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CAT 8 (Category 8 Network Cabling)

If you’ve been in LAN cabling business, you would have heard about CAT-5E, CAT-6, Cat-6A and probably CAT-7 standards. It would not be therefore hard to guess that the next standard in network copper cabling would be CAT-8 (Category 8) standard.

Whilst most contractors are still debating the pro and cons of installing Cat-6A over Cat-6, the TIA and ISO (Worldwide Cabling Standards Committees) are well ahead of us.

Currently there are a number of similar but different Category 8 (Cat-8) solutions being considered by the standards bodies for 40Gb/s over twisted pair copper.

In the USA TIA/EIA is considering Cat-8 based on an extended performance Cat-6A cable. Meanwhile in Europe ISO/IEC is looking at two options currently tagged Cat-8.1 based on an extended performance Cat-6A cable and Cat-8.2 based on an extended Cat-7A cable. Interestingly all of these are based on shielded cables and connectors

So whats behind this?

  • The proposed solution will offer bandwidths up to 2GHz (Cat-7 is 600MHz)
  • It will operate with RJ45 connectors and backward compatible with earlier standards
  • Overall foil screen (4 pairs)
  • 22 AWG solid copper conductors
  • Will be referred to as "Class G" (Cat-7 is F)
  • Maximum test runs up to 30mtrs

The main benefits of this proposed standard will be the ability to offer a true 40Gig copper cabling solution which is the demand of the Data Centre operators.

Another important use of increased bandwidth will be multimedia for home use and this could be a big incentive/opportunity for Australian contractors with the continuing deployment of the NBN high speed network. While traditional cabling solutions of Cat-5e and Cat-6 only offer bandwidths up to 250MHz, the proposed bandwidths of Cat-8 are well in excess of 1Gig and will comfortably run satelitte and television signals on the same cable as telephone and data.

Attribute

Category 5e

Category 6

Category 6A

Category 7/7A

Category 8

Frequency

100 MHz

250 MHz

500 MHz

1000 Mhz

2000 MHz

Maximum Data Rate

1000Base-T

1000Base-T

10GBase-T

10GBase-T

25GBase-T
40GBase-T

Distance

100 Meters

100 Meters

100 Meters

100 Meters

30 Meters

Number of Connectors in Channel

4

4

4

4

2

Cable Construction

UTP or Shielded

UTP or Shielded

UTP or Shielded

Shielded

Shielded

Connector Type

RJ45

RJ45

RJ45

Non-RJ45

Class I: RJ45
Class II: Non-RJ45