vice President of Technology at Anixter, brings us up to date with the latest development in the Category 8 standard.
Hi, I’m Andy Jimenez, Vice President of Technology with Anixter. I want to talk to you about some of the latest standards developments from some of the standards organizations that Anixter actively participates in.
There’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace, regarding what is the next generation or next cabling system that’s going to be out there. There are two standards industries that Anixter actively participates in. There’s the Telecommunications Industry Association, or TIA, which is primarily a North American-based standard. On the electronics side, there’s the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or the IEEE. They’re developing all the chip sets standards and active electronics that would go into an Ethernet adapter.
They are developing the next generation Ethernet systems and cabling systems that would go beyond what we have today. In a typical data center, the server connection there may go up to 10 Gigabit, but what’s beyond that?
There’s a lot of consensus within the industry to develop the next generation standard. As we are developing these standards, there is going to be a lot of market confusion as to what is the appropriate media type to use for speeds beyond 10 Gigabit Ethernet. On the TIA side, there’s the Next Generation Task Force Group that’s actually working on the next generation cabling specification. The term that they’re currently using for the cabling system is Category 8. There are a few things that we know about Category 8:
1. Specifies a maximum installed cabling distance of up to 30 meters
2. The installed channel up to two connectors
3. F/UTP or FTP media type (other cable types such as UTP and connector types other than RJ45 have not been completely ruled out of the specification).
The IEEE is paralleling the activities of the TIA. They have created a formal task force called the IEEE 802.3bq, which is also working under the same assumptions as the TIA committee, utilizing a maximum of 30-meter reach for their specifications.
With the standards development process still ongoing, there’s a lot of talk. So, if there are vendors and suppliers out there stating they have Category 8 systems in the market, I think it’s a little bit early.
The good news is that as we move forward we will have standards in place that will support data rates beyond 10 Gigabit Ethernet for your servers. We’ll also have 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet standards for the backbone systems within your data center. This work will continue to develop. However, please feel free to use Anixter as a resource. If you have any questions regarding Category 8, IEEE, the TIA or any standards questions, contact your local Anixter representative. Thank you for your time, and have a great day.