Standards bodies completing balancing act as CAT 8 specs advance
Standards bodies completing balancing act as CAT 8 specs advanceFeb4
The Category 8 cabling specification is getting closer and closer to its release all the time, though the official ratification of the standard is likely more than a year away. There are a few trends associated with the standard's development that are already clear, however, and Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine recently reported that a careful balancing act will be part of the challenge that comes with CAT 8 engineering.
At this point, the CAT 8 standard from TIA is being developed hand-in-hand with with IEEE 802.3bq 40GBase-T. Both specifications are set for release sometime in late 2015 and they are closely related to one another in that 40GBase-T represents the application format for the cabling standard. The issue with such close development cycles is that market conditions could have a major impact on engineering decisions.
Looking at the balancing act impacting engineering groups
The two standards bodies trying to create specifications for 40GBase-T and CAT 8 solutions face a unique challenge in balancing different capabilities to ensure the solutions meet market demands when they are ratified. The news source recently hosted a webinar to discuss this matter, and industry expert Paul Vanderlaan explained that reach and bandwidth represent two of the key issues faced by the IEEE and TIA.
Reach: Vanderlaan told audiences at the event that the 10GBase-T presents a clear example of the challenge facing engineers developing 40GBase-T with CAT 8 cabling in mind. At the time, 10GBase-T was designed for use in both data center and enterprise settings, and the necessary reach capabilities led to power-related challenges.
The 40GBase-T should be able to work around this problem, as it is designed for primary use in the data center and, therefore, only needs to have a reach of 30 meters. However, potential issues with bandwidth and impairment could create challenges.
Bandwidth: According to Vanderlaan, the bandwidth issue facing CAT 8 cabling has to do with which spectrum the solution will end up running on. The concern here is that using a lower spectrum could create complexity in terms of parts, but using a higher spectrum could put unnecessary strain on power-related architectures. Finding a way to balance bandwidth issues could prove key moving forward.
Understanding the importance of cabling advances
Making progress in CAT 8 and 40GBase-T standards is proving critical moving forward because many businesses are facing major challenges moving data through their data centers and out to end users. Companies are bringing in more information from external sources and moving it out to a wider range of endpoints. At the same time, virtualization is increasing data densities, creating an overarching challenge in which IT teams must balance capacity and flexibility in the network. CAT 8 and 40GBase-T solutions could end up playing a key role in resolving these issues.