The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) TR-42 Telecommunications Cabling Systems Engineering Committee approved the TIA-942-B Data Center Cabling Standard. To help data centers address current and future needs, the updated standard includes several substantial changes from the previous version. TIA represents the companies that supply high-tech communications networks and is a global leader in developing industry standards across a range of ICT segments.

The TIA-942-B standard is available from the TIA Standards Store via IHS. It was approved for publication during TIA’s June Committee meetings, and published on July 12.

“We made a significant update to ANSI/TIA-942-B in order to keep pace with the rapid technology changes in the data center environment,” said Jonathan Jew, editor of TIA-942-B. 

“With the exponential growth in the data center market, TIA-942 is one of our most essential standards,” said Stephanie Montgomery, TIA vice president, Technology & Standards. “Our TR-42.1 Engineering Committee brought its considerable expertise to reviewing and updating this standard. The resulting update will help network designers, architects, and data center owners and managers design infrastructure that will support both current and future needs.”

The TIA-942-B standard includes the following, among other, changes from the “A” revision:

Incorporates TIA-942-A Addendum 1, which addresses data center fabrics

Adds 16- and 32-fiber MPO-style array connectors as an additional connector type for termination of more than two fibers. The 16- and 32-fiber connectors were standardized when ANSI/TIA-604-18 was published.

Adds Category 8 as an allowed type of balanced twisted-pair cable, and changes the recommendation for Category 6A balanced twisted-pair cable to Category 6A or higher.

Adds OM5 (wideband multimode fiber) as an allowed fiber type. The TIA-492.AAAE standard specifies OM5 fiber, which is designed to support short-wave wavelength division multiplexing.

Details about the TIA-942-B standard and its impact on Data Center Design will be one of the many topics addressed during the Oct 17th workshop, “Optimizing Data Center Performance,” hosted at TIA In Arlington. This workshop is programed for those who design, build and manage modern data centers. More information is available here.

TIA-942 is often used with TIA-606, the administration standard. In the newest version of TIA-606-C, published June 2017, Annex D provides additional guidelines for administration of cabling supporting remote powering, including cable bundle identifier scheme. This most recent version replaces Addendum 1 to ANSI/TIA-606-B with a reference to ANSI/TIA-5048, which is adapted from ISO/IEC 18598 Information technology — Automated infrastructure management (AIM) systems — Requirements, data exchange and applications. This is an important development because it allows automatic infrastructure management systems from different manufacturers to work together.

TIA-942 is also commonly used in conjunction with BICSI-002, which addresses best practices, rather than minimum requirements, for the design and implementation of data centers. While BICSI-002 was not intended as a standalone standard, it covers many aspects of data center design, other than telecom issues, not addressed by TIA-942. It should be used by data center owners, architects, engineers, occupants and consultants to determine and fully understand data center design requirements.

TIA-942 was the first standard, developed by an accredited standards organization, that specifically addressed physical data center infrastructure. It specifies the minimum requirements for telecommunications infrastructure of data centers and computer rooms, including single-tenant enterprise data centers and multi-tenant Internet hosting data centers. The topology specified in standards is intended to be scalable to any size data center.

As an ANSI-accredited standard-development organization, TIA revises its standards on a five-year cycle.  During that five-year period, standards can be reaffirmed, revised, or withdrawn. The TIA-942-A standard was published in 2012; TIA began work on revising the standard in 2015.