If you missed it, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) TR 42 committee meetings were held in early June. It’s time to pay attention, since many of their decisions can affect the contractor, as you’ll see below. Here’s what the various committees decided:

TR 42.1 et al is responsible for ANSI/TIA-568-B.1 and B.2 standards and addendums for copper commercial building cabling. Issues they tackled included:

• Power over cable to the data terminal equipment (DTE)

This was originally developed so power plus Ethernet could be carried over unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable out to a device such as a voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone. This draft will first go to IEEE since they originally asked for this work, then the draft would next go out for public comment via 45-day ballot.

• Electrostatic discharge (ESD)

A subcommittee prepared a Technical Services Bulletin (TSB) guideline to be published on how to handle/mitigate ESD between LAN cabling and data equipment.

• Data center cabling

After a first review, this was to go out its first public balloting (45 days).

• Telecomm Enclosure (TE)

Since there was confusion in the industry about this new “space,” which is considered like the Telecommunications Room (TR), and whether active components could be included in it, members agreed that something like an Annex to the ANSI/TIA-568-B.1 standard needed to be written so this “space” would be designed properly.

• Wireless access

The TR 42.1 committee agreed to create a group to look at this area of the industry.

• Healthcare industry

TIA agreed to present this request for work in the healthcare industry as a “call for interest” to other groups who could be affected (IEEE, healthcare associations, etc.) Once an interest is shown, a project would probably be started with work toward a future standard.

TR 42.2 is responsible for the existing ANSI/TIA-570-A standard and addendums for residential cabling. Issues they tackled included:

• The RJ11 (6 position) and RJ45 (8 position) jack/plug mismatch issue

The committee is looking at doing something about this mismatch in the residence and keeping IEEE informed along the way.

• Updating ANSI/TIA-570-B for residential cabling

A draft was to be put together for comment at the next TIA meeting.

TR 42.3 is responsible for the existing ANSI/TIA-569-A standard and addendums for pathways and spaces. Issues they tackled included:

• Updating ANSI/TIA-569-B for pathways and spaces

This update of the entire standard is to be sent out for a Default Ballot (to those who commented negatively this cycle) and those comments are to be discussed at the next TIA meeting.

• Power Separation

The committee was to write a letter to National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) explaining that power separation requirements within ANSI/TIA-569-B were not going to be changed, but merely elaborated on.

TR 42.8 is responsible for the ANSI/TIA-568-B.3 standard and addendums for optical fiber cable. Issues they tackled included:

• Guidelines (TSB 140) for Fiber Testing with an Optical Loss Test Set

A draft has already gone out to three ballots and it was agreed that this was to be published for public use.

• Guidelines (TSB 136) for Fiber Array Connector Polarity

This TSB was “put on hold” until certain patent issues on one method were cleared up.

• The National Fire Protection Association’s future decision regarding low-smoke producing cable

The group wanted to see both fiber and copper listed by the NFPA as a low-smoke producing cable and was to write a liaison letter to them to maintain fiber for the plenum space.

TR 42.9 is responsible for the future TIA standard for industrial building cabling.

No specific actions were taken by this committee, but the group did make progress on the content for the first industrial cabling standard. Sections 4 and 5 were being completed (for industrial “spaces” and enclosures, and for intrabuilding pathways) and sections 6 for Entrance Facilities and section 7 for Access/Service Providers were to be reviewed at the next TIA meeting. The beginning of the document (Introduction, Scope and Definitions) was to be added soon and the first internal ballot should be ready to go out in early 2004.

As you can see by all that went on, major performance standards will be coming out for data center and industrial building cabling. Also, TIA may be looking into a new business area—healthcare. Things do move forward, but decisions are based on consensus, which can take a long time. If you want to be involved and affect the outcome of some of these standards, look at the TIA website (www.tiaonline.org) and consider attending the next TIA TR 42 meeting. EC

MICHELSON, president of Jackson, Calif.-based Business Communication Services and publisher of the BCS Reports, is an expert in TIA/EIA performance standards. Contact her at www.bcsreports.com or randm@volcano.net.