A Guide to CAT8 Data Cabling

by | Sep 19, 2016 | Article

Here’s a brief guide to the Category 8 (Cat8) data cabling standards that are currently under development by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Several options are being considered.

Cat8 will be for 40GBASE-T (40 gigabit) links. The maximum channel length, including equipment cords, will be 30 metres. Two connections will be allowed in the channel. E.g. A panel to panel link plus equipment cords from the panels to the active hardware.

The preferred connector footprint would be the RJ45 but this has not been agreed yet.

The only place Cat8 is expected to be adopted is in the data centre. It will compete with fibre cabling on the basis that the active hardware should cost less, but time will tell.

The ISO standard has Cat 8.1 (Class I) and Cat 8.2 (Class II). Cat 8.1 is downward compatible with the Cat6a / Class Ea standard and uses conventional RJ45 connectors. The Cat 8.2 is downward compatible with the Cat7a / Class Fa standard and uses the Tetra or GG45 connector.

The TIA and ISO standards should be ratified in 2016.

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