All Mirapath structured cabling projects are completed with full cable testing reports. Sometimes, the reports can be hard to understand. So we have created a guide to help decipher the copper cable testing reports. See below for explanations of specifications as well as the most significant test results categories.
Mirapath uses the Fluke DSX-1800 and DSX-5000 Testers and the Fluke LinkWare Software. The Fluke testers support specifications for Cat5e, CAT6, and CAT6A. Each cable will have its own individual test result.
1. Test Limit
The significance of this result category is the test limit values, from which the Pass/Fail and frequency ranges are measured.
Below is the standard for the TIA Permanent Link.
2. Length, Delay, Resistance, and Insertion Loss
This parameter shows the tester’s estimate of the Length of the cable (which may not be the same as the actual length, the length is based on electrical delay), the Propagation Delay (how long it takes for the signal to be sent from one end to the other measured in nanoseconds), Delay Skew (testing the largest difference in propagation delay from one pair to another measured in nanoseconds), Resistance (measuring the total ohms through one wire pair looped at one end of the connection), Insertion Loss Margin (comparing the insertion loss with the TIA standard).
3. Near-End Crosstalk (NEXT)
The table shows the worst near-end crosstalk (NEXT) result in the cable. Crosstalk is the tendency of the signals on one of the data pairs to induce signal on another data pair. The values show that both main (MAIN) and remote (SR) tester units were tested. Worst Pair shows which set of pairs has the worst crosstalk. NEXT (dB) shows the value of the worst pair compared with the testing limit. Freq. (MHz) shows the frequency at the worst NEXT margin and value. Limit (dB) shows the limit value in dB at the frequency shown.
4. Return Loss (RL)
This test parameter identifies the worst pair in the cable for return loss performance. Same as the Near-End Crosstalk, the Worst Pair shows which set of pairs has the worst return loss performance compared with the testing limit. RL (dB) shows the value of the worst pair under the return loss testing limit. Freq. (MHz) shows the frequency at the worst RL margin and value. Limit (dB) shows the limit value in dB at the frequency shown.
5. Estimate of Length
This is an estimate of the cable length based on the time it takes signal to travel through it. This should be fairly close to the physical cable length but it may differ.
The wiremap test is used to confirm that each wire is hooked up correctly, with no opens or shorts. It also shows the physical errors like crossed pairs, reversed pairs or split pairs.
7. Insertion Loss Graph
The red trace shows the testing limits for the Insertion Loss. This is the only graph where we would want to have our values below the red trace which means the insertion loss is less than the TIA/ISO limit standard.
8. NEXT Graph
Again, the red trace shows the testing limits for Near-End Crosstalk. The mixed colored traces show the six pairs combinations. The larger the value, the better the result. As long as the pairs’ results fall above the PASS/FAIL line (red trace), the cable passed the specification.
9. RL Graph
For the RL graph, which is similar to the NEXT graph, the larger the value the better the result. As long as the traces for the pair combinations (4 pairs) fall above the PASS/FAIL line (red trace), the cable passed the specification.
For more structured cabling articles, read Case Study: New Office and Engineering Lab Build Out and 5 Signs That Your Structured Cabling Contractor Understands IT.
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