Technical Note 005: Testing Guidelines for Class D to FA Twisted Pair Copper Cabling


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Text in blue Italics is derived from the standards

1.    Applicability

The following applies to balanced twisted pair copper permanent link and channel testing of Class D to FA cabling installations seeking performance conformance to AS/NZS 3080:2013 and/or AS/NZS IEC 61935.1:2013.

2.    Background

AS/NZS 3080 specifies the performance parameters and minimum values for conforming balanced cabling installations for Class D to Class FA.

AS/NZS IEC 61935.1 in Clause 5, specifies accuracy levels for hand-held testers and test methods to measure cabling parameters identified in AS/NZS 3080.

Customer requirements that exceed the performance conformance requirements of the above standards may also exist within the project documentation.

This Technical Note provides guidance for conducting the testing of balanced copper cabling for establishing installation performance conformance by VTI Services to meet its NATA reporting obligations against AS/NZS 3080:2013 and/or AS/NZS/IEC 61935.1:2013.

3.    Testers

Testers must be fully calibrated within the period recommended by the manufacturer for all test results submitted.

Tester performance levels must be suitable for the test undertaken and support the test undertaken to the latest Standard.

The standard for testers in Australia and New Zealand is AS/NZS IEC 61935.1.  
(In America the standard for testers is ANSI/TIA 1152.)

Compliant tester levels are; (1)
•    Compliant Level IIe Testers are required to test Class D cabling (Cat 5/5e)
•    Compliant Level III Testers are required to test Class E cabling (Cat 6)
•    Compliant Level IIIe Testers are required to test Class EA cabling (Cat 6A)
•    Compliant Level IV Testers are required to test Class F and FA cabling (Cat 7 and 7A

Each higher level tester can test any lower Class.

4.    Current approved testers for compliance testing.

4.1.    Level IIe Testers
Class D (Category 5/5e) approved testers include;
•    Any higher level tester listed below can test this lower Class/Category.

4.2.    Level III Testers
Class D and E (Category 5/5e/6) approved testers include;
•    Fluke DTX-1200
•    Lantek II-350
•    WireScope WS350 #
Any higher level tester can test any lower Class/Category.

4.3.    Level IIIe Testers
Class D, E, EA, (Category 5/5e/6/6A) approved testers include;
•    Fluke DTX-1800
•    Lantek II-500
Any higher level tester can test any lower Class/Category.

4.4.    Level IV Testers
Class D, E, EA, F, FA (Category5/5e/6/6A/7/7A) approved testers include;
•    Fluke DSX-5000
•    JDSU Certifier40G
•    WireXpert WX4500
•    Lantek II-1000
•    Fluke DTX-1800   (Up to Class F, Cat 7 only)
•    WireScope Pro #   (Up to Class F, Cat 7 only)
Any higher level tester can test any lower Class/Category.

Note:  While other testers may be available, the compliance status of those testers would need to be established.

5.    Testers that are not approved for compliance testing

The following testers while unsuitable for compliance testing may be OK for acceptance testing.  Some of the testers listed below are used as a method of qualifying the cabling system to run certain network protocols.   These testers do not test against all cabling standard compliance requirements or are not software updated and this makes them unsuitable for Certification and establishing Compliance;

Fluke CableIQ                                                                                                                 This is not Certification testers
Fluke DSP4XXX Series                                                                                                   No longer supported with software updates
Ideal SIGNALTEK series, VDV II Voice/data/video                                                   These are not Certification testers
Ideal LANCat System 5/6, LANTek 6/6A/7                                                                 Obsolete/discontinued
PentaScanner, Test-Um Validator, WireScope 150#                                               These are not Certifier testers

# Agilent Technology is no longer making or supporting WireScope cabling field testers. 
However, their tester technology has been updated and incorporated into the testers offered as
JDSU Certifier 40G and WireXpert WX4500.

6.    Firmware

The tester Firmware must be the latest published version.
•    Current Firmware is freely available from manufacturer’s web sites
•    Viewing software normally allows for upgrades of firmware of testers    (Lantek testers)   (WireXpert tester)

7.    Applicable Standards

Sites shall be tested to the requirements of a current published standard and any additional customer or contract requirements using an appropriate tester.

The published balanced cabling standards for performance values include;
•    ISO/IEC 11801 Ed 2.2: 2011
•    AS/NZS 3080: 2013
•    ANSI/TIA 568 C.2: 2009   (EIA/TIA 568B has been updated to ANSI/TIA 568 C series)

The published standards for balanced cabling test equipment include;
•    IEC 61935-1 Ed 3.0: 2009
•    AS/NZS IEC 61935.1: 2012
•    ANSI/TIA 1152: 2009   (This standard replaced EIA/TIA 568B.2-2)

8.    Test Configuration

All tests shall be either Permanent Link or Channel Tests.
•    Permanent Link Testing is preferred by most vendors and end users.
•    A large number of customers insist on Permanent Link testing.    Check before testing.
•    If a warranty is to be issued, check with the cabling vendor as to which tests and tester settings are acceptable for their warranty.

9.    Adaptors

Approved test equipment adaptors/heads and test cables shall be used for all tests.
•    Permanent Link Adaptors used for permanent link testing as approved by the tester vendor or the cable vendor.
•    Channel Adaptors shall be used for channel testing.
•    Adaptors and or personality modules associated with the testers should match the cabling system installed.
•    Performance Level of the tester adaptor shall be equal to or greater than the cabling system under test.
•    Correct adaptors are especially important for Class EA/F/FA testing.

10.    Test Results

•    Test Results shall be provided for analysis in the tester’s database format.
•    Text, CSV and PDF test results are not acceptable.
•    Plot data is highly regarded to aid result analysis and as visual evidence for customers.
•    Test results containing Marginal/Conditional passes are considered by the standard to be a pass.  VTI Services reports these as a conditional pass.

•    Failed or manipulated test results are deemed to be noncompliant and/or fraudulent.
•    Test results not containing all the required tests are deemed to be noncompliant.
•    All test results shall be free of accidental or malicious manipulation.
•    Test results shall not be duplicated.
•    Test data shall not be altered.

11.    General Information

The term Category 5 has been adopted by Australian and New Zealand Standards as well as by the International Standard ISO/IEC 11801, instead of the American term Category 5e.
•    The ANSI/TIA have retained Category 5 for performance level prior to 2003.  In addition, America has adopted Category 5e for post-2003 cabling performance.
•    To avoid confusion about which performance level is required in Australia and New Zealand, Category 5 post-2003 cable is sometimes referred to as Cat 5/5e cable.
•    Cat 5 (AS/NZS and ISO/IEC) is the same as C5e (ANSI/TIA) in performance conformance.

Class D Channel or Permanent Link testing under ISO/IEC 11801 and AS/NZS is Cat 5/5e testing.

Class E Channel or Permanent Link testing under ISO/IEC 11801 and AS/NZS is Cat 6 testing.

Class EA Channel or Permanent Link testing under ISO/IEC 11801 and AS/NZS is Cat 6A testing.

Class F Channel or Permanent Link testing under ISO/IEC 11801 and AS/NZS is Cat 7 testing.

Class FA Channel or Permanent Link testing under ISO/IEC 11801 and AS/NZS is Cat 7A testing.

There is no Cat 7 or 7A in America.  However, ANSI/TIA and ISO/IEC are working on Cat 8-1 and Cat 8-2.  These will not be published for some years.

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12.    General Cable Types

The Acronyms above define the type of cable construction. (2)

U/UTP    No screen over unscreened twisted pairs                              
Unscreened outer layer over UTP

Commonly called just UTP cable

F/UTP    Foil over unscreened twisted pairs
Foil outer screen layer over UTP

U/FTP    No Screen over foil twisted pair
        Each pair has a foil screen but no screen overall

F/FTP    Foil Screen over foil twisted pair
        Each pair has a foil screen and a foil screen overall

S/FTP     Braid Screen over foil twisted pair 
        Each pair has a foil screen and a braid screen overall
(aka PiMF – pairs in metal foil)

Note:  There is no such cable or acronym as “shielded cable” or STP.

1  AS/NZS IEC 61935.1  Clause 5.1   
2  AS/NZS 3080  Annex E   

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