TIA category 8 (or alternatively, ISO/IEC class I or class II) cabling is required to support 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T.  Unlike all other BASE-T Ethernet applications developed for deployment over balanced twisted-pair cabling, 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T is specifically designed for operation over a short reach 30m channel topology containing only 2 connectors to facilitate server-to-switch or switch-to-switch connections.

TSB-5019 “High Performance Structured Cabling Use Cases for Data Centers and Other Premises” was developed by the TIA TR-42.7 Copper Cabling Subcommittee and published in April, 2015.  This forward looking document provides guidance and use information regarding support of 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T with category 8 structured cabling in data center and other environments.

TSB-5019 Content

  • BASE-T Advantages
  • Comparison of Data Center Cabling Architectures
  • Comparison of Installation Components
  • Objectives of Category 8 Cabling
  • Data Center Twisted-Pair Migration Path
  • Use Cases for Category 8 and Next Generation BASE-T
Types of Data Center Cabling Architectures
  • Centralized: Access switches are located in common or central locations and structured cabling is used to connect these switches to servers
  • End-of-Row/Middle-of-Row: Access switches are located within the row and structured cabling is used within the row to connect these switches to servers
  • Top-of-Rack: Access switches are located at the top of each cabinet and point-to-point cabling is used to connect these switches to servers
  • Fat-Tree Switch Fabric: A two-level (interconnection and access connections only) architecture where all access (i.e. “leaf”) switches are connected to all interconnect (i.e. “spine”) switches

Data Center Twisted-Pair Migration Path

The table below depicts the migration path from 1000BASE-T to 10GBASE-T and on to 25GBASE‑T and 40GBASE‑T using category 6, category 6A, and category 8 cabling:

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