Improve Connectivity in Healthcare With Category 6A Cabling

Stay Informed

There’s nothing more important than saving lives and improving people’s health. That’s why healthcare facilities require the most advanced connectivity solutions available.

Bringing that to bear, in August 2017 the Telecommunications Industry Association published ANSI/TIA-1179-A, the first revision to the original TIA-1179 standard for healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics, adding Cat 6A cabling recommendations to optimize data connectivity.

Keeping Up With Healthcare

Because the connectivity needs of healthcare facilities are more particular and complex than commercial buildings, the TIA-1179 standard published in 2010 addresses the most appropriate cabling types, cable topologies, and cabling distances for use within a medical facility. The intent is support for both clinical and non-clinical systems within the building, including RFID, building automation systems, nurse call, security and access control, and pharmaceutical inventory – in other words, anything that utilizes IP-based infrastructure.

ANSI/TIA-1179-A builds onto the original standard with recommendations of a minimum of Cat 6A for backbone and horizontal cabling when copper is used. In fact, Categories 3, 5e and 6 are not recognized by the new standard.

Delivering the Connectivity Trifecta: Speed, Distance, Capacity

With data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps at a maximum bandwidth of 500MHz, Cat 6A performance is ideal for healthcare applications where a delay in transferring data can literally mean the difference between life and death. Large, multi-layer files that must be rendered accurately to aid diagnoses are supported as well.

While both Cat 6 and Cat 6A cables handle speeds up to 10 Gbps, Cat 6 cables do so only up to a distance of 55 meters. Cat 6A supports the same speed of 10 Gbps at almost twice the distance, up to 100 meters. Also, Cat 6A takes the prize when it comes to bandwidth, too, with a capacity up to 500 MHz, double the capacity of Cat 6.

Supporting New Wi-Fi Standards

Cat 6A also provides enhanced performance for Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices and supports wireless systems that rely on 10 Gb. Wireless is proliferating throughout healthcare facilities with mandates for electronic medical records and as physicians trade notepads for iPads.

The move to Cat 6A will become even more important in June 2019, when a new Wi-Fi standard, IEEE 802.11ax, is scheduled for release. The goal of 802.11ax is to deliver five times the capacity of the current 802.11ac standard, which never fully reached its touted speed potential. Backbone cabling that supports the faster data rates of 802.11ax will be necessary to future-proof tomorrow’s wireless access points (WAPs). Simply put, the cable to support those speeds is Cat 6A and it will be an essential consideration for any healthcare facility.

Helping Patients and Professionals

It goes without saying that healthcare facilities keep their patients needs and care top of mind. With technology that functions at its full speed potential, physicians and other medical staff will get the support they need to do what they do best — improve the health and lives of patients.

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