Need Help Testing Modular Plug Terminated Links?

To support the rise of Modular Plug Terminated Links (MPTLs) for networked devices, such as access and CCTV systems, IDEAL Networks answers some of your questions about the common challenges of MPTL testing and certification.

What are the standards for MPTL testing?

There are currently no standards that define how to test a link with plug terminations at one or both sides, such as MPTL. However, there are communication cabling standards (the ISO/IEC 11801 series and ANSI/TIA 568 series) which define specifications for components and performance. Category rating in these standards ranges from 3 to 8.1 or 8.2, although the most commonly supplied components worldwide are category 5e, 6 or 6A. Installed cabling should be tested with a LAN cable certifier to make sure that the completed system meets the promised performance level of the individual components.

How does cable length affect MPTL testing?

If you are testing the MPTL to TIA standards, cable length must not exceed 90 meters (328 feet), as anything longer will fail. When testing MPTLs to IEC standards, cable length also needs to be reported but more for information purposes.

Although cables that exceed 90 meters in length will not necessarily fail when tested to IEC standards, they may fail tests for insertion loss or resistance, which can increase proportionally to cable length.

Can RJ45 plugs affect the performance of MPTLs?

Field installed male RJ45 plugs are not always rated to meet with IEC/TIA component specifications. Low cost, low quality RJ45 plugs will likely deliver a fail when tested.

While it is likely that category 5e plugs will pass certification with minimal extra effort, category 6 plugs must be installed carefully to pass certification and should be verified to meet component performance specifications.

To achieve accurate test results and proof of performance for the customer, proper field-terminatable plugs for cat 6/6A (and higher) performance should be installed. In this case, you get what you pay for. Category 6A plugs, which provide the performance to pass certification, are often more expensive, as they are relatively new to the market.

Which cable tester do you need to certify MPTLs?

Before certifying MPTLs it is important to check that you are using a cable tester with the proper adapters and software. The best value and simplest solution to the challenges of MPTL testing is the LanTEK III Cable Certifier with Channel and Permanent Link Adapters from IDEAL Networks.

To perform a proper MPTL certification test, you can simply download and install a free software upgrade from IDEAL Networks and configure a LanTEK III with a Channel Adapter on one handset and a cat6A Permanent Link Adapter on another.

If you have any other questions about Modular Plug Terminated Links, or about any of the products available from IDEAL Networks, please contact us.