The ANSI/TIA-568 family of Telecommunications Standards contains the requirements for balanced twisted-pair, optical fiber, and coaxial cabling.  With the  TIA-568-C.0, TIA-568-C.1, TIA-568-C.2, and TIA-568-C.3 Standards encompassing 305 pages of detailed information and containing 151 tables and 121 figures, it can be challenging to remain up to date with the latest TIA telecommunications cabling specifications.  TIA-568-C.4 was published 3 years after the revised TIA-568-C family of Standards published and contains all new technical content. This page will help to summarize the content, enhancements, and critical revisions of this important series of Standards.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) mandates that subcommittees responsible for the publication of standards reaffirm, revise, or rescind their document every 5 years.  As a result, the ANSI/TIA-568 family of Standards has undergone 3 sets of revisions since the original document was published in 1991.  This mandate provides an opportunity for TIA subcommittees to evaluate the document content to ensure that material is up-to-date, information is centralized, and duplication is reduced or eliminated.

A key outcome of the last ANSI review process was the decision to divide the three main documents that comprised the previous edition TIA-568-B  family of Standards into four main documents.  This decision was driven by the need to have one common standard that could be used to address generic cabling needs when a specific premise standard, such as the commercial building, data center, residential, or industrial standard, does not exist.  This common content applies to previously unsupported environments such as non‑office areas of an airport or stadium and also serves as a repository of generic requirements that are applicable to all specific premise and component standards.

The new TIA-568-C family of Standards contains the following main documents:

ANSI/TIA-568-C.0, “Generic Telecommunications Cabling for Customer Premises”, published 2009

ANSI/TIA-568-C.1, “Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard”, published 2009

ANSI/TIA-568-C.2, “Balanced Twisted-Pair Telecommunication Cabling and Components Standard”, published 2009

ANSI/TIA-568-C.3, “Optical Fiber Cabling Components Standard”, published 2008, errata issued in October, 2008

ANSI/TIA-568-C.4, “Broadband Coaxial Cabling and Components Standard”, published 2011

The TIA-568-C series incorporates material from TIA‑568‑B.1, TIA-568-B.2, TIA-568-B.3, the 18 addenda to the TIA-568‑B series, as well as necessary updates and revisions.  The table  below provides a summary of the content appearing in the four main TIA-568-C documents.  Click here to see  how the TIA-568‑C documents interrelate with each other and other important TIA cabling Standards.

An initial cause of concern and confusion for those reviewing the TIA-568‑C.0 Standard for the first time is the new terminology introduced for the functional elements that describe generic infrastructures.  It’s important to remember that the TIA-568‑C.0 terminology is only to be used when a specific customer premise standard defining terminology does not exist.  As shown below, the generic infrastructure topology is actually fully consistent with the commercial building topology specified in TIA-568‑C.1.

It is interesting to note that optical fiber link performance specifications are contained in TIA-568-C.0, while balanced twisted-pair channel and permanent link specifications are contained in TIA-568-C.2.  This represents a deviation from the original TIA-568-C series planning outline and was a cause of considerable debate in the TIA subcommittees.  Ultimately, it was agreed that, since the balanced twisted-pair channel and permanent link specifications are so dependent upon the modeling configurations described in annex J of TIA-568-C.2, it was most logical to move the cabling specifications into TIA-568-C.2 and keep this interdependent information together.

Another deviation from the original TIA-568-C series planning outline was the agreement to move balanced twisted-pair field tester and field testing requirements from the TIA-568-C.2 Standard into a standalone document (TIA‑1152).  This carefully weighed decision supported reducing the overall page count of TIA-568‑C.2, as well as ensuring that updates or even simple reaffirmations of future revisions of the proposed TIA-1152 Standard could be quickly addressed without the need to open the entire balanced twisted-pair cabling content of TIA-568-C.2 for review.

Although there is always an understandable degree of trepidation and resistance to change when something new comes along, the TIA-568-C family of Standards is a user-friendly and well-organized compilation of the critical information that RCDDs and other cabling professionals need to know to excel in their areas of expertise.  Since there are 5 years to go until the next ANSI review cycle, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the content of these important Standards!

Copies of the standard references in this article may be purchased through the IHS Standards Store (www.global.ihs.com).

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