With Category 8 cable, the next generation classification seeks to introduce higher bandwidth to data centre environments. The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is currently finalising the specifications for Category 8 twisted-pair cabling systems. Key industry commenters have stated that bandwidth rates are increasing. High Definition 4K Video and ‘big data’ have been recognised as the main reason to invest in higher performing network infrastructure.
The main difference with Cat 8, as opposed to previous category cable, is the frequency for which data is transmitted. A 100 Metre 4 connector channels have been designed to transmit at 1000MHz. Cat 8 has been designed to allow twice the amount of data to transmit across a single channel.
At this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, experts were discussing the future of gigabit speed broadband in the home. With the amount of smart devices set to triple, multi-gigabit-per-second networks will become the gold standard. Fibre has always proven to be more effective in transmitting data over longer distances.
One concern is that category 8 will suffer with distance issues. The solution is restricted to transmitting under 100 metres, but has the potential to offer 2GHz specification overall. A recent study by the IEEE has revealed that data centres services could be surveyed within 20 to 30M runs. It would also mean that Category 8 cable could be a viable and more affordable way to increase data rates over shorter runs.
Whilst cabling bodies including ISO and IEEE recognise clear benefits of Cat8 by increasing frequencies and signal compensation, other solutions already offer better performing alternatives. Co-ax and fibre optic based products have already established themselves as the main stream offering. One clear benefit that could trickle down to consumers is the initial set-up cost of Cat8. Category 8 will become cheaper to deploy, becoming accepted as the crucial rack-level interconnect in data centres.
When customers are planning their facilities to ensure future compatibility with the format, individuals should plan around end-of-row or middle-of-row topologies. Category 8 is a 30 metre channel, compromising of 24-metres of horizontal cabling and patch leads whose total length should not exceed 6 metres. One limitation of the format is that it will not support centralised switching with passive patch panels at row-level.
Cat8 will revolutionise bandwidth availability by providing a cost-effective infrastructure solution at the point of origin: the data centre. Consumers will begin to reap the benefits of Cat 8 over the next 10 years, with Cat6a as the recommended standard for future proofing networks to 10GB/s.
The new solution is set to enhance the data centre environment. The low cost of the 40GBs cable will require data centre managers to take stock of their inventory. ISO and IEEE clearly recognise the benefits of the system.