Copper Standards … Time for a Change

A significant change is on the way in how office buildings are cabled.

Category 5e cabling, which is used in many offices around the world, will be considered obsolete for new installations following a decision this month by the ISO/IEC cabling standards body.

After careful consideration of technology trends, wired and wireless bandwidth requirements and current market demand for the various cabling types, the ISO/IEC Working Group (JTC1/SC25 WG3) responsible for the development of the 11801 standard, recently decided to upgrade the minimum recommendation for the horizontal cabling in offices.

More than 60 cabling experts from 19 countries arrived at the decision to raise the minimum horizontal requirement in offices to Class E. With a recommendation for Class EA /Category 6A cabling.

This effectively marks the obsolescence of Class D

Although Class D cabling remains the minimum requirement in the drafts of 11801-3 (industrial) and 11801-4 (single-tenant homes). Upgrades are being assessed for these locations, with a recommendation to move to a class E base infrastructure.

In the drafts of 11801-5 (Data Centres) and 11801-6 (Distributed Services), the minimum requirement is already Class EA cabling.

For new office installations, Class E will now become the minimum requirement


Publication of the amended standard is due on or before 2017.

(courtesy of Don McGregor, Technical Engineering Manager, Anixter)