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A Brief History of Communications Cables

At Td Communications, we stay up to date on communications cables and related technology. Our goal is to install voice and data cables that last. To do this, we need to know where the industry has been and how it will continue to evolve.

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A Time of Change

Back in 1984, the US courts made several rulings that would forever change the face of communications cabling. That was the year the Bell system, after a 10-year battle, agreed to the Department of Justice's decision to divest.

After the divestiture of AT&T™, companies were left to find their own communications vendors and cabling contractors. Not much was understood about cabling requirements back then. Data speeds were slow, bandwidth requirements were minimal and the "baby bells" took care of their own voice cabling.

Soon after, with the proliferation of new cabling schemes and connector interfaces, it became apparent that the creation of a standards group was needed.

So the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Telecommunications Industry Association/Electronic Industry Alliance (TIA/EIA) were born. Their main focus would be on commercial buildings and communications cabling.

By 1991, the first cabling standard was introduced. At that time, network cabling was in full swing. We were seeing bandwidths over unshielded twisted pair cable up to 16 MHz—low compared to today's bandwidth of more than 500 MHz, but that was more than 30 years ago which, as you are probably aware, is an eternity in technology.

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