The Skinny on Slims
Slim patch cords have gained a lot of popularity lately because of their ability to help improve airflow and ease of cable management in high-density environments. Where space has become a premium Slims are solving to reduce congestion in today’s hyper-scale data centers.
However, until recently, 28 AWG patch cables were not recognized within ANSI/TIA cabling standards that required twisted-pair structured cabling to consist of 22 AWG to 26 AWG cables. In June of this year, the TIA Engineering Committee TR-42 voted to approve the new ANSI/TIA-568.2-D cabling standard which now allows for the use of 28 AWG patch cords.
Sounds great. So, what’s the skinny on Slims?
Resistance in the patch cable increases with length and size (or diameter) of the conductor. So, inherently 28 AWG patch cords have more resistance. The IEEE has established a DC loop resistance channel limit of 25 Ω (Ohms). What does this mean for Slims?
The smaller Slim 28 AWG conductor, less than half the size of standard CAT6 patch cords, exhibits more DC resistance which increases with the length of the cable. The TIA tested 28 AWG patch cord channel lengths and determined Slim patch cords meet or exceed loop resistance for shorter channel lengths.
The TIA 568.2-D standard approved 28 AWG patch cords in a channel for lengths 15 meters or less.
"Perfect for switch-to-server links in high-density data centers"
says Tom Hodson, voting member on the TIA Engineering Committee TR-42 and Solution Architect at Total Cable Solutions.
Okay, What about Insertion Loss?
Similar to resistance, insertion loss is impacted by the conductor length and size. Therefore, Slim patch cords also exhibit higher insertion loss. The use of Slim 28 AWG patch cords requires the overall length of the channel to be reduced.
The TIA recommends a de-rating factor of 1.9 which reduces the overall length of a 100-meter channel to 99 meters when using a 3-meter patch cord.
102 m – (1.9 de-rating factor X 3 m patch cord) = 96 m permanent link
Where 102 meters is defined as the maximum total length of a channel. Using this same calculation for the maximum 28 AWG patch cord length defined by the TIA, 15-meters, the length of the permanent link is reduced to 73.5 meters.
102 m – (1.9 de-rating factor X 15 m patch cord) = 73.5 m permanent link
"De-rating is not a factor for most users when deploying high-density patch areas in data centers. Permanent link lengths rarely come close to 73.5 meters", according to Tom Hodson.
Conclusion - Slim is In
The popularity in Slim 28 AWG patch cords is deserved. The benefits of higher cable densities, increased airflow, and easier installation and management outweigh the reduced channel length. In today’s hyper-scale data centers, space is a premium and Slim is in.
Shop the Largest Selection of Colors & Sizes
Total Cable Solutions stocks more variations of colors and lengths of Slim 28 AWG patch cords than any manufacturer. We manufacture .5 ft to 25 ft lengths in 10 vibrant colors to identify critical devices.