# Planning for 10Gbps Ethernet over UTP Questions to Ask When Planning the Cabling Plant WHITE PAPER

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1 Planning for 10Gbps Ethernet over UTP Questions to Ask When Planning the Cabling Plant WHITE PAPER

4 Instead of using the typical star filler, ADC s CopperTen uses an elliptical offset star filler that achieves a high degree of separation between pairs in adjacent cables in a bundle. The shape of the elongated star filler results in an oblique shape for each cable. Bundled cables now have sufficient separation between same lay length pairs to prevent alien crosstalk. In a bundle, the random separation of cables keeps cable pairs of the same twist rate within different cables at a greater distance from one another reducing alien crosstalk. Because alien crosstalk presents the steepest challenge to 10Gbps over UTP, insist on seeing test results for the 6- around-1 cable configuration. Is cable insulation important? Choice of insulation materials is critical in producing 10Gbps UTP cable. One key measure of insulation quality is the Dielectric Constant the lower the Dielectric Constant of the insulation material of a cable, the better the resistance to breakdown when an electrical field is applied. As a reference, the Dielectric Constant of air the best insulation available is 1.0. Dielectric Constants for other cable insulation materials are as follows: FEP 2.1; FRPE 2.5; PVC 3.6; glass 4.3. The choice of insulation materials plays a large part in cable performance. Insulation affects the speed at which a signal propagates through a cable. Speed is measured as the Nominal Velocity of Propagation (NVP), expressed as a percentage of the speed of light in a vacuum (300 million m/sec), with the speed of light in a vacuum given a value of 1. The speed of the signal over a multi-pair data communications cable can be attributed to two main factors: the speed at which the signal is traveling (NVP) and the total length of the cable pair, which allows for twist rate. Both of these parameters combined are measured as Propagation Delay, the time it takes for a signal to propagate from one end of a circuit to the other. Therefore, cable constructed with insulation with a lower Dielectric Constant offering less resistance to an electrical field offers a higher NVP. Insulation for ADC s CopperTen cabling system uses the unique AirEs technology that combines FEP with integrated air pocket channels. Through the introduction of air pockets between the FEP and copper conductor, the total Dielectric Constant is reduced from 2.0 for FEP alone to about 1.8 for FEP with air a 31%improvement over an FEP-only insulation system. The reduced dielectric loss translates into a direct improvement in signal loss and improved NVP or, said differently, stronger signal strength. Of course, other 10Gbps cables may use only FEP or FRPE insulation both of which have a higher Dielectric Constant that weakens signal strength. Improving the Dielectric Constant of FEP by adding air the AireES technology offers higher performance cable for 10Gbps transmission. Why is electrical cable pair length important? The choice of cable insulation plays a role in electrical cable pair length. Besides NVP, the other factor that affects the speed of a signal over a multi-pair communications cable is the electrical length of the cable pair. Electrical length is always more than physical length of the sheath due to twisting of the conductors. As described above, the effect of faster NVP is low Propagation Delay. However, Propagation Delay is also a function of the actual length of the pair, including the twist. The greater the twist rate, the longer the pair and the larger the Propagation Delay. In fact, excessive propagation delay is often due to cable that is just too long. By utilizing the higher quality AirES insulation with air channels between FEP and the copper conductor, CopperTen cable requires a reduced amount of twist on each pair. By reducing the electrical length of pairs, Propagation Delay is reduced, improving the speed of the signal between transmitter and receiver especially important as cabling runs reach the 100 meter physical limit. What is the impact of Delay Skew on 10Gbps cable performance? Delay Skew is the difference in time each signal requires to arrive on all four pairs. Of course, optimal performance and error free transmission means that signals should arrive at the receiver as close to the same time as possible. Delay skew of 45nS to 50nS between the fastest and the slowest pairs is marginally acceptable for data communications. Lower skew is better. Delay skew below 25nS is desirable. To achieve Near End Cross Talk (NEXT) performance, most cable solutions must vary the twist lays greatly. NEXT is, of course, more of a problem at higher frequencies, such as with the 500MHz or better for 10Gbps solutions. To solve NEXT, some solutions actually use different insulation for different pairs within the same sheath, which ends up as unique twist ratios (i.e, varying electrical length of cable pairs) per pair. Unfortunately, greater variation in twist lays means an increase in Delay Skew a costly compromise when it comes to data communications. While receivers can handle slight variations is delay, a large skew will make it impossible to recombine the original signal. Page 3

5 With the AirES innovation of introducing air the best insulator against noise as an insulator, crosstalk is reduced without having to greatly increase twist lay variation. There is simply less crosstalk between pairs because of reduced noise due to superior insulation. Therefore, AirES technology and reduced need for twist lay variation results in fewer bit errors as the propagation delay between the fastest and slowest pairs is less than 20nS. How should warranty promises be evaluated? Until 568B.2 is ratified, it is impossible for any vendor to guarantee full compliance to a standard that does not yet exist. Until standards are established, it is more important for a 10Gbps UTP solution to meet the throughput and capacity requirements established by the electronics industry Shannon s Capacity of 18Gbps. As the standards evolve, manufacturers will continually tweak individual parameters such as NEXT and return loss, as we saw with Category 5e and Category 6. Still, the only hard design number for 10Gbps over UTP today is 18Gbps throughput as defined by IEEE. ADC offers a warranty that backs 18Gbps channel capacity and supports the current draft of 568B.2 Addendum 10. Is cable diameter an issue with 10Gbps UTP solutions? Patch cords that employ solid wire sacrifice flexibility and bend radii mechanics because solid wire is not as forgiving and easy to install or manage as stranded wire. Solid wire patch cord conductors are more prone to breakage when repeatedly flexed during normal lifetime usage. In addition, solid wire patch cords often have reliability issues due to the difficultly of crimping RJ45 plugs on solid wire. As compared to stranded wire patch cords, solid wire patch cords also place unnecessary stress upon the connectors in NICs, patch panels and switches, because of their uncompromising stature. Conclusion It is evident that 10Gbps transmission over a copper cabling plant will soon become the common design specification. While lack of standards today present some risk in the decision making process, other factors offer guidance when choosing cable, plugs and connectors to support future 10Gbps applications. Choosing a solution with the highest quality insulation such as the AirEs technology used for CopperTen offers immediate evidence of superior performance. Solutions that can guarantee Shannon s Capacity of 18Gbps at 100 meters offer the best assurance that the channel will support 10Gbps transmission when standards are ratified next year. Larger cable diameters can affect not only density but also ease of installation and maintenance. To achieve the requirements of draft standards for 10Gbps transmission over UTP, some manufacturers today have 10Gbps UTP cable with outside diameters (OD) ranging from 0.310" to 0.330" rather large in comparison to the nominal size for conduit fill of 0.290" for the plenum CopperTen, which has a varying OD from 0.275" to 0.310" due to its elliptical shape. Outside diameter is also a consideration for patch cords. ADC s CopperTen patch cord cable has an OD of 0.270" which is dramatically smaller when compared to the OD of the competitive cable which range from 0.310" to 0.330". While these differences seem small, they become significant installation and maintenance issues, especially in dense applications. Are patch cords changing for 10Gbps transmission? There is one change to look for when evaluating patch cords for use in a 10Gbps channel stranded vs. solid wire. Some products have moved to solid wire patch cords to achieve 10Gbps performance. Yet solid wire patch cords present concerns. Page 4

6 WHITE PAPER Web Site: From North America, Call Toll Free: Outside of North America: Fax: For a listing of ADC s global sales office locations, please refer to our web site. ADC Telecommunications, Inc., P.O. Box 1101, Minneapolis, Minnesota USA Specifications published here are current as of the date of publication of this document. Because we are continuously improving our products, ADC reserves the right to change specifications without prior notice. At any time, you may verify product specifications by contacting our headquarters office in Minneapolis. ADC Telecommunications, Inc. views its patent portfolio as an important corporate asset and vigorously enforces its patents. Products or features contained herein may be covered by one or more U.S. or foreign patents. An Equal Opportunity Employer /05 Original 2005 ADC Telecommunications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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