In 1993, TIA approved and published TIA/EIA-606 Administration Standard for the Telecommunications Infrastructure of Commercial Buildings. This standard has received limited market acceptance, possibly for two reasons. First, TIA/EIA-606 provides few concrete requirements.

It deals with the high-level approach of defining the interaction of identifiers (labels) with records and between records of the telecommunications system and with other records such as building, equipment, and user records.

However, it provides no actual nomenclature rules for various telecommunications systems or labels. Second, the standard treats all sizes of telecommunications administration systems alike.

In response, the TIA has recently completed a committee ballot and is now at industry ballot for the next revision—TIA/EIA-606-A. This draft document seems to provide hard-and-fast requirements for naming (labeling) nomenclatures. When approved, this document will provide specific guidelines and uniformity among contractors, label suppliers, connectivity suppliers, software suppliers, and end-users.

The draft standard TIA/EIA-606-A (SP-34156-RV1) proposes four classes of administration, based on system size from smallest to largest. Size is based on system complexity. The four classes are: Class 1, a system that is served by a single telecommunications room; Class 2, a system that is served by multiple telecommunications rooms in a single building; Class 3, a system containing multiple buildings in a single-campus application; Class 4, a multi-site or multi-campus system.

This draft standard provides specific nomenclature naming guidelines for various portions of the system. The table above provides a good overview. Those areas left blank are not applicable to that class of system.

Definitions for each placeholder (lowercase letters) in the above nomenclature follow.

• a = an alpha character uniquely identifying a single patch panel, punch-down block, or group of punch-down blocks.

• n = numerical character designating a single cable, patch panel port, or four-pair block.

• d = two to four numerical characters identifying one copper pair or optical fiber strand.

• f = numerical character for floor of building.

• t = an alpha character identifying a TR specifically when multiple TRs are on a floor.

• h = numerical character specifying the hour rating of the firestop system. Note the “n” in firestop nomenclature is a numerical character to identify the firestop location.

Examples of the above identifiers are:

• 3N-C041: Horizontal link No. 41 on the third floor of the building going to the north side telecommunications room terminating into patch panel C.

• 3N/1M-2.36: Intra-building backbone cable No. 2, fiber No. 36 running between telecommunications room 3N and the main cross-connect 1M.

• 09-1M/34-3N-3: Inter-building backbone cable No. 3 running between Building No. 9, main-cross-connect 1M and Building No. 34, telecommunications room 3N. This is the cable identifier only; if it was the pair/strand identifier, it would be followed by the “d” pair/strand number.

The requirement to mark each end of the cable (horizontal or backbone) within 12 inches of the end, as well as to mark the termination hardware (patch panel), workstation outlet, and consolidation point, as applicable is significant to contractors. The only label requirement is that they be machine printed.

The draft standard recognizes paper, spreadsheet, and special-purpose cable management software for recordkeeping. Only Classes 1 and 2 can use a paper-based system. Also, while Classes 3 and 4 do not require the building or site identifier in the horizontal link or backbone cable for labeling, it is needed for electronic record keeping.

The records required for each class are also defined. Another major change in this draft from the original TIA/EIA-606 is that the administration and labeling of pathways is optional. Even though pathways identification is considered optional, it does provide naming nomenclature guidelines similar to the above Table. Also, information is provided relative to T-series drawings, symbols, and graphics.

While TIA/EIA-606 reduces overall requirements for a proper cabling administration system, it provides specific details on its requirements.

BEAM is director of systems marketing at AMP NETCONNECT Systems. He can be reached at (336) 727-5784 or tebeam@tycoelectonics.com.