In a recent blog post, Belden’s Paul Kish recounts the history of “BASE” and reminds us how far we’ve come since the early days of 10 Mb/s connectivity. Today 10 Gb/s (over copper) is more the norm with speeds exceeding 100 Gb/s with fiber. Also, unlike the early days of 10 Mb/s, we’re connecting a lot more than just computers today. There are a multitude of devices – both fixed and mobile – all connected and competing for bandwidth. As this bandwidth consumption continues to grow and evolve, so do the copper and fiber cabling system requirements used to support these applications.
Here’s a brief re-cap of recent Ethernet standards – along with the supporting cable – that will shed more light on just how far we’ve come.
1000BASE-T – Published in the late 1990’s, this standard is still widely employed today. As a minimum, 1000BASE-T installations require Cat 5e cabling, and for new installations, Cat 6 is recommended due to its inherent lower signal loss.
10GBASE-T – In 2006, the IEEE put out a new standard recommending Cat 6A cabling for all 10 Gb/s connections for distances up to 100 meters. Cat 6A is specified at two times the frequency as Cat 6 (500 MHz), and has additional minimum restraints for alien crosstalk between cables and connectors. However, due to the fact that the diameter of Cat 6A cable is significantly larger than its Cat 6 predecessor, it has not been universally accepted in the enterprise. Belden’s new generation 10GXS cable is comparable in size to Cat 6, but meets all the specifications for Cat 6A.
2.5GBASE-T and 5.0GBASE-T – These are two new standards coming ever closer to adoption by the IEEE. They are both derivatives of 10GBASE-T, and although neither standard has been specifically defined, it is believed previously installed Cat 6 may be able to support these transmission rates.
40G/100G Ethernet – Developed in 2010, both of these standards support the growth of bandwidth-intensive applications and the need for speed. OM3 and OM4 fiber are the only cables capable of supporting this high capacity standard.
We hope you enjoyed this little trip down “Standards Memory Lane,” and to read Paul Kish’s blog post in its entirety, click here.