Fluke Testing for Category Cables

Written by: Tektel Team

In today’s constantly developing network industry, the cabling infrastructure that supports a network is required to provide the appropriate transmission capability in order to support the data communication that is required by its end users. 

While network cable testing and certification are not mandatory in all cases, cable testing plays an important role in assuring new cable installations are functioning properly, as well as helps in existing cable network troubleshooting.

To help standardize cable requirements, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), was accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop industry standards for a wide variety of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) products.

"More specifically to the network cable industry, different TIA/EIA standard were developed for various needs, uses and types of construction."

These standards are created to define structured cabling system standards for different building uses, as well as ones placed between buildings in various environments, the standards define cabling types, distances, connectors, cable system architectures, cable termination standards and performance characteristics, cable installation requirements and methods of testing of the installed cable.

Fluke Corporation has developed a means of testing these standards. While they are not the only ones with testing equipment, they have become the most commonly known for cable testing equipment. Their equipment combines numerous tests in one tester and is adaptable and current to the ever changing technology.

A fluke test checks for cable performance. When testing a specific cable, the chief reason it is used for is to check to what length the cable meets performance standards per particular cable type (cat5e, cat6, etc.). It also checks resistance (ohms), insertion loss margin (dB), frequency (MHz), prop. delay (ns), delay skew (ns) and limit (dB). While checking each of the pairs, the fluke test looks for the amount of noise (interruptions) present during data transfer, indicating if this noise is within industry standards.

When the fluke test is used on an existing network (whether new or old), it first checks for connectivity. Once connectivity is established, an automated set of testing can be designed per need. More specifically, any number of tests in any order can be customized per job, use a fluke test to determine the performance of a cable or network to avoid current and future network issues.