The Many Choices of Industry Standards

When it comes to standards, there are many to choose from with many different groups involved. In his latest blog, Dave Tanis talks about CommScope’s involvement in the standards groups and introduces the next edition of the CommScope Standards Advisor – a newsletter outlining all of CommScope’s standards activities over the past three months.

The Many Choices of Industry StandardsMost industries are governed by standards that outline such things as materials, designs and protocols. Standards are put in place to make things “easier” for the industry. When asked about the proliferation of standards in the computer industry, Andrew S. Tanenbaum is credited with saying, “The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.”

A similar level of complexity and frustration may be felt by some in the cabling industry given the numerous applications standards, regional cabling standards and unofficial guidelines such as multi-source agreements that all influence how cabling systems are designed and used.

After all, the intent of standards is to make life simpler for all involved; from manufacturers to systems designers, installers and ultimately to the end users themselves, right?

Fortunately, there is logic behind how the standards relevant to the structured cabling industry fit together. For example, the most common applications standards in the IEEE Ethernet and ANSI T.11 (Fibre Channel) drive requirements in the regional cabling standards bodies of ISO/IEC (global), TIA (North America) and CENELEC (Europe). Fortunately, there are strong liaisons between these groups to ensure that standards are as consistent as possible across different regions.

CommScope is fortunate to have several experts participating in all of the key cabling standards groups. We are proud to have more than 30 employees representing us in more than 60 standards groups around the world; all of which do so in addition to their “day jobs.” Their work, along with others in the standards bodies, has helped shape the physical infrastructure that Gartner predicts will support 26 billion connected devices by 2020.

In addition to their contributions, our standards group publishes the StandardsAdvisor - a quarterly update on the pertinent standards activities to ensure our customers can keep up with the latest developments. The second edition, covering activities in the first quarter of 2014, was recently completed and is available on the CommScope Standards webpage. Even with all of the standards to choose from, there is a clear path forward for even higher bandwidth. As Tanenbaum noted, there may be many standards to choose from, but hopefully this update will help give a better understanding as to all the choices out there.