Building a Cat-7 network
IF you need to handle video surveillance, video
conferencing and VoIP without going to fibre the most practical and appropriate
cabling solution is a Class F copper cabling solution. This sort of network meet
all demands of a hungry network while providing the lowest risk for the
customer and you as the installation company.
Class F cabling technology is capable of supporting all
the known networking protocols including the forthcoming 10 gigabit Ethernet. A
solid option would be the AMP NETCONNECT shielded twisted pair ACO solution. This
Class F installation is a shielded balanced pair cabling system that is slowly
gaining acceptance in the Australian market place as a future-proofed copper
An ACO solution provides a number of unique advantages
for a big band project. A quality solution might consist of Cat-7 (individually
and overall screened) cable, high bandwidth edge connectors rated at 2 GHz and
end-user interface connectors capable of re-configuration without re-cabling.
The distributor is a modular patch-panel that matched the flexibility of the
work area interfaces.
ASNZS3080:2003 Clause 188.8.131.52 states that “for balanced
cable, 2 pairs per TO may be used as an alternative to 4 pairs. Pair
reassignment by means of inserts is allowed.” Furthermore, AS/NZS 3080:2003
Clause 9.3.1 states “This subclause covers cabling system implementations that
may lead to the presence of multiple signals on the same cable…In the horizontal
cabling subsystem, when multiple telecommunications outlets are served by a
single cable, … shall meet the requirements of
The ACO system offers maximum cable efficiency by
utilizing all four pairs, instead of wasting half or more of the available
pairs, as standard RJ-45 solutions invariably always do. ACO also offers the
installer the ability to reduce termination and testing time, resulting in
The ACO system provides a wide range of options for the end
user. These include the ability to share multiple applications on the same
cable that cover voice, data and video. The individually screened pairs provide
immunity from cross-talking between pairs transmitting different services as
well as external electromagnetic interference. The ACO inserts are connected to
external devices using standard, off-the-shelf copper patch-cords, rather than
proprietary interface cords or external media converters.
Another key reason to select the ACO cabling system was is
easy reconfiguration of the cabling system to suit changing situations. The ACO
connecting hardware always presented a punch-down interface to the installer,
reducing complexity, improving electrical transmission performance and
utilising standard termination equipment.
A major benefit for the customer is the ability to
reconfigure the work area outlets without installing new cabling or requiring
specific technical support to re-terminate.
The cabling reticulation is done using cable baskets in
the main areas and catenary wires to drop into the work stations. The ACO
system allows installers to halve the number of cables, reducing the congestion
on the pathways, especially in the workstation channels and skirting ducts. The
minimum bending radius of the category 7 cable (72mm) needs to be taken into
consideration by the selection of appropriate pathways. Having fewer cables
helps in reducing a potential over-crowding problem.
Terminating the shielded cable on the edge connectors in
the work stations is made simple by the fact that the ACO connector provides
for right angle entry, thus eliminating the minimum bending radius issue. ACO
outlets can be terminated onto Legrand single port faceplates, specifically
designed to suit these housings.
Normally, installers view a shielded cabling system with
apprehension and try to talk a client into using an unshielded cabling system.
They bring all sorts of reasons (mostly uninformed, sometimes misleading)
against the shielded cabling system. These include such excuses as earthing
being difficult or causing earth loops, the cable is too large requiring
excessive minimum bending radii, cable termination is too complex and takes too
much time and so on.
Testing an ACO system is a unique experience. All
housings need to be tested using a category 7 insert. The test instrument used
was the Ideal Lantek 7 Level IV device with a maximum bandwidth sweep of 750
With ACO you’d generally install a triple ACO insert as
the data port internlly consisting of a 100 Mbps port, 1 phone port and one
spare port for an additional device. All these ports are present on an ACO
insert, using one, four pair category 7 cable. Alternatively, a dual 100 Mbps
ACO insert cab be installed. All these services require standard RJ-45
terminated patch-cords – nothing more.
A sweet thing about these data points is that installers
can change out the set-up by replacing the insert with a screw-driver, with no
re-terminating of the cables, retention of cable integrity and elimination of the
need for re-testing.