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CIO  February 2004

CIO February 2004

Subject:

Re: new wiring, CAT 6 or fiber?

From:

"Dr. A. Michael Berman" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 20 Feb 2004 08:43:47 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (88 lines)

I would recommend taking a look at the TIP Guidelines, which have been
developed for the 23 campuses of the California State University. These
guidelines are based on quite a bit of research and discussion. They can
be found at
http://tii.calstate.edu/StandardsandGuidelines/TIPGuidelines/TIPGuidelin
es.shtml. This is now "the law" for all our campuses, which range from
1,000 students to 30,000+. It's probably due for a minor revision but I
think it's a good place to start.

-----Original Message-----
From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dale Smith
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 8:36 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CIO] new wiring, CAT 6 or fiber?

It is absolutely true that the cost of installing fiber to the
desktop is quite similar to that of copper.  Where you really
run into cost with a fiber plant is the cost of the electronics
(NIC cards, fiber converters, fiber interfaces in switches,
fiber interfaces for you plain old telephone, etc).  Previous
writers have pointed this out quite clearly and I don't think
anyone with any experience in this area will argue about that
issue.  It is foolhardy to install a fiber-only cable plant.

The question really should be turned around to be:  what type of
wiring should be placed to the desktop to support various networking
technologies and speeds.

A quick synopsis:

  100baseTX (100Mbs) -- supported on cat5 cable plant

  1000baseTX (Gigabit Ethernet) -- supported on a cat5e cable plant

  10Gbase (10 Gig Ethernet) -- here are where the questions start.
    10 gig is an ongoing effort, so there are really no answers
    yet, just a lot of speculation.  Some comments on media
    currently supported:
       singlemode fiber - a number of 10G standards support
           singlemode fiber.  Interfaces are expensive and will
           remain expensive.
       multimode fiber - 50 micron is no problem for 100 meters
           62.5 micron is trouble unless you use one of the
           interfaces that does course wave division multiplexing
           again, the optical interfaces are expensive.
       category 7 - this looks like a sure bet -- 10GbaseT should
           support 100 meters of cat7 cable.
       category 6 - the 10GbaseT standards work looks like it
           will support category 6 cabling, probably for a limited
           distance (maybe 55 meters).
       category 5e - there is a huge push in 10GbaseT standards
           committee to support it -- probably for a limited
           distance (20 to 50 meters).
       four coax - There is a standard that supports 15 meters
           of a four coax cable system (10GbaseCX4).  This was
           targeted for data center applications, but seems like
           a sure looser due to the ongoing work on 10GbaseT

There remains a *huge* amount of uncertainty around cat6 and
cat5e with the work in the 10GbaseT standards groups.  A few
references:

   http://www.ieee802.org/3/10GBT/public/nov03/10GBASE-T_tutorial.pdf
   http://www.ieee802.org/3/10GBT/public/jan04/bennett_1_0104.pdf
   http://www.ieee802.org/3/10GBT/public/jul03/cohen_1_0703.pdf

So, if you want your structured cable plant to support gigabit
Ethernet, then install category 5e cabling.  If you want to
try to support 10 gig, you are in a quandary.  Should you do cat7
or can you get by with cat6 or maybe even cat5e.  Hmmmm.......

Our current thinking is that gigabit is sufficient for most
desktop and other applications, so we're doing extra headroom
cat5e to most outlets and cat5e + fiber (both SM and MM) to server
rooms.

Good Luck,

 -Dale

**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent
Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/cg/.

**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/cg/.

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