Telecom grounding and bonding ensures reliable network operation and safety, but unfortunately confusion surrounding grounding and bonding procedures has caused some to improperly implement them and others to avoid them completely.
In an effort to provide updated information and more detail, the TR-42.3.1 Working Group on Premises Telecommunications Bonding and Grounding is rewriting the ANSI/J-STD-607-A-2002 Commercial Building Grounding (Earthing) and Bonding Requirements for Telecommunications, which will ultimately become TIA-607-B.
Rich Jones, CPI's Director of Global Standards, is Vice Chair of the Working Group and explains some of the highlights.
1. What are the key issues/concerns with the current 607-A standard and what prompted the rewrite?
Originally written in 1994 ANSI/EIA/TIA 607 was the first U.S. standard to address telecommunications bonding and grounding for commercial buildings. TIA reviews most standards every five years. At that time standards are reaffirmed, rescinded, or revised according to the submitted updates. The current version J-STD-607-A was published in October 2002, the “J” stands for “joint” because it was jointly developed by TIA TR-41.7.2 and T1E1 DC Power (T1E1.5) and Electrical Protection (T1E1.7) Working Groups. It added greater grounding bus bar detail, tower and antenna grounding and bonding recommendations, work area and personal operator-type equipment position bonding and grounding recommendations and revised harmonized terminology. The main issue in what will be called TIA-607-B will be addressing bonding from the equipment to the TMGB. We are currently soliciting additional recommendations for topics to be included in the update.
2. What is the current status of 607-B, and when do we expect to see the new standard approved?
The project has been approved at the September 2007 by TIA, establishing the TR-42.3.1 Working Group to develop and maintain standards for premises telecommunications bonding and grounding under the TR-42.3 Pathways and Spaces sub-committee. The following scope has been approved for TIA-607-B: This Standard specifies the requirements for a telecommunications bonding and grounding infrastructure, and its interconnection to other systems, where telecommunications equipment will be installed. This Standard may also be used as a guide for the renovation or retrofit of existing systems. As we are in the beginning development phases, it is too early to tell when this will be approved. We would like to see greater participation from equipment manufacturers and end users.
3. What are the most significant changes/additions we can expect to see in the 607-B standard, and what was the driving force behind each of those key changes/additions?
A number of specialized high bandwidth telecommunications applications have emerged requiring high performance bonding and grounding systems. Some of those applications under consideration are:
- Towers and antennas
- Data Center
4. There has long been confusion surrounding bonding of shielded cabling systems. Is this an area that will be better explained and incorporated into 607-B?
Yes, the working group is planning to clear up much of the confusion surrounding bonding of the new shielded and screened cabling systems. In the interim, contact cabling and connectivity manufacturers for their recommendations.
Additionally, there is a groundswell from the industry asking for guidance and clarification for high performance copper cabling systems. Even bonding and grounding “experts” have differing opinions on what constitutes a properly implemented bonding and grounding system. Issues such as wire gauge sizing, use of building steel, performance vs. safety systems, multi-point vs. single-point, etc. are subjects of intense debate. In addition to TIA’s efforts BICSI/NECA 607 Bonding and Grounding Installation Practices is currently going through the balloting process and should be published in early 2008. Readers may also want to consult IEEE 1100 and the NEC.
For additional information please read Betsy Ziobron’s article located on Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine’s Website.