Cabling - Datacom / Network Cabling
Prime Communications provides quality network infrastructure cabling for all your communications needs.
We offer solutions in fiber and all categories of copper cabling as well. We use parts from quality vendors such as Belden, Middle Atlantic, and Levition.
We ensure all cables are terminated per industry standards, are correclty labelled and perform certification tests with Fluke test equipment to verify they are operating correctly.See below for descriptions of these categories.
Voice or CAT3
Category 3 cable, commonly known as Cat 3, is an unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable designed to reliably carry data up to 10 Mbit/s, with a possible bandwidth of 16 MHz. It is part of a family of copper cabling standards defined jointly by the Electronic Industries Alliance and the Telecommunications Industry Association.
Category 3 was a popular cabling format among computer network administrators in the early 1990s, but fell out of popularity in favor of the very similar, but higher performing, Category 5 cable standard. Since the early 2000s most new structured cable installations are built with Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable.
Cat 3 is currently still in use in two-line telephone systems. It may be used for token ring networks, or 10BASE-T Ethernet. The seldom used 100BASE-T4 standard, which achieves speeds of 100 Mbit/s by using all 4 pairs of wires, allowed older Cat 3 based infrastructures to achieve a much higher bandwidth. Cat 3 is compatible with Power over Ethernet.
Category 5e cable is a twisted pair high signal integrity cable type often referred to as Cat5 or Cat-5. Most Category-5 cables are unshielded, relying on the twisted pair design for noise rejection. Category 5 has been superseded by the Category 5e specification. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet and ATM, and is also used to carry many other signals such as telephony and video.
The specification for Category 5 cable was defined in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A which specified performance characteristics and test requirements for frequencies of up to 100 MHz.
Category 5 cable includes 4 twisted pairs in a single cable jacket. This use of balanced lines helps preserve a high signal-to-noise ratio despite interference from both external sources and other pairs (this latter form of interference is called crosstalk). It is most commonly used for 100 Mbit/s networks, such as 100BASE-TX Ethernet, although IEEE 802.3ab defines standards for 1000BASE-T – Gigabit Ethernet over category 5 cable.
Category 6 cable, commonly referred to as Cat.-6, is a cable standard for Gigabit Ethernet and other network protocols that are backward compatible with the Category 5/5e and Category 3 cable standards. Compared with Cat.-5 and Cat.-5e, Cat.-6 features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise.
The cable standard provides performance of up to 250 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet) and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet).
Category 6 cable has a reduced maximum length when used for 10GBASE-T; Category 6a cable, or Augmented Category 6, is characterized to 500 MHz and has improved alien crosstalk characteristics, allowing 10GBASE-T to be run for the same distance as previous protocols. Category 6 cable can be identified by the printing on the side of the cable sheath.
Category 7 cable (Cat 7), (ISO/IEC 11801:2002 category 7/class F), is a cable standard for Ethernet and other interconnect technologies that can be made to be backward compatible with traditional Cat 5 and Cat 6 Ethernet cable. Cat 7 features even more strict specifications for crosstalk and system noise than Cat 6. To achieve this, shielding has been added for individual wire pairs and the cable as a whole. Category 7 is recognized for all the country organizations members of ISO.
The Cat 7 cable standard has been created to allow 10 Gigabit Ethernet over 100 m of copper cabling (also, 10-Gbit/s Ethernet now is typically run on Cat 6a). The cable contains four twisted copper wire pairs, just like the earlier standards.
Cat 7 can be terminated either with 8P8C compatible GG45 electrical connectors which incorporate the 8P8C standard or with TERA connectors. When combined with GG45 or TERA connectors, Cat 7 cable is rated for transmission frequencies of up to 600 MHz.
Category 7a (or Augmented Category 7)
Defined at frequencies up to 1000 MHz, suitable for multiple applications in a single cable (just like all other categories) including CATV (862 MHz). Simulation results have shown that 40 Gigabit Ethernet is possible at 50 meters and 100 Gigabit Ethernet is possible at 15 meters. Mohsen Kavehrad and researchers at The Pennsylvania State University believe that either 32 nm or 22 nm circuits will allow for 100 Gigabit Ethernet at 100 meters.
However, similar studies in the past have shown that Cat5e could support 10 Gbps so these should be read with caution. Furthermore, the IEEE has chosen not to include Cat7a for 40 Gbps or 100 Gbps in the new 802.3ba standard ratified in June 2010. It may in the future, but there is absolutely no guarantee that such applications will ever exist.
Cat7a is currently in ISO standards for channel performance in Amendment 1, recently component performance has been ratified in Amendment 2. The formal names are ISO 11801 Amendment 1 (2008) and ISO 11801 Amendment 2 (2010). Category 7a is not recognized in TIA/EIA-568.
What is "Fiber Optics"? A Short History
It's the communications technology that works by sending signals down hair thin strands of glass fiber (and sometimes plastic fiber.) It began about 30 years ago in the R&D labs (Corning, Bell Labs, ITT UK, etc.) and was first installed in Chicago, IL, USA in 1976. By the early 1980s, fiber networks connected the major cities on each coast.
By the mid-80s, fiber was replacing all the telco copper, microwave and satellite links. In the 90s, CATV discovered fiber and used it first to enhance the reliability of their networks, a big problem. Along the way, the discovered they could offer phone and Internet service on that same fiber and greatly enlarged their markets.
Computers and LANs started using fiber about the same time as the telcos. Industrial links were among the first as the noise immunity of fiber and its distance capability make it ideal for the factory floor. Mainframe storage networks came next, the predecessors of today's fiber SANs (storage area networks.)
Today fiber optics is either the dominant medium or a logical choice for every communication system.
Which Fiber Optics?
Whenever you read an article or talk to someone about fiber optics, you need to know the point of view of the writer. Fiber optics, you see, is not all the same. Is the writer discussing "outside plant" fiber optics as used in telephone networks or CATV. Or is the article about "premises" fiber optics as found in buildings and campuses?
Just like "wire" which can mean lots of different things - power, security, HVAC, CCTV, LAN or telephone - fiber optics is not all the same. And this can be a big source of confusion to the novice. It is important that you define the terms and application.