I have been asked many times weather or not mixing Cat5e and Cat6 components will cause issues. If you’re using Cat5e cable and all you have is newer Cat6 connectors, you may be all right. Generally, connectors may be backwards compatible with cable from older standards, but the reverse is not true — if you’re pulling Cat6 cable, time to update your Cat5e and older connector collection! There are some things to consider in proving that you’re using a workable combination of cable and connector, including a simple friction pull-test, cable and connector measurements, conductor fit and contact quality. There’s also the question of whether you’re already playing the odds with your cable quality.
With no Category 8 components currently shipping and no 25GBASE-T/40GBASE-T equipment commercially available, it will likely be some time before you actually need to test a Cat 8 cabling system.
But if you’re in the market for a new tester, the good news is that Fluke Networks’ DSX-8000 CableAnalyzer meets all the requirements for testing 25G/40GBASE-T applications over Cat 8 cabling per the ANSI/TIA-1152-A field testing standard that defines the field test methodology and Level 2G accuracy for Cat 8 testers.
You might be asking yourself why you would need this tester now if you’re not going to be testing Cat 8 for another year or more. Consider this: Testers are an investment that most contractors expect to last for several years (we have lots of customers still using their thirteen year old DTX’s), and the DSX-8000 can ensure you’ll be ready for when your customers do start deploying Cat 8 technology–whether that’s in six months or twelve.
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