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The importance of testing structured cabling

As the data supported by the structured cabling we use in our businesses becomes more critical, so too does the need to test and ensure its performance. In general there are five categories of testers; each plays an important role in the health of the networking environment.

WireXpert 4500 Tester

1. Trouble shooting testers – Tone and probe generators are a great example and are used to find unlabeled cable and breaks.

2. Continuity testers – These are usually used to ensure that the wiring and pinning configuration is correct.

3. Verification testers – These testers are generally digital units which may or may not provide test results and primarily ensure wiring and pinning configuration as well as speed performance of the installed cabling.

4. Diagnostic testers – These testers have a variety of features which may include subnet mapping, Bit error rate testing, PoE testing and may include other traffic analysis tools.

5. Certification testers – These are industry recognized testers which are rated with levels according to the standards for the submission of test results to a manufacture of premise wiring connectivity in exchange for an extended manufacturer warranty.

In structured cabling networks, copper cable certification is achieved through a thorough series of tests in accordance with Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) or International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. This level of certification is usually obtained in order to submit test results to a manufacture of premise wiring connectivity in exchange for an extended manufacturer warranty. Contractors through whom this type of warranty is provided are usually responsible for such testing; however sometime 3rd parties have been contracted by the end user in order to verify a contractors work independently. Generally these tests are done using a certification-testing tool, which provide “Pass” or “Fail” information. 

The ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 standard specifies electrical performance requirements for installed UTP cable and connecting hardware for each recognized category, and field test parameters are listed in the table below.

Hubbell Testing Chart

There are two types of field tests; one called the permanent link test and the other channel link test.

The permanent link test configuration includes a length of horizontal cable and one connector attached to each end. One optional consolidation point connection is also permitted. The permanent link runs from the cross-connect panel in the TR to the work station outlet. The permanent link overall length must not exceed 90m (295ft).

The channel test configuration includes a length of horizontal cable up to 90 meters, a work area cord, and two patch cord cross connections. One optional consolidation point connection is also permitted in the channel. The channel overall length must not exceed 100m (328ft).

Performance tests and their procedures have been defined in the ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.1 standard and the ISO/IEC 11801 standard. The TIA standard defines performance in categories (Cat3, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6A, Cat8) and the ISO defines classes (Class C, D, E, EA, F and FA). These standards define the procedure to certify that an installation meets performance criteria in a given category or class.

IEC 61935-1 ed 4.0: Testing of Balanced Communications Cabling in Accordance with ISO/IEC 11801

Part 1: Installed cabling, specifies requirements for field test equipment used to certify class D, E, EA, F and FA cabling as defined in ISO/IEC 11801.

Level IIE test equipment or better is required to test class D cabling (100 MHz)
Level III test equipment or better is required to test class E cabling (250 MHz)
Level IIIe test equipment or better is required to test class EA cabling (500 MHz)
Level IV test equipment or better is required to test class F cabling (600 MHz)
Level V test equipment or better is required to test class FA cabling (1000 MHz)

Use the chart below to find the tester for your application.

Part # Mfg # Description Category Price
091-0010-4500 WX4500-FA WireXpert cable certifier Certification > $10,000.00
084-0627 3274 Coax Mapper Continuity  < $60.00
084-0610 CTX200 Pocket Cat - RJ45 & Coax Continuity  < $100.00
084-0724 T119C Map Master - RJ45 & Coax Continuity  < $100.00
084-0601 TVR10/100/1000K Lan Tester & Toner Continuity  < $200.00
084-0603IL POE1000IL PoE Volt Meter Diagnostic < $200.00
091-0045 NetXpert Lan Qualifier Diagnostic < $3500.00
084-0762 NetChaser Ethernet Speed Certifier Diagnostic < $2500.00
084-0316 GT-11 Greenlee Voltage Detector Trouble Shooting < $25.00
084-0734 TP150 Platinum Tone Kit Trouble Shooting < $50.00
084-0712 TG100 Test-um Tone Generator Trouble Shooting < $60.00
084-0715 TG400 Test-um Resi-Tone Generator Trouble Shooting < $100.00
084-0628 3330 TeleTalker Test Set Trouble Shooting < $150.00
084-0606 3399 Fox & Hound Tone Kit Trouble Shooting < $300.00
084-0716 CTK1215 Psiber Tone Kit Trouble Shooting < $300.00
025-6104 801K/50 Greenlee Tone Kit Trouble Shooting < $350.00
084-0731 CT50 Psiber Voltage Meter Trouble Shooting < $400.00
084-0720P T62 Recon Test Set Trouble Shooting < $400.00
084-0618 VTX455 Camera Wizard Verification < $400.00
084-0629 8050 CamView Monitor Camera Wizard Accessory < $300.00
084-0621 LVPRO30 Low Voltage Pro Verification < $500.00
084-0761 TCC220 Coax Clarifier Verification < $500.00
084-0600 RWC1000K Real World Certifier Verification < $600.00
084-0735 TCB360K1 Cable Prowler Pro Verification < $900.00

Still can't decide which tester is right for you? give us a call or check out the excel tester attribute comparison chart.

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