Cabling in the gigabit era
Emerging bandwidth-hungry environments leads cabling to new territory
Healthcare is one of the areas where next generation cabling is revolutionising service delivery.
Hospitals are seeing huge jumps in data growth, largely due to the rise of Electronic Health Records, as well as more connected equipment at the bedside and other areas. But there is also a huge push to support staff, patients, and visitors, as they increasingly expect reliable wireless access for mobile devices, observes Asef Baddar, senior manager, network solutions at Leviton.
This means that stronger, faster wireless networks, and the wired infrastructure supporting them have become a much bigger priority for health care IT departments.
However, hospitals will not see the full benefits of new wireless technology without the right cabling infrastructure behind it, Baddar observes.
Health care IT cabling standards, such as TIA-1179, recommend using Category 6A cable for new installations. Only Category 6A will support future migration to speed up to 7 Gbps offered by 802.11ac Wave 2 and 802.11ad technologies, explains Baddar.
The Leviton Atlas-X1 Cat 6A Cabling System was designed to support critical systems such as clinical networks, Baddar says. This solution can deliver 10 Gbps out to WAPs, preparing hospitals for 1 Gbps Wi-Fi today and up to 6.9 Gbps with Wave 2 and beyond. In addition, the Atlas-X1 system utilises Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, which can transmit power and data over the same cable. Most WAPs use PoE, which eliminates the need for additional electrical wiring installations, saving on money and redundant cabling. PoE also allows for faster deployment at the WAP.
“The Atlas-X1 Cat 6A system can deliver 100-Watt PoE, meeting the needs for both higher bandwidth and power,” Baddar says.
Indeed, wireless is having a major impact on cabling in all verticals. Contrary to what many thought, widespread adoption of wireless has helped fuel the cabling industry to offer more and better cabling, says Baddar. “Enterprise wireless access points (WAPs) and backbone cabling infrastructure will need to be upgraded to see the real benefits of new standards such as 802.11ac,” explains Baddar.
Standards have already been revised to support access point upgrades. In late 2013, TIA published TSB-162-A, Telecommunications Cabling Guidelines for Wireless Access Points, which revises recommendations for mounting and routing cable between LAN equipment and WAPs. Cat-6A cabling can prepare networks for next wave of wireless standards.
Many other standards have made their way up the ladder and into approval and publication stage, Baddar observes. New copper standard ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1 – Cat 8 Products has just been approved for publication. This standard will set the way to implementation of cables in the data centre addressing EOR/MOR/TOR. The ANSI/TIA-1183-1 – Lab Testing was also approved and the field testing standard ANSI/TIA-1152-A will follow in October 2016.
In the meantime, Fibre standards have also been upgraded with the new publication of standards such as IEEE 802.3bm next generation 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet that defines 4-lane 100G utilising only 8 core of OM3 or OM4 fibre.