TIA Clears Up Misinformation & Confirms Hybrid and Composite Cable Definitions
Over the years, the terms “hybrid cable” and “composite cable” have been used to describe many different scenarios: mixing different types of category cables, mixing fiber and copper cables, two different media under one jacket and cables that transmit data and power simultaneously (just to name a few).
The terms are also sometimes used interchangeably, but it’s important to know that these two cables types are different.
TIA recognized this confusion within the industry and clarified these definitions. In October 2020, we received news from TIA that it will recognize specific definitions for hybrid and composite cable:
Hybrid cable: A cable that contains optical fiber and current-carrying members
Composite cable: A cable featuring two or more cable units of the same or different media (a cable featuring fiber and conductors may also be called a composite cable)
These definitions will help clear up confusion and make it easier to have conversations about hybrid and composite cables while ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
Here’s a quick recap of the basics for hybrid and composite cable types ...
Hybrid Cable Basics
Hybrid cables make it possible to deliver DC power and data through a single fiber cable. Prior to the availability of hybrid cables, utilizing Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology via copper cables was the only option.
Hybrid cables deliver power remotely through electrical conductors while offering the excellent performance benefits of fiber to quickly and securely carry data across long distances.
Using hybrid cable means:
You only have one cable to pull, stock and manage, providing installation and labor savings, as well as reserving warehouse space
You can cost-effectively carry remote power without requiring a local power source. Power is carried through the cable from a centralized remote source, eliminating the need for separate data and power pathways to each location.
You have access to new installation opportunities that aren’t possible with PoE: pole-mounted exterior security cameras and wireless access points (WAPs), for example.
Composite Cable Basics
The transition from analog to digital has brought about changes in cabling infrastructure. During this transition, it’s not uncommon to find a mix of analog and digital security devices in play as the shift happens over a period of time.
As more IP-based systems are deployed, more devices connect to the network – and the cabling infrastructure required to support these systems becomes more complex.
Even though IP-based systems are supported by category cable, they still often require a junction box. Composite cables – a mixture of multimode/singlemode fiber or shielded and unshielded twisted-pair copper wires bundled together under one jacket – can achieve cost-effective installation with several labor-saving and easy-identification features.
Belden’s Hybrid and Composite Cable Solutions
Belden’s FiberExpress Hybrid Copper-Fiber Cables can safely transmit up to 100W from a limited power source along with data across distances of hundreds of meters, reaching remote locations where standard power is unavailable or too costly to install – and PoE is unable to reach due to distance limitations. Solutions are available in breakout or distribution styles, depending on termination needs. Cables can also be structured in multiple fiber counts to accommodate a variety of applications.
Belden also offers a wide variety of Banana Peel composite cables for surveillance and security systems.
Need help selecting the right cable for your next project? Start here!