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Class #8

Chapter 8 - Physical Transmission Media

Physical Media Objectives

In chapter 8, you will learn to:
Identify the characteristics of wireline transmission
Describe the properties and uses of coaxial cable
Describe the properties and uses of different types of twistedpair wire
Identify the characteristics of lightwave transmission
Describe the properties and uses of fiber optic cable
Identify factors to consider when selecting a
telecommunications medium
Explain and apply cabling standards
Describe best practices for installing wire and fiber optic cabling
Identify techniques for testing the continuity and performance of
physical transmission media

Characteristics of Wireline

Impedance: expressed in Ohms, is the combined effect of

a circuits inductance and capacitance.

In the case of a DC circuit, impedance equals the circuits resistance.

Abrupt changes in impedance is a circuit results in part of the signal
being reflected back toward the source, and thus signal loss of

Propagation Delay and Latency: the difference in

time between a data packets transmission and its reception
over a specific route.

Latency is typically the speed of light multiplied by the distance

between source and destination, times 2 (for the round trip), plus
some misc. processing time.

Characteristics of Wireline
Transmission, cont.

Distortion: the unintended and undesirable modification of at least

one signal component, which makes the signal different from how it was
originally transmitted.

This can happen because of changes in a waves phase, amplitude, and/or

Attenuation causes the loss of amplitude over distance. Attenuation distortion
occurs because attenuation is more severe at higher frequencies.
Phase distortion occurs because propagation of middle frequencies is faster than
frequencies at the edges of a transmission envelope, and is corrected by the use
of an equalizer.

Noise: any unwanted interference (electromagnetic or radio frequency)

from external sources.

Forms of noise include crosstalk, intermodulation, impulse, and


Crosstalk is the unwanted mutual inductance, or unwanted transformer effect,
between 2 adjacent data-carrying wires.


Intermodulation occurs when two

nearby channels on the same
media interfere with each other.

is usually because the guard

band is non-existent or not wide

Impulse Noise

Impulses are unwanted spikes on an analog or digital


Thermal Noise
Thermal noise (or white noise) occurs when heat or change in
temperature affects the movement of electrons in a media.

Ways to overcome


Increase your signal-to-noise ratio

(make sure your signal is louder than your
Filter out the noise


A bandpass filter, applied to a circuit, blocks

out selected frequencies

Use amplifiers/repeaters to overcome

Take steps to eliminate crosstalk and
other external interference by choosing
certain features in your transmission

Copper Transmission Media

Coaxial Cable (coax): A

common type of cabling
used in TV and data

Designed with shielding in

Can carry signals farther
than other types of cable
Fairly expensive
Somewhat (but not totally)
Must be impedancematched for the type of
signal it is carrying

Copper Transmission Media, cont.


Wire: 2
colored pairs of 28 gauge

known as CAT1,
quad-pair, or Silver Satin

for short-haul
(50 feet) PSTN inside the

susceptible to
attenuation, interference,
and crosstalk.

Copper Transmission Media, cont.

Copper Transmission Media, cont.


Twisted Pair
(STP): 2 colored pairs of 28
gauge wire.

against outside

in pairs work
against crosstalk


very common due to

Copper Transmission Media, cont.


Twisted Pair
(UTP): colored pairs of 2228 gauge wire.

inexpensive, and
very common

shielding to protect
against outside interference.


susceptible to

in pairs overcome

Copper Transmission Media, cont.


UTP: 4 colored
pairs of 24 gauge wire.

for telephony
and data feed up to
10Mbps at 16MHz.

Copper Transmission Media, cont.


and CAT5e UTP: 4

colored pairs of 24 gauge wire.

for telephony and data

feed up to 100Mbps at 100MHz.

communications protocols
using this media are specd out to
100 meters of cable run.

resistance to crosstalk
and interference due to advanced
pair-twisting techniques.

to minimal price differences

between CAT1 and CAT5, most
modern installations will use the
most current media form.

Fiber Optic Cable

In contrast to copper, which carries
signals as voltage, fiber optic cable
carries discreet pulses of light from a
laser or light-emitting diode.

Compared to copper media, fiber can

reliably transmit more data at faster rates
up to 1 billion light pulses per second
at long cable runs with little risk of


only real limit to using extremely

long runs is attenuation through optical
Fiber consists of glass or plastic
filaments at the core, surrounded by a
kevlar and glass reflective cladding and a
flexible outer jacket.


optic cable is fairly expensive, but

highly reliable and tolerant of abuse. Very
secure (no transformer effect) and
impervious to most noise.

Fiber Optic Cable, cont.


Mode Fiber: a narrow core

(10 microns)

expensive, and uses a laser


a graded index of refraction,

causing all light in the core to move
in one direction.

light dispersion along the

cable run

frequencies and long runs



(100 microns)

Fiber: a larger core

expensive, and uses an LED


bounces off of all internal


distances due to phase

distortion and attenuation (1km)

Fiber Optic Cable, cont.

Popular uses includes connecting:


and local cable TV facilities

Internet NAPs with other large
telecommunications exchange point
Central offices with other central offices
Main feeders with central offices
A telecommunications network with private LANs
A telecommunications network with private
switching systems, such as PBX
Backbone connections
High security needs

Selecting Appropriate Media

When selecting telecommunications media consider:

Existing infrastructure
What is easiest to run in existing buildings?
Where do you have to run the cable?

Throughput potential
How much throughput do you need versus the installation cost?

Cost of installation
Outside contractors vs. do-it-yourself?
Special techniques for certain media.
Most expensive part of the installation

Noise immunity
Certain media more immune than others in various situations

How easy is it to tap the media?
What protocols are available for use on the media?

Size and scalability

Cable run lengths
Ease of splitting media
Ease of patching into existing media.

Selecting Appropriate Media, cont.

Selecting Appropriate Media, cont.

Class Exercise #1

What media would you choose in the

following situations:

Small classroom
House remodel
Backbone through elevator shaft, with lots
of sharp angles to get around
Noisy defense contractor
School with CATV already installed
New installation in new office building

Structured Cabling
Structured Cabling is based off of the
TIA/EIA 568 Commercial Building
Wiring Standard for enterprise
cabling systems. It suggests how
voice and data can best be
installed to maximize
performance and minimize

Entrance: separates LAN

from WAN, and LECs POP
from interoffice trunks.

Backbone: interconnection
between equipment rooms
and closets, floors, buildings,
and the entrance facility.

Plenum: an NEC standard

cable conduit, often rated for
flame/fume resistance.

Structured Cabling, cont.

Backbone Wiring Specifications

Structured Cabling, cont.

Equipment Rooms: locations of
significant hardware, such as
servers, PBXs, etc.
Telecommunications Closets:
rooms that contain connectivity
(cross-connects, patch panels, etc)
for workstation equipment like
phones, faxes, PCs, printers, etc.,
for limited work areas.
Note: The equipment rooms and
telecom closets are often the same
area at smaller companies.

Structured Cabling, cont.

In the telecom closet, cable punchdowns and cross-connects are done
at blocks designed by AT&T. Phone
line punch-downs are done on an
AT&T 66 block, and network is
done at the 110 block.

Structured Cabling, cont.

Patch Panels are used to interconnect the blocks (which connect the
workstation equipment) to connectivity devices such as hubs or switches.

Structured Cabling, cont.

Horizontal Wiring connects the
workstations to the blocks and
patch panels

Structured Cabling, cont.

The Work Area is terminated in a mini

patch-panel. The standard calls for at
least 1 voice and 1 data jack;
realistically each workstation will be
equipped with the number and kind of
jacks most suited to the enterprise.

Structured Cabling, cont.

Installing UTP
For a 10BaseT circuit, you would use pairs 2 and 3. You could also split out
pairs 1 and 4 if you needed a second circuit and couldnt lay new media.
For a 100BaseT circuit, you would use all 4 pairs.

Crossover Cable
A crossover cable is used to connect 2
similar devices (aka NIC-NIC, hub-hub,
switch-switch, router-router, etc.) without
going through an intermediate device.
Essentially, a crossover cable reverses
the matched pairs (you would switch pairs
2/3 and 1/4 on one end of the cable to 3/2
and 4/1).

Installation Tips for CAT5 UTP

Do not untwist twisted-pair cables more than one-half

inch before inserting them into the punch-down block or

Pay attention to the bend radius limitations for the type

of cable you are installing.

Test each segment of cabling as you install it with a

cable tester.

Use only cable ties to cinch groups of cables together

Installation Tips for CAT5 UTP,


When pulling cable, do not exert more than 25

pounds of pressure on the cable.

Avoid laying cable across the floor where it might

sustain damage from rolling chairs or foot traffic.

Install cable at least three feet away from

fluorescent lights or other sources of EMI.

Always leave slack in cable runs.

Maintaining Fiber
Splice - the physical joining of two facing and aligned pieces of wire or fiber.
Mechanical splicing - the two ends of a fiber optic cable are fixed in position
within a tube so that they form one continuous communications channel.
Fusion splicing - a connection between fibers is accomplished through the
application of heat and the resulting melting and fusion of two fiber strands.

Maintaining Fiber, cont.

Cable Installation Tips for Fiber

Optic Cable

When pulling fiber optic cable, do not exert

pressure on the cable.

Fiber optic cable should be installed within a

conduit whenever you are concerned about the
potential for environmental damage.

Do not exceed the minimum bend radius.

Troubleshooting Connectivity

Identify the symptoms

Identify the scope of the problem
Establish what has changed on the network
Determine the most probable cause of the
Implement a solution
Test the solution
Recognize the potential effects of the solution
Document the solution

Troubleshooting Tools
Tone Generator - a small
electronic device that issues a
signal on a wire pair.
Tone Locator - a type of amplifier
that can detect the inductive
energy emitted by the tone
(current) on a wire.
Used together, these tools can:
Locate individual pairs in
Trace circuit breaks to the
area of breakage

Troubleshooting Tools, cont.

Continuity Tester: a simple device that
looks for line breaks in a cable in situations
where either a quick test of a cable is
needed, or where a tone generator cannot
be used.

Troubleshooting Tools, cont.

A Time/Domain Reflectometer (TDR)
is an advanced version of a continuity
tester. It can tell exactly where along a
cable run that a pair fails, so that a
patch can be installed.

Troubleshooting Tools, cont.

A Performance Tester provides the
following functions:
Measures the length of each wire pair
Ensures that the cable does not
exceed recommended maximum
Measures the distance from the tester
to a cable fault
Measures attenuation along a cable
Measures cross-talk between wires

Troubleshooting Tools, cont.

The Telephone Test Set is essentially a
rugged and sophisticated phone. Its
basic purpose is to detect dial-tone at
various points. Some versions can
carry out simple cable tests and
generate dial tone.

Summary of Physical Media

Characteristics that affect wireline transmission include

impedance changes, latency, delay distortion, and noise.

Traditional four-pair, non-twisted copper telephone wiring is

known as Level 1 cable or quad wire.

Category (CAT3) UTP cable is the minimum grade of

unshielded twisted-pair cabling for use in data systems. CAT5
is the minimum recommended grade, however.

To identify the source of cabling infrastructure problems, follow

a logical troubleshooting methodology and have the
appropriate testing tools handy.


Review Questions (chap 8)1-30,

Hands-On project 8-3 (all),

End of Class Quiz


What happens to a signal as a result of

impedance mismatch?
What type of device is used to
compensate for delay/phase distortion?
A lightning strike near a drop cable
causes what kind of noise?
What is caused by the induction of one
wires current on an adjacent cable?
What is the most common type of
cable in a modern LAN?