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Cabling Mistakes #5: Forgetting to Enable Plot Data

-Mark Mullins

25-10-2017 www.flukenetworks.com| 2006-2017 Fluke Corporation 1


Cabling Mistakes #5: Forgetting to Enable Plot Data

While the smart people who install, test and certify network cabling plants know the
importance of meeting standards performance parameters and ensuring application support,
even the best of us can make mistakes that adversely impact the bottom line and customer
satisfaction.
Lets take a look at the #5 Dumb Thing that smart people do when testing network
cabling systemsforgetting to enable plot data

25-10-2017 www.flukenetworks.com| 2006-2017 Fluke Corporation 2


Cabling Mistakes #5: Forgetting to Enable Plot Data

What is Plot Data?


Plot data is the full color graphical depiction of measured test parameters required for
certification testing. For copper certification, plot data includes graphs for key parameters,
including Insertion Loss (IL), Return Loss (RL), Near End Crosstalk (NEXT), Power Sum NEXT,
Attenuation to Crosstalk Ratio (ACR-N), Power Sum ACR-N, Far End ACR-F, Power Sum ACR-F,
Power Sum Alien Near End Crosstalk (PS ANEXT) and Power Sum Alien Crosstalk Ratio Far End
(PS AACR-F).
Each of these graphs shows the values in decibels (dB) as they vary by frequencythe
horizontal axis is frequency and the vertical axis is dB. The horizontal axis will vary depending
on the type of cabling being tested. It will run to 100 MHz for Category 5e, 250 MHz for
Category 6, 500 MHz for Category 6A and so on. (You can also extend the frequency that you
want to test to, which can be handy for recertifying a cable to a higher standard.)

25-10-2017 www.flukenetworks.com| 2006-2017 Fluke Corporation 3


Cabling Mistakes #5: Forgetting to Enable Plot Data

What is Plot Data?


For each graph, the smooth red line shows the
testing limits of the standard youre testing to (i.e., TIA,
ISO/IEC, etc.). The jagged color lines show the results for
individual pairs and pair combinations. These lines are
jagged since actual results tend to have peaks and
valleys, which is not a problem as long as they stay
above the limit.

25-10-2017 www.flukenetworks.com| 2006-2017 Fluke Corporation 4


Cabling Mistakes #5: Forgetting to Enable Plot Data

Better Than a Thousand Words


In the case of plot data, a picture is better than a
thousand words. It shows valuable visual information about the
performance of individual pairs within the cable with respect to
the test limits . Your customer will appreciate being able to
visually see the headroom-reports without plot data will look
empty.
Plot data is also the only way to really tell what might
be causing an issue with your link under test, and it is required
for relating test results to distance. Measurements made based
on frequency are great for certification, but are of little use for
diagnostic purposes. Its important to see where the crosstalk is
happening so the failing link can be fixed or replaces. Thats
where time domain data comes into play, which is achieved
based on the knowledge of the speed at which electrical signals
travel over copper cabling.
25-10-2017 www.flukenetworks.com| 2006-2017 Fluke Corporation 5
Cabling Mistakes #5: Forgetting to Enable Plot Data

Better Than a Thousand Words


For example, Fluke Networks DTX 5000
CableAnalyzer use a patented digital signal processing
technique to report the distance to a location on the link under
test where crosstalk or return loss is excessive. The two
parameters that show the time domain information are HDTDX
(High Definition Time Domain Crosstalk) and HDTDR (High
Definition Time Domain Reflectometry). Plot data must be
enabled for these two parameters to be saved in the results.

25-10-2017 www.flukenetworks.com| 2006-2017 Fluke Corporation 6


Cabling Mistakes #5: Forgetting to Enable Plot Data

Simply Required
Another reason for enabling plot data is that is it required for Alien Crosstalk certification
testing of Category 6A cabling. Furthermore, if you need Fluke Networks troubleshooting support
and you dont have plot data, we will ask you to retest with it enabled, more than doubling your
test time. Our experts cannot analyze testing results without it.
The default under instrument settings for the DTX 5000 CableAnalyzer sets plot data to
standard for displaying and saving plot data for frequency-based tests required by the selected
test limit. As a minimum, we recommend keeping it that way. Choosing extended will save data
beyond the frequency range required by the selected test limit.

25-10-2017 www.flukenetworks.com| 2006-2017 Fluke Corporation 7


Thank You!

25-10-2017 www.flukenetworks.com| 2006-2017 Fluke Corporation 8