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Certification vs. Qualification A Closer Look

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Used primarily by commercial contactors and network technicians, certification testing determines if a link is compliant with a specific category or Class of cable as determined by well-defined parameters outlined in ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 or ISO/IEC standard 11801 (ed. 2). For instance, certification testing will determine if your link is compliant with Category 6 or Class EA standards. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Certification vs. Qualification A Closer Look


1
Certification vs. Qualification A Closer
Look Author Mark Mullins
www.flukenetworks.com 2006-2017 Fluke
Corporation
2
Certification vs. Qualification A Closer Look
certify \'s?r-t?-?fi\ verb 1 to attest
authoritatively  2 to officially recognize
someone or something as possessing certain
qualifications or meeting certain
standards qualify \'kwä-l?-?fi\ verb 1 to have
the necessary skill or knowledge to do a
particular job or activity  2 to have the
qualifications to do something
Since the dawn of cable plant testing and TIA and
ISO cabling standards, there has been confusion
in the industry surrounding the difference
between certification and qualification testing.
While just taking a look at the Merriam-Webster
definition for certify and qualify may sum it
up for some, lets take a closer look at the
difference between these two testing methods.
3
Certification vs. Qualification A Closer Look
CertificationThe Most Rigorous of All Testing
Used primarily by commercial contactors and
network technicians, certification testing
determines if a link is compliant with a specific
category or Class of cable as determined by
well-defined parameters outlined in
ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 or ISO/IEC standard 11801 (ed.
2). For instance, certification testing will
determine if your link is compliant with Category
6 or Class EA standards. To certify a link to
a standard, a certification tester must test for
all of the specific parameters required by the
standards. For copper, this includes parameters
that go well beyond basic length, continuity and
wiremap testing. Were talking about parameters
like insertion loss, return loss, near-end
crosstalk (NEXT), power sum NEXT, equal-level
far-end crosstalk (ELFEXT), attenuation-to-crossta
lk ration (ACR) and more. For fiber, it means
testing for things like continuity, polarity,
length and insertion loss (Tier 1) or
backscatter, reflectance, optical return loss
(Tier 2).
4
Certification vs. Qualification A Closer Look
CertificationThe Most Rigorous of All
Testing While we wont go into detail on all
of these parameters, the key takeaway here is to
understand that certification testing results in
either a Pass or Fail in accordance with TIA
and ISO standards. Certification testing also
requires that the test data for each link is
collected, stored and available for future
inspection.
5
Certification vs. Qualification A Closer Look
QualificationSimply Determining Application
Support Just as the Merriam-Webster definition
implies, qualification testing is determining
whether the cabling has the qualifications to do
somethingin other words, support a certain
network speed or application. While a Pass on
certification testing also ultimately indicates
the ability to support a network speed or
application per the standards, qualification
testing does NOT officially recognize that a
cabling link is standards compliant. Qualificati
on testing might be used to determine if a link
can support 1000BASE-T, 10GBASE-T, VoIP, PoE or
other applications. Rather than testing to
specific performance parameters, this method of
testing essentially simulates the applications to
determine if the cable works properly, looking at
attributes like bit error rates.
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Certification vs. Qualification A Closer Look
Which One Do I Use? If you need to prove that
copper and/or fiber cabling meets TIA and ISO
standards, which is almost always required to
attain the support and security of a
manufacturers warranty, certification testing is
your only option. When troubleshooting,
certification testing is also the only way to
demonstrate unequivocally that a link is failing
the performance requirements of the
standards. Keep in mind that certification
testers must also meet TIA/ISO Level III or
higher accuracy requirements. In other words, to
certify to the standards, the tester itself must
also be standards compliant. Meeting accuracy
Level IV and draft accuracy Level V, Fluke
Networks DSX-5000 CableAnalyzer is the ideal tool
for certifying copper and fiber cabling in
accordance with TIA and ISO/IEC
standards. The overall quality and
maintaining proper physical geometry of the cable
is also critical to maintaining balance. When a
poor-quality cable exhibits variations in the
diameter, concentricity (roundness), contour and
smoothness of the copper conductors, there is a
higher risk for unbalance.
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Certification vs. Qualification A Closer Look
Depending on the situation, sometimes
certification testing is overkill. For example,
if the cabling has already been installed and
certified and you need to determine if it will
support 10GBASE-T, qualification testing is
likely the right choice. Qualification testing is
also ideal for simple troubleshooting like
distance to a break or wiremap, when setting up
temporary networks or following small moves, adds
and changes. If qualification is all you need,
a great cost-effective everyday qualification
tester is the Fluke Networks CableIQ. It
qualifies existing cabling to determine if it has
the bandwidth to support your applications, while
also offering powerful troubleshooting
capabilities.
8
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