How Far Will Copper Network Go

Posted on by FS.COM

In the background of global data traffic rises quickly, the data center construction tend to develop in the direction of cloud computing, and cloud computing data center will more use fiber-based transmission of 10G, even 40G/100G and other high-speed network applications, at the same time, the application of virtualization technology has put forward higher requirements for network transmission, bring new opportunities to the application of fiber optical system. While FTTH applications will receive more government policy support in China, the process of fiber optic instead of copper cable seems to take an important step forward.

As we pay attention to all these large number of industry dynamics and information, is it expected that copper cabling has gradually come to an end? For such a conjecture, then we will analyze the copper cabling systems market changes and development from the direction of copper cabling standards develop, using applications and other aspects.

The Direction Of Copper Cabling Standards Develop

In 1000Base-T and below Gigabit Ethernet transmission mediums, cat5e Ethernet cablecat6 network cable and other copper twisted pair wires have the absolute advantages. With 10GB Ethernet IEEE 802.3 of copper-based twisted pair cable as a transmission medium, an 10GBASE-T specification formally approved to release in June 2006, which supports traditional twisted-pair fiber optic cable, the port using a standard RJ45 connector to connect, can be backward compatible with 1000Base-T and below Ethernet applications. Cat6A copper twisted pair cable can support 10GBase-T transmission and distance up to 100 meters. Cat6 UTP can support 10GBase-T transmission and distance up to 37 meters, so that new users can use the original installed twisted-pair cable.

Copper Cabling System Applied In Data Center

In recent years, the rapid growth of global data business volume, many network architectures of traditional data center can not fully apply to the requirements of various data centers. To solve the contradiction between the growth of data traffic and the speed of infrastructure construction, cloud computing data center with a lot of computing resources have been widely used, and will be an important development direction of future data center construction. As new technologies like virtualization are widely used in the data center, whether copper cabling system will meet the transmission performance requirements?

Copper Cabling System Used In Commercial Buildings

In the traditional building cabling projects, as the information work area is relatively dispersed, even in the floor IDF and equipment management MDF and other areas, the physical space for the wiring system is relatively large, the choice of transmission media is not too much consider the wiring density factor. Wiring cabinet distribution in each floor wiring management also reduces cooling requirements, energy consumption of the network device port have a low influence on the building wiring system relatively data center. In building wiring plan, the project more focus on economical, which means the overall cost investment of the project construction.

Therefore, a lower initial investment cost twisted pair copper cabling system wiring has an absolute advantage in the building cabling, according to survey data provided by the wiring Alliance Network, copper cabling system in possession of the cabling market share reached 80% in 2011, the GIM market report also shows that copper cabling system has an absolutely superiority in the cabling systems.

Structured Cabling Market 2008-2013

Since cabling system entered the Chinese market in the late 1980, has been more than 20 years. Early building cabling used only support 100Base-T, either from the cabling system to meet network demand, or the wiring system itself has entered the warranty period are applied to the limit. Therefore, in addition to new building cabling projects, old cabling system reform projects have hidden market capacity, will certainly bring a development opportunity to the cabling industry.

Transformation Of The Building Cabling System Project

In the wiring system transformation projects, design and plan need to consider compatible with the original equipments. Taking into account the specific situation of the existing network equipments, such projects will be mainly in the solution of 1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop. Gigabit Ethernet device port in terms of energy consumption, choose the copper twisted pair cable or fiber optic as the transmission medium is insignificant, energy consumption of per port are about 3W.

For without considering the wiring density and per port of energy consumption, copper twisted pair cable has the absolute advantage in cost, as the primary transmission medium of 1000Base-T Ethernet (using a small amount of fiber optic cable in main part of data). In this kind of modification of building cabling system project, the horizontal part will large use copper twisted-pair cable such as Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6 as the main cable.


As data center widely use virtualization technology especially for cloud computing data center, the requirements in network transmission delay, network bandwidth, energy consumption of port and wiring density are increasingly high, and Gigabit applications over copper twisted-pair cable wiring system to transmit has certain limitations in delay, energy consumption of port, wiring density, etc. At the same time, the influence of factors such as widely used TOR architecture, so the cabling system in data center, the copper wiring has no applied advantage in a very long time.

Compared to the building cabling system accounting for more than 80% of the total wiring market, due to the low demand in energy consumption of port as well as wiring density, the distribution network previous cost investment is more considered. In addition, the workspace of the IT terminal equipment using mainstream RJ45 interface and RJ45 interface has adaptive function of network backward compatible, and compared with fiber optic network equipment port, copper network equipment has more obvious price advantage. So the copper twisted pair cabling system will still be the preferred building cabling system in a longer period.

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January 2017
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