Technology Positioning Statement Report

6.1.5 Cable Hardware - copper, fiber optics, interconnections

Description: Hardware (cables, connectors) for providing wired local area network connections.

Category: 6 - Networks   Subcategory: 1 - Enterprise Networks




Industry UsageSC Usage

Performance Metrics

Bandwidth, noise interference, ease of installation, ease of maintenance.

Usage and Dependencies

Industry Usage: Category 5 wiring and fiber cabling are designed to support 100 Mbps or higher. Enhanced Category 5 provides for improved technical functionality over ordinary Category 5, with its standards nearing finalization. Category 6 wiring standards not yet completed, and its bandwidth rating 250 Mbps is hardly double the capacity of Category 5. This means that the preferred step after Category 5 is fiber optic, according to Gartner Group. If additional Category 5 wiring is to be installed, Gartner suggests that the price of Enhanced Category 5 will soon make it preferable to ordinary Category 5. Switch technology, however, rather than wiring, is currently the limiting factor in high-bandwidth transmission, since fiber capacities theoretically range into the terabits per second (Tbps).

Explosion in growth of copper Gigabit Ethernet and in Gigabit Ethernet over the metropolitan area network (MAN): This last quarter (Oct-Dec 2000) showed that half of all Gigabit Ethernet ports shipped were copper Gigabit. That trend should continue for 2001, with prices for copper Gigabit dropping down to a low of $135/port. MAN services offering IP Gigabit Ethernet transport will increase by at least 50 percent in revenue [.8p]. In 2001, 10Gbps Ethernet products will begin to appear. New MAN optical services will be embraced by early adopters because of very attractive bandwidth rates. Questions of viability, long lead times where fiber access between enterprise premises and carrier points of presence (POPs) is scarce, and service levels of vendors, such as Yipes and Cogent, as well as price-cutting by traditional services offered by incumbent carriers, will put pressure on these new providers.

SC Usage: The SC Germantown campus is wired with CAT-5 cable, which is suitable for 100Mbps Ethernet. The backbone and vertical runs are all optical fiber. The fiber backbone installed DOE-wide will support 1 Gbps to 2 Gbps transmission speeds as well as the lower speeds. Capacity appears to be more than adequate for current and anticpated uses in the near term. However, expansion beyond the Germantown campus is needed; this will preferably be provided by wireless technology.

SC Application Impacts: Indirect.

Last Update: Valid Until:


Previous TPS Report

List all Categories

Administer the Database