Q:         When will the 2.5G/5GBASE-T Ethernet Standard be ratified?  The IEEE 802.3bz™ “Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Media Access Control Parameters, Physical Layers and Management Parameters for 2.5 Gb/s and 5 Gb/s Operation” was approved by the IEEE-SA Standards Board on September 22, 2016.

Q:         Will the installed base of category 5e and 6 cabling support 2.5G/5GBASE‑T? 2.5G/5GBASE‑T operates over “defined use cases and deployment configurations” of category 5e/class D and category 6/class E cabling. Neither 2.5G nor 5GBASE-T are intended to operate over the entire installed base of category 5e/class D and category 6/class E cabling.

Q:         How will I know if my installed category 5e or category 6 cabling plant will support 2.5G/5GBASE-T? TIA is developing TSB-5021 and ISO/IEC is developing ISO/IEC TR 11801-9904 to address the evaluation of installed category 5e/class D and category 6/class E cabling for possible support of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T. Extended frequency characterization (i.e. performance above 100 MHz for category 5e/class D cabling), signal to alien crosstalk assessment, and additional field test qualification measurements will be described within these documents. It is important to keep in mind that these field assessment methods are still under development and will likely prove to be very time-consuming and onerous to implement and may not be fully conclusive.

Q:         Is 2.5G/5GBASE-T operation covered by Siemon’s category 5e and category 6 system warranties? Because support of 2.5G/5GBASE-T by category 5e/class D and category 6/class E cabling is dependent upon environmental (e.g. alien noise levels) and installation (e.g. channel length and cable bundling) conditions, Siemon can only guarantee support of the  2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T applications with category 6A/class EA and higher performing cabling systems.

 Q:        What grade of cabling should be installed to ensure guaranteed support of 2.5G/5GBASE-T? Siemon recommends that category 6A/class EA and higher grades of cabling be specified to support all new IEEE Std 802.11ac™-2013 based enterprise wireless access point uplink connections, even if it is anticipated that 2.5GBASE-T or 5GBASE-T equipment will be deployed. A recommendation to install category 6A/class EA or better cabling for all new installations intended to support 2.5G/5GBASE-T also appears in the developing TSB-5021 and ISO/IEC TR 11801-9904 drafts. Since category 6A/class EA and higher performing cabling is also guaranteed to support 10GBASE‑T, this design approach maximizes the lifecycle of the cabling infrastructure.

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