Siemon Warns of Standards Confusion

Standards issues are often complex and difficult to understand. The imminent ratification of ISO/IEC 11801:2002 Amd 2.0 for Class EA link performance and category 6A component compliance highlights this, says Siemon, with many – if not most – people in the networking industry still believing that the global ISO/IEC standards and the North American TIA/EIA standards are effectively interchangeable.

This is NOT SO according to Siemon – who sit on both the TIA and ISO standards bodies and believe that many manufacturers and distributors of UTP structured cabling systems for Class EA / category 6A are claiming their systems to be “standards compliant” when in fact they are only fully compliant to the TIA standard and not to the more stringent (and therefore more difficult to meet) global ISO/IEC standard.

According to technical experts at Siemon, the ISO/IEC standards call for significantly better signal performance at 500MHz (the top-end and most difficult to engineer for frequency used by 10Gigabit/s Ethernet) with the ISO standard calling for 1.8dB better performance than the American standard in NEXT (near end crosstalk), ACR-F and ACR-N (alien crosstalk, far-end and near-end respectively). These are, say Siemon, the most critical factors in the success or otherwise of a 10Gigabit/s network.

“When you consider that the TIA requirements are 25.1dB NEXT, -23.2dB ACR-F and -26.1dB ACR-F at 500 MHz, you can see that an additional 1.8dB is a very significant difference and so TIA compliance is not enough for the majority of countries where the ISO standards apply”, said Lee Funnell, Siemon’s technical manager for EMEA.

Siemon’s advice to customers outside of North America is to understand and request Class EA/ category 6A compliance to the final draft (soon to be ratified) ISO/IEC 11801:2002 Amd 2.0 standard at channel, link and component levels. North American customers would also benefit from this as the 1.8dB constitutes a considerable extra safety margin or headroom – and ISO compliance automatically includes compliance to the lower TIA requirements.