Alien Crosstalk Testing

By: CableOrganizer®


Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can occur when internet wires and cables are bundled too closely together, resulting in “noise,” because signals from one cable impacts adjacent ones. This type of unwanted sound is known as “Alien Crosstalk,” or AXT, which can decrease network performance because of its effect on data transmission.

Why is alien crosstalk testing important? First, doing so can optimize the performance of your network. Once an analysis is performed and crosstalk is detected, a network administrator —whether an IT professional or DIYer — can troubleshoot and resolve the interfering issues. Secondly, implementing this testing is a way to comply with standards on crosstalk limits set by organizations like the Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Next, testing is done to detect faults, with the goal to isolate and mitigate AXT. Lastly, networks are tested to future-proof them from faults, because as networks become faster and more evolved, Alien Crosstalk issues may potentially return. Testing should be performed to ensure systems can manage network upgrades with maintained performance.

What is the easiest process to tackle Alien Crosstalk testing? It should be divided into two parts, first making sure the cables you have selected meet the performance requirements for transmission. Then, you need to establish the network is in fact compliant with Alien Crosstalk specifications. This includes round one of testing of each link in the network from both ends. This ensures each component is properly installed and cabling meets all standards of transmission for its category standards. Once each link is tested and found to have an acceptable level of signal transmission, then it’s time to determine if the network cabling meets AXT requirements. In order to perform testing, the installer should know how the bundled cable in the network is configured.

The standard for performing representative AXT evaluations is to test whichever is greater: either five links, or one percent of the installation’s total number of them. The easiest way to go about selecting these test links is to do so while results from the first phase of testing are still organized and available in a computer. The following are a few guidelines along which these “disturbed” or “victim” links are tested.

  • • Testing of disturbed links should be conducted from the floor distributor location’s patch panel.
  • • As cables get longer, the level of Alien Crosstalk requirements increases. As a result, the installation’s longest links should be chosen as the disturbed links to be tested.
  • • The Alien Crosstalk margin usually improves from 1.5 decibels (dB) to 2.5dB, with each corresponding 10-meter link-length reduction. This means it isn’t necessary to test shorter links with similar components and configurations, once the average AXT margin has reached 5dB.

The right testing device — one with good analysis and test result management software — is also crucial to successfully completing your network’s Alien Crosstalk certification. You can find the LANTEK® 10 Gigabit Alien Crosstalk Testing Kit at CableOrganizer®, which adds Alien Crosstalk testing to any LANTEK® 6A or 7G tester. It is a dual-handset model that can complete certification four times faster than similar testers. The testing kit can provide instant pass/fail results. It features two dual-port AXT adapters, 12 AXT terminators, shielded patch cords, a manual, firmware update, and PC reporting software. See accompanying brochures for this Alien Crosstalk Testing Kit here and here.

One way to reduce Alien Crosstalk is with the Platinum Tools® High Performance Category 5e Modular Plugs, which have a design that isolates conductors at termination, for greatly diminished crosstalk.

Efficient evaluation methods, partnered with versatile testing equipment, can help you accomplish ATX and other network certifications in the shortest amount of time possible. CableOrganizer® offers the help and resources needed to complete your network evaluation quickly, so you can be free to move on and tackle your next project!

Shop at CableOrganizer® for various types of network testers today.

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