Posted by: Paul Kish on April 04, 2014
Category 8 cabling is under development to support the next generation 40GBASE-T Standard over balanced copper cabling for distances up to 30 meters. It is primarily intended for switch-to-server connections in a data center. In the IEEE 802.3 Call for Interest on Next Generation BASE-T a chart was presented that forecasted the demand for higher speed switch-to-server connections as shown below. The demand for 40G (blue) will start to pick up in the 2015 to 2018 time frame.
Today's server is tomorrows desktop. For offices and commercial buildings, the planning today should be to support 10 Gigabit to the desktop using Category 6A cabling in the horizontal and 40G/100G optical fiber cabling in the backbone. There is a possibility that Category 8 could be used in the future to support 40G connections for high end work area environments from a Telecommunications Enclosure. This would require 100G/400G optical fiber cabling in the backbone. I see this more of an exception than a rule, because of the limitations to support than much bandwidth, at least using today's technology.