Structured cabling must achieve more

Structured cabling remains an important basis for local data networks even in the era of digitization and mobility. But in the future it is going to have to do more than just link workstations. In an in-depth article, R&M points out today’s challenges for the LAN, planners and installers (see also Connections No. 54).

The LAN is essentially influenced by three trends. Where higher bandwidths, constant remote power supply and ubiquitous availability are introduced in the course of digitalization, some of the framework conditions are changing dramatically.

First example: 10GBase-T reacts very sensitively to external noise. There is no more headroom. Therefore, the installation must be absolutely standard-compliant.

But development doesn’t stop here. In the LAN there will be a protocol mix in the future. In addition to 2.5, 5 and 10GBase-T, 25 and 40GBase-T are coming onto the market. According to R&M’s current estimates, 25GBase-T may be the long-awaited next evolutionary step in the LAN area.

The new category 8.1, specified for transmission frequencies up to 2000 MHz, is recommended as a connection solution for 40- and 25GBase-T. R&M will launch a Cat. 8.1 system as soon as all framework conditions for 25GBase-T have been established.

Second example: Power over Ethernet (PoE) could develop into a key technology for the Internet of Things (IoT). The third PoE generation even uses all four wire pairs (4PPoE) and will support outputs up to 90 watts with currents of 1 ampere per wire pair to power many terminals and LED light sources.

Some new applications, however, require electrical power around the clock, e.g. smart lighting and digital signage. The cables and cable bundles heat up in continuous PoE operation as a result of the electrical resistance. The risks in planning, installation and operating the network must not be disregarded.

The PowerSafe seal from R&M indicates products which are particularly suitable for the reliable transmission of permanently high currents in the LAN.


The third example of the new challenges: All over IP and consolidation. Applications and infrastructures which to date have been separate are increasingly being consolidated. The LAN cabling shall provide coverage of Ethernet / IP services for building automation devices throughout the building. The LAN becomes a multifunctional LAN.

In this context, it is important for planners that large areas and spaces can be efficiently divided into zones using a honeycomb structure. Service outlets (SO) form the center of these zones and serve as connection points for the IP-supported functions. The ceiling is often seen as the best place for service outlets. This phenomenon is referred to as Digital Ceiling. R&M has prepared a suitable Digital Ceiling program.

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Matthias Gerber

By Matthias Gerber

Market Manager LAN