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Cable Labeling Standards: ANSI / TIA-606-C - What's new?

TIA-606-C is the latest update to the voluntary standard for administering telecommunications cabling infrastructure, released by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) in July 2017. TIA-606-C builds on the guidelines established in the 2012 release of TIA-606-B.

  • Annex D, which provides additional guidelines for administration of cabling supporting remote powering, including cable bundle identifier scheme. This important development allows automatic infrastructure management systems from different manufacturers to work together.
  • Identifier scheme for telecommunications grounding and bonding system elements. These changes specify the use of terms compatible with ISO/IEC 30129. Legacy terms used in versions of the TIA-607 standard earlier than revision C also will be allowed.
  • Identifier schemes for telecommunications bonding and grounding system elements, which was changed to align with TIA-607-C.
    • BCT (bonding conductor for telecommunications) changed to TBC (telecommunications bonding conductor)
    • RGB (rack grounding busbar) changed to RBB (rack bonding busbar)
    • GE (grounding equalizer) changed to BBC (backbone bonding conductor)
    • TGB (telecommunications grounding busbar) changed to SBB (secondary bonding busbar)
    • TMGB (telecommunications main grounding busbar) changed to PBB (primary bonding busbar)
    Data Center Server Room

Additional updates worthy of a mention:

  • TIA-606-B-1 content replaced with a reference to TIA-5048 (adaption of ISO / IEC 18598)
  • The preference for an ISO / IEC TR 14763-2-1 compatible format for new administration systems was removed
  • Table summarizing variables used in identifier formats added

Why follow the TIA-606-C standard?

Not only does the TIA-606-C standard help you add value to your operations with organized installations, it also removes the guesswork from label creation. And when you add the power of a Bluetooth cable label printer, you can design, preview and print labels on-site using an app on your phone. Bluetooth wire label makers come in various sizes and functionalities, including the BradyPrinter M611 Mobile Label Printer and the M211 Portable Label Printer. Traditional mobile label printers like the M210 Handheld Label Maker are a great option for those wanting to design, create and print labels using a built-in printer keypad.

Ultimately, properly labeled systems benefit everyone — installers and contractors, IT technicians, owners and businesses. It also makes it easier to identify and trace cables quickly when problems occur or when a move, add or change is required.

Datacomm Contractor Using BradyPrinter M611 Mobile Label Printer
  • Improves your efficiency — It streamlines your entire installation and labeling processing, reducing the time spent creating labels.
  • Industry best practice — It makes the network easier to follow for your customer’s current and future team members.
  • Leave a lasting impression — Clear, durable labeling according to TIA-606-C standards underscores your experience, expertise and commitment to professionalism.
  • Ensures warranty compliance — Some cable warranties require successful labeling and documentation to be submitted directly to the cable manufacturer as proof of system installation. Since cable warranties are a key factor in many buyers’ purchasing decisions, successfully certifying a system by supplying this type of information to the manufacturer is extremely important.
  • Improves record keeping — The standard requires you to link a record for each identifier that is printed on a label, allowing your customer to have a well-documented infrastructure that can be understood and managed by anyone responsible for making moves, adds or changes.

How to properly identify cables according to TIA-606-C

Each of the following components must be clearly labeled with the appropriate identifiers:

  • Pathways
  • Work area outlets
  • Patch panels
  • Racks and cabinets
  • Ports
  • Grounding busbars
  • Cabling
  • Firestop locations
  • Telecommunications space
  • Data center room grid

Original LINK Identifier Label Example

TIA-606-C Original LINK Identifier Label Example


LINK Identifier Not Terminated in the Same Space Label Example

TIA-606-C LINK Identifier Not Terminated in the Same Space Label Example


LINK Identifier Terminated in Same Space Label Example

TIA-606-C LINK Identifier Terminated in Same Space Label Example


Patch Panel Identification Label Example

TIA-606-C Patch Panel Identification Label Example

A brief history of the TIA-606 network cable labeling standard

Modern structured cabling systems haven’t always been around. They’ve had to develop over the years and undergo many changes to support the variety of electronic services we use today. To ensure uniformity in telecommunications infrastructure, standards were established and put into practice: TIA-606-A and TIA-606-B, which precede the current TIA-606-C Standard.

TIA-606-A Standard

In 2002, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), which develops standards for the information and communications technology industry, set the voluntary TIA-606-A Standard.

Use and applications

The TIA-606-A standard was a cable labeling standard that outlined the minimum level of information that should appear on labels. This information was used for tracing a cable to a:

  • Floor
  • Telecom room
  • Patch panel position or block position on which it’s terminated

This basic level of label information was deemed essential when replacing, updating or troubleshooting issues in a telecommunications network.

Key to the TIA-606-A Standard was the establishment of classes of administration. Classes were based on levels of complexity (number of users, network locations, size) and included:

  • Class 1 = a single telecommunications room
  • Class 2 = multiple rooms in one building
  • Class 3 = a campus (multiple buildings, multiple floors)
  • Class 4 = a telecommunications system that spans multiple geographic locations

The TIA-606-A Standard modernized the way each telecommunications system dealt with multiple products and vendors. It provided a uniform administration approach, regardless of application. This was helpful due to the nature of telecommunications infrastructure, which usually involves several changes over its lifetime.

Overall, this standard established guidelines for owners, end users, manufacturers, consultants, contractors, designers, installers and facilities administrators involved in the administration of the telecommunications infrastructure. The TIA-606-A Standard existed for 10 years until it was replaced with a more comprehensive standard, the TIA-606-B.

TIA-606-B Standard

In 2012, the TIA updated the standard for telecommunications infrastructure to TIA-606-B. This cable labeling standard provided voluntary guidelines for labeling and record-keeping for wiring data or voice communications and network systems.

Use and applications

An important difference between TIA-606-A and TIA-606-B was that the new standard, TIA-606-B, covered more facility types. It adopted the identification scheme in the TIA-606-A Standard, and extended its use to locations outside computer and equipment rooms: data centers, commercial, residential, industrial and healthcare.

Along with this expansion, TIA-606-B added new criteria for labels. It stated that labels must be:

  • Legible
  • Permanent
  • Placed at both ends of cables
  • Printed with termination point identification
  • Matched with records (usually in a database)

The TIA-606-B Standard also recommended color coding cables, connectors, cords, jumpers, termination fields, labels, pathways and other components. This created a more uniform way to identify the type, application, function or position of a component within the infrastructure.

The color-coding of termination fields is based on the topology of Cabling Subsystem 1, 2 and 3 cabling specified in ANSI/TIA-568-C.0:

 
Orange Central office connection
 
Green User side of central office connection
 
Purple Connection to PBX, mainframe computer, LAN, multiplexer
 
White Terminations of building Cabling Subsystem 3 cable connecting MC to ICs
 
Gray Termination of building Cabling Subsystem 2 cable connecting IC to HCs
 
Brown Termination of campus cable between buildings
 
Blue Terminations of Cabling Subsystem 1 cable in TSs
 
Yellow Alarms, security or energy management

According to the TIA, use of the TIA-606-B Standard was intended to add value to telecommunication infrastructure. With the extra record keeping and communication from the label information, systems could be upgraded easily and issues could be resolved faster.

In July 2017, the TIA-606-B Standard was replaced by the current TIA-606-C Standard.

References

  1. Telecommunications Industry Association. (2012). Color-Coding Identification. Administration Standard for Telecommunications Infrastructure – TIA-606-B. Telecommunications Industry Association.
  2. Telecommunications Industry Association. (2017). Administration Standard for Telecommunications Infrastructure – TIA-606-C.

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