Smart Buildings

TIA Star Award Winners: Why This Honor Means So Much to Belden


Earlier this year—for the first time—the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) chose to recognize individuals who continually dedicate their time to ICT industry contributions and advancement. 


Wondering how these TIA awards are granted? The association developed an automated system that measures member and participant company engagement in TIA initiatives, including standards development, technology programs and government advocacy. The most active companies and individuals—named top performers—are honored as TIA Star Award winners.


This year, Belden is proud to announce that Technology Solutions Architect Henry Franc and Smart Buildings Technology and Applications Manager Ron Tellas were honored as TIA Star Award winners for their industry impact. Belden was also recognized as a Top 5% Star Award winner for its commitment to advancing telecommunications and paving the way for a future of continued network interoperability, function and connectivity.


Franc has been involved with TIA for nearly two decades, most recently being elected to serve as chair of the TR-42 Telecommunications Cabling Systems Engineering Committee, which develops and maintains voluntary standards for telecommunications cabling infrastructure in user-owned buildings, as well as healthcare facilities and data centers.


Tellas has also played an active role in TIA for several years, representing Belden in the TIA TR-42 Telecommunications Cabling Systems Engineering Committee. He’s also active in many other industry initiatives, including the ISO WG3 committee, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and NFPA 70 Code-Making Panel 3.


In addition to celebrating our Star Award winners, the recent TIA awards announcement also gives us the opportunity to explain our participation in standards development. Read on to learn more about why we do what we do.


Why Standards Are Important

Cabling standards are the foundation for smart building networks across all markets, including commercial buildings, healthcare facilities and data centers. They provide useful guidance and ensure that technology and systems are compatible, uniform, safe and functional—even if they’re developed by different people at different times.


Standards enable manufacturers to use common media, connectors, test methodologies and topologies. Any designer, engineer or installer can then use their products to create infrastructure solutions without worrying about compatibility issues.


Structured cabling systems are designed differently based on several factors: business needs, emerging technology, greenfield vs. brownfield sites and the types of products being used. For this reason, standards are meant to support installation and design consistency across applications as well.


Different than codes, which are created to protect life, limb and property (such as NFPA Life Safety Code or the National Electrical Code), cabling standards establish minimum performance levels. Industry standards serve as a baseline, usually setting the lowest level of expectation. From there, they can be built upon by knowledgeable professionals who want to go beyond technical specs to create client-focused solutions that meet unique business objectives. For example, Belden uses standards as a baseline reference for performance and chooses to exceed those thresholds to provide industry-leading performance in fiber and copper.


The Role Belden Plays in TIA Standards Development

Taking time to read and understand cabling standards is important—and something we think industry professionals should do to minimize downtime, reduce installation expenses, simplify MAC work and better understand:


  • Cabling architectures
  • Cabling types
  • Connections
  • Distances
  • Installation best practices
  • Performance parameters
  • Testing requirements


Before the standards can be read, however, they must be created. The development process is the result of industry experts who step up to volunteer their time. As an example, more than 1,000 individuals currently serve on TIA’s Engineering Committees. The TIA awards we mentioned earlier are just one way the association recognizes these individuals for their contributions.


As standards evolve, a collaborative approach allows parties to bring their own viewpoints to the table. For some professionals, electrical or optical performance may be most important. For others, reliability may be top of mind. These perspectives are discussed until a compromise is reached—which then becomes incorporated into the standard.


Standards Development: Giving Back to the Industry

Through our active participation in organizations like TIA, IEEE, BICSI and ISO, Belden— along with other reputable manufacturers, users, consultants and additional industry experts—makes it a priority to provide insight to shape cabling standards.


Belden representatives have been part of TIA standards since the first commercial building standards were developed. We have a long and respected history within TIA thanks to leaders like Belden’s Paul Kish, retired director of systems and standards, who is considered one of the founding fathers of the TIA TR-42 standards.


We don’t choose to participate in the standards development process to win TIA awards—we do it for many other reasons. First, our participation helps us understand how and why the standards are written in a certain way (and why some things don’t show up in standards).


Second, we want to represent not only the industry’s capabilities in terms of what can be manufactured, but also the perspectives of installers and end users. Our participation helps ensure that standards remain product agnostic—and that cabling and connectivity products can be turned into business-focused solutions so customers feel confident that their networks will operate seamlessly today and in the future.


Belden’s involvement in standards development also aligns with our core values:


  • Customers Define Our Success (we don’t win unless our customers succeed)
  • We Play to Win (we focus on choices that help everyone perform at higher levels)
  • Continuous Improvement Is Our Way of Life (we think processes, systems and technologies can always be better)
  • We Reach for Greatness (we want to create the best business, the best solutions and the best ways to serve people)
  • We Succeed Together Through Teamwork (we believe that working together is vital—with each other, our customers and the industry)
  • We Invest in Talent (our in-house experts are the reason we’re able to participate in TIA and other standards development organizations)


In other words: We participate in standards development for you. We want to make sure these industry standards help you address your toughest network and connectivity challenges. It’s just one way we can give back to the industry that has given us so much.




Why We Choose to Get Involved in the Creation of Cable Standards

Cable Compliance: Will ‘Good Enough’ Work When it Comes to Margin over Standard?

An Inside Look at NFPA’s Process for Developing Standards