BT has warned users moving to Category 6 structured cabling that they face huge hidden costs and will likely have to rip out and replace their entire infrastructure - or be faced with system lockdown.
"Customers are likely to encounter real compatibility problems if they attempt to use both Cat 6 and Cat 5 equipment," said Peter Crouch, product marketing manager for BT cabling services.
"For example, connecting a Cat 6 socket (or plug) with a Cat 5 plug (or socket) may well produce sub Cat 5 performance; this could result in systems, which had previously worked, suddenly failing," he added.
Helen Bunting, business development manager of cabling vendor Lucent, said that such fears are baseless if end users adopt Lucent's Gigaspeed solution. She said Lucent had a 13,500 outlet Cat 6 installation on a high street bank campus which used existing patch cords, without having any problems.
In Lucent's view the lack of an international ratified standard or applications that require Cat 6 cabling should not hold users back.
Bunting said: "Cabling always has to lead ahead of networking or else why would vendors develop products for no installed base?"
Crouch was unrepentant: "Organisations investing in a Cat 6 system will probably have to stretch the investment to include everything as new."
For more stories see 3 February issue of 'Network News'
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