Note: we have been revealing in recent
the top 40 innovations made by CommScope (or one of its acquired companies) as part of our blog posts celebration. 40th anniversary We continue today by revealing an innovation from the final grouping of innovations—the top 10—which are being announced in alphabetical order. These are our all-time greatest product and technology innovations. You can also review the complete list of so far and read more about the overall program and selection process in innovations we’ve revealed . this November 4 post CommScope’s Top 40 Innovations—Grouping 1-10 Category
6 and Category 6A Cabling and Connectors Definition: This
innovation includes copper twisted-pair cabling (later standardized as Category-6
and Category-6A), the associated connectors, as well as multi-stage compensation
technology and split-pair leadframe wire crossover designs that reduce
crosstalk issues. Year of the Innovation: 1996-97
VIDEO What is the
innovation that CommScope or one of its acquired companies was first in
In 1997, AT&T’s SYSTIMAX Structured Cabling Systems
(“SYSTIMAX SCS”) organization introduced improved twisted-pair connectors which
incorporated breakthrough technology called multi-stage compensation. This new compensation
technique enabled connectors with drastically reduced crosstalk levels which,
when coupled with improved cables and cords, doubled the usable bandwidth of
the cabling system, all while maintaining backward compatibility with existing
LAN solutions. The structured cabling industry
later standardized these improved levels of performance as Category-6 (Cat-6),
Class E systems in US, European, and international standards.
Key to the breakthrough is placing multiple stages of
compensating crosstalk in precisely controlled locations to substantially overcome
the negative impact of offending crosstalk.
Over time, the compensation techniques were refined further and more
complex mechanical structures were added, such as implementing a crossover of
the split pair of the modular jack’s contact lead frame. These further enhancements led to even higher
performance levels introduced to the market in 2004 and later standardized by
the industry as Category-6A (Cat-6A), Class E
A. CommScope and its acquired companies obtained
patents on the noted compensation methods and lead frame designs. What was happening in
the market that this innovation was needed?
In the 1990s, local area networks (LANs) were booming, but future
application demands were driving the need for more bandwidth than Category-5e
copper twisted pair systems could provide. Crosstalk in the ubiquitous RJ45 modular
connector was a key electrical impairment that held back increases in usable
bandwidth. The development of Cat-6 connectors, matched with complementary
Cat-6 cables and cords, solved this problem.
How did this
innovation benefit customers and the industry?
Category-6 systems consisting of concatenated cables, cords,
and connectors enabled modern LANs with robust support for network speeds of 1
Gigabit/sec. Category-6A systems enabled
10X that speed – up to 10 Gigabits/second.
Category-6 and Category-6A are the most commonly used cabling solutions
in the market today.
Did this innovation
act as the springboard for other innovations, and if so, how do they all tie
Multi-stage compensation facilitated the realization of
Cat-6 cabling, and a whole family of related patents on compensation methods,
jack design and lead frames arose from this initial innovation. CommScope continued to improve performance
further to Cat-6A levels, while simultaneously achieving Cat-6 performance
levels more efficiently and cost-effectively.
The combination of these advancements in the connector area, coupled
with complementary developments in cables, has enabled CommScope to build its
leadership position in the structured cabling market.
What is the
significance of the innovation for CommScope?
Multi-stage compensation technology enabled CommScope to be
first to market with a Category-6 solution portfolio (cable, cords and
connectors), thereby providing enhanced future-proofing to our customers.
To enable industry growth, CommScope licensed its patented technology
to others in the industry. According to BSRIA, the market for Category-6 and
Category-6A solutions was $3.6 billion in 2015. Our analysis of competitive
products has revealed that every Category-6 or Category-6A modular connector we
tested utilizes some form of our multi-stage technology.