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NetAlly's LANBERT exposes the gap between cable certification and reality

Historically a cable certification PASS meant that an Ethernet cable would perform all certified tests at the tested speed. In other words, for a 1 Gb certification, a result of PASS meant that the cable would support up to 1 Gbps. At the recent Mobility Field Day (#MFD), NetAlly's CTO James Kahkoska explains why there is more to the story.

"The specifications are often misunderstood as the maximum something WILL work, when in fact, they are the limits on which the PHY MUST work. Ethernet PHYs are usually designed to perform well beyond the limits."

"How much stuff can you cram at one time?"

The LANBERT media qualification app is a testing methodology that runs on certain NetAlly network testers that can test Ethernet cable and fiber to see the maximum speeds it is capable of with respect to the ETH PHY. Can a 1Gbps certified cable actually transport 10Gbps? Often it can, resulting in significant savings using existing cable infrastructure.

Don't "Heisenberg" your network. NetAlly runs tests on one interface while test management is accessed using another. In other words, viewing a live test does not interfere with the results of the test.

Here is a test of a pair of copper ETH cables connected using a coupler. A scenario that would not pass traditional cable certification. LANBERT shows that it can carry 54 Billion frames over the course of an hour with zero errors.

1 hour test with 2 Off-the-shelf 1G ETH cables with a coupler

Result: 54 Billion frames with 0 errors

James also showed a cable test that did not pass a 1Gb certification but could transmit data at 5Gb, thus the gap between certification and reality.

Cable fails 1G cert but will pass at 5Gbps with 0 errors

It is important to note that LANBERT is not a cable certification tool. It is still recommended to use certified cable runs on installation. However, the cabling infrastructure may not need to be replaced when installing equipment capable of much faster throughput than the cable was initially certified.

How much did it cost to certify your existing installation? How much would it cost to pull all new cable and certify? What does it cost to 'LANBERT' your existing cable? A pair of LinkRunner 10G's can run a LANBERT test and cost less than the alternatives, by far.

I want to point out that James' presentation was exactly how I like presentations to be. His deep knowledge and experience with the subject allowed him to follow a set of bullet points and go. He didn't read it off a script and answered all the questions thrown at him by the delegates. He ran live demos. It was a very dynamic and educational presentation.

Bonus content: Watch James' presentation to see how your office chair may be affecting your network. Hint: ESD

Worry less about cable length and PoE. The thing to be concerned about is ESD. "It is probably the biggest thing in deploying your new n-Base-T AP's over existing cabling."

Watch the NetAlly presentations here -

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