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R&M, the globally active developer and provider of cabling systems for high-quality network infrastructures, based in Wetzikon, Switzerland, is completing its Cat 8.1 program. Cat. 8.1 patch cords round off the cabling range for office cabling and data centers. R&M is one of the first manufacturers to be a single source of supply for all modules of a shielded Cat. 8.1 channel.
The company was the first manufacturer to have the cabling system certified for the most important applications. The independent German testing company GHMT confirmed in June that a Cat. 8.1 cabling system from R&M reliably transfers 25 Gigabit/s over 50 meters. This is the performance level required for the connection of WiFi 6 WAVE 2 and future WiFi 7 access points in office buildings, for example. GHMT tested on the basis of the standard ISO/IEC DTR 11801-9909. The R&M system fulfilled the corresponding requirements with outstanding transmission quality. This makes it suitable for use in data centers.
Cat. 8.1 is a new connection and cabling technology for data transmission up to 40 Gigabit/s. Cat. 8.1 takes copper cabling to its limits and works with a bandwidth of 2,000 MHz. R&M developed the Cat. 8.1 portfolio primarily for data transmission in data centers and for connecting upcoming WiFi and high bandwidth applications.
Data center infrastructure for 40 Gigabits
Data centers are immediately entering the 40-Gigabit era with the Cat. 8.1 cabling system from R&M. This provides them with data transmission four times faster than what has currently been possible to date, a maximum of 10 Gigabits. The main areas of use would be top-of-rack and end-of-row infrastructure. R&M specifies the Cat. 8.1 system for permanent links up to 24 meters when using 40 Gbit/s. Channels of up to 30 meters can be set up with the new patch cords.
Furthermore, the Cat. 8.1 program is also suitable for use in challenging local data networks in office environments, functional buildings, media businesses and in the financial industry. It supports the current and upcoming Ethernet generations 10, 25 and 40 Gbit/s. In other words, networks can initially continue to be operated with today’s 10 Gbit/s Ethernet.
The Cat. 8.1 products from R&M are backwards compatible to existing installations, such as Cat. 6A cabling, thanks to their universal RJ45 connectivity. Users do not require additional adapters or transmission cables to accelerate their network at a later date. After installing a Cat. 8.1 infrastructure, they can seamlessly integrate faster switches and servers at any time.
Office cabling for the future
Cat. 8.1 cabling planned with a view to the future can therefore be used for decades, providing the transmission links are taken into account. Cat. 8.1 cabling transmits 40 Gbit/s over a 24-meter and 25 Gbit/s over a 50-meter permanent link.
The standard 90 meters used in LAN planning can no longer be used as a basis. Nevertheless, the Cat. 8.1 system still allows around 60 % of the cabling links commonly used in office environments to be implemented with at least 25 Gbit/s. The locations of distributors, outlets, WLAN access points and other terminal equipment must be coordinated accordingly.
An extensive office landscape can be easily segmented into different power zones with Cat. 8.1 cabling. Forty Gbit/s would be viable at dedicated points, in or near a server room. WLAN access points within a 50-meter radius would be supported at 25 Gbit/s. Ten Gbit/s would be sufficient at peripheral workplaces at a distance of up to 95 meters. R&M has developed sample plans for such scenarios.
Cabling solution for future WiFi and PoE
WLAN is one of the main application areas of the Cat. 8.1 cabling system from R&M. Coming WLAN generations such as WiFi6 WAVE 2 or WiFi 7 will require transmission speeds above 10Gbit/s and up to 30 Gbit/s. The Cat. 8.1 system from R&M fulfills the requirements and is suitable, for example, for connecting access points in the ceiling. The cabling system can be used for four-pair Power over Ethernet (4PPoE) to supply terminal equipment such as WLAN routers directly via the data cable.
The design of the charcoal Cat. 8.1 connection module is based on the Cat. 6A module from R&M. This RJ45 module set new standards across the industry and won the iF Design Award. The wires are connected in IDCs. Terminating and cutting the wires to length is a single work step for the installer.
R&M points out that Cat. 8.1 requires a precisely coordinated shielding, wiring and compensation technology. This is the only way to keep the high bandwidth of 2,000 MHz and the signal quality stable. It is therefore recommended to choose a coordinated portfolio from one source when it comes to Cat. 8.1 cabling.