One Way to Skin a CAT

January 2007 Reel Time Article in Cabling Buinsess Magazine

In the September issue of CBM, we discussed the different kinds of shielded cable. Basically, “FTP” (from Foil Twisted Pair) is the common name for Screened Twisted Pair (coined “ScTP” by TIA), which is 4-pair, 100-ohm cable, with a single foil, or braided screen, surrounding all four pairs in order to minimize or eliminate noise interference such as EMI or RFI. Most of today’s FTP cables consist of four pairs covered with an overall aluminum/polyester shield. The main advantage for using an FTP system for 10GBASE-T is its immunity to external noise, including alien crosstalk. Secondary, its smaller diameter when compared to current Augmented CAT 6 UTP cables means that it will fit better in existing pathways.
 
However, one apprehension on the part of the installer is the termination procedure for FTP systems. Taking precautionary steps for each termination is vital to the reliability of the network for both UTP and FTP. In comparison to UTP terminations, FTP terminations require a few more steps and safety measures because of the foil and drain wire. However, just like UTP termination, keep in mind these important guidelines:
 
• Remove only as much cable jacket as is required for termination
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for termination, mounting and cable management
• Minimize the amount of pair untwisting during termination to connecting
hardware. For Category 6 terminated pairs can be untwisted ½”.
 
FTP connector termination procedures may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
So, it is imperative to follow their termination instructions. Most terminations are the same until after the punch down procedure. The crimping and final clamping may vary. The tools that you will need include a jacket stripper, wire cutters, pliers and a punchdown tool. Some manufacturers offer a jack holder for stability, in case termination cannot be performed on a flat surface.
 
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