Data Center Cabling Solutions

Cable Standards in the Data Center

cable standards - data center cabling With data throughput demands constantly increasing, and loss budgets continually dropping, it's important to understand the standards when designing data center cabling infrastructures.

Equally important is an understanding of the standards bodies themselves. In today’s world, these are the prominent organizations governing data center design strategies: 

  • Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) with its TIA-942 standard
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) with its standard regulating 40/100gb Ethernet in the 802.3ba
  • The Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) with its very current and in-depth standards for design and cabling best practices

Cable Standards Organizations for Data Center Cabling

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

TIA stands for Telecommunications Industry Association. The TIA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The TIA’s role is very important to professionals in the cabling industry because its standards allow guidance and inter-operability for many organizations.

The TIA standards cover telecom, broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite, unified communications, emergency communications and the greening of technology.

The TIA’s roots can be traced back to 1924 when telephone manufacturers organized a trade show. The group has gone through several transformations with the drastic changes in technology that we have seen in the past several decades.

Learn more about the TIA standards at their website here.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

IEEE stands for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The IEEE plays a major role in advancing technologies. As you can imagine, this encompasses a very wide range of technologies and topics. Cabling and media types are the base platform of many of these technologies, much like the recent IEEE 802.3ba standard for 40/100 gigabit Ethernet.

The IEEE started in 1884 when electricity was in its early stages of use, mainly with the advent of the telegraph. As you are well aware, electricity and electrical components are fully ingrained in almost every aspect of modern day living. 

Learn more about the IEEE standards at their website here.

Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI)

BICSI stands for Building Industry Consulting Service International. BICSI provides information, education and knowledge for individuals and companies in the ITS (Information Technology Systems) industry.

BICSI originated from a small group of individuals from various phone companies that met yearly to problem solve pertinent issues. In 1977 BICSI was officially incorporated and has been growing in strength and recognition ever since.

BICSI has grown considerably in strength and clout in the industry, largely based on accessible trade shows and training opportunities.  

Learn more about the BICSI standards at their website here.


Thirty years ago, when large mainframe computers roamed data centers with plenty of floor space and relatively few ports, the person responsible for the cabling had very few options and very little guidance. These were the pioneers that laid bus and tag cabling underneath the raised floor that we may see to this very day. 

Since then, port counts and computing needs have skyrocketed. What was once viewed as somewhat a hobby is now “the plumbing” of the data center. Cabling is that plumbing. And until recently, there have been very few standards for professionals to follow when building, adding and/or maintaining their data center cabling.

Now that you understand today's standards a little better, check out some resources below to help you with your next data center cabling design.

Cable Standards Organization Links

Cable Standards Blog Post

What is TIA-942?