What Should Be Tested?
TIA/EIA-568-B contains specifications for the testing of installed twisted-pair cabling links. The primary field test parameters for such a link include
- Insertion loss
- Near-End Crosstalk (NEXT) loss
- Power Sum Near-End Crosstalk (PSNEXT) loss
- Attenuation to Crosstalk Ratio at the Far-End (ACRF)
- Power Sum Attenuation to Crosstalk Ratio at the Far-End (PSACRF)
- Return loss
- Propagation delay
- Delay skew
Table 2-4 listed the test requirements for certification of Augmented Category 6 (Category 6A), as described in TIA/EIA-568-B Addendum 10. The ISO standard will publish the performance requirements for Augmented Class E (Class EA) in a future edition of standard 11801.
You should always test to the maximum rating for the grade of cable you are installing. If you are specifying an installation that will be contracted out, require the contractor to submit electronic test results showing certification to the maximum rating for that grade of cable. A draft template for contracting a cable installation is available from the Fluke Networks web site. Look for "Field Test Specification" in the Knowledge Base. The template is kept current per the evolving standards requirements, and should help you avoid most of the typical installation problems. There are templates for both twisted-pair copper and for fiber.