BRCA Bytes September 2018

CEO’s Bulletin
Standards, standards, standardsThis issue of BRCA Bytes is dominated by news about the imminent release of a number of important standards into Australia that have an immediate impact on all registered cablers.So it’s most important that you read through the articles below to find out what’s about to happen in the industry.

We’ll also show you how to preview some of the standards before their release and how you can make comments on them for the standards committee to take on board before their publication.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of standards in our industry and adherence to them. In addition to ensuring ICT networks are designed and delivered correctly, they’re also critically important to protecting ourselves commercially in the event of a dispute, insurance claim or legal matter. Adherence to standards is important in establishing a “defendable position” in your business, so it’s important you know them well and how to apply them in your jobs.

If you have any questions about these and other ICT standards, feel free to call the BICSI office for assistance. Many of you contact the BICSI office with technical inquiries that we have been able to promptly address. And if we don’t know the answer, chances are we know the people who do.

Paul Stathis
BICSI South Pacific and BRCA


Important update on Australian cabling regulations

The revision of Australia’s two primary mandatory cabling standards – AS/CA S008 ‘Requirements for customer cabling product and AS/CA S009 ‘Installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring Rules) – is almost complete; and are anticipated to be formally released later this year. There are major changes to both documents that warrant the industry’s attention and this memo serves to draw your attention to the most significant changes before their official release, while giving you an opportunity to review and comment on the draft documents before they are regulated.

BICSI is a member of the Communications Alliance WC80 working committee that is responsible for the revision of the standards, and has actively participated in updating both of them. So we can now provide you with this pre-release information.

It’s most important that you know these standards well, because both standards will become regulations, so it’s a legal requirement to comply with them.

The draft standards are currently with the Communications Alliance project team in final preparation for the Public Comment phase, which is expected to start around mid-September and remain open for two months. We will notify you when it is released, and give you instructions on how to download it and submit comments on it.

The most significant change to both standards relates to the introduction of new energy source classifications of ES1, ES2 and ES3 which was brought about by the introduction of AS/NZS 62368.1 ‘Audio/video information and communication technology equipment -Part 1 Safety requirements’.
Put simply:

  • ES1 is deemed to be safe;
  • ES2 is deemed to be safe with basic safeguards; but
  • ES3 has no current limit and no voltage limit and requires basic and supplemental safeguards to protect ordinary persons.

This is significant because LV telecommunication cabling would fall under the ‘ES3 Cabling’ classification, and introduces safety issues for a range of cabling situations that many cablers would encounter.

Both standards also needed to address remote powering situations such as Power Over Ethernet (PoE), with activation of multiple ES2 services within cable bundles and/or high pair-count cables potentially causing heat-rise exceeding the operational temperature of the cabling. To address this issue, the standards are looking at minimum conductor sizing as part of a risk-mitigation strategy.

The adoption of the new energy source and associated heat-rise issue will see substantial changes to the current version of AS/CA S009 and, to a lesser degree AS/CA S008.

‘Fitness-for-purpose’ clauses were strengthened to include requirements for AS/CA S008.

Notwithstanding the changes brought about by remote powering and the introduction of ES1, ES2 and ES3 energy classification, other changes have been addressed that would be expected as part of a normal revision process.

Remember, once these new standards are ratified, referring to their old editions would be erroneous, unprofessional and, in some cases illegal.
What you need to do now

1.     BICSI will notify you when the two draft standards are released for public comment, and how to download a copy to review and how to submit your comments on it.

2.     To help you better understand the content and application of these standards, BICSI has arranged for series of one-day training courses delivered by the Chair of the WC80 committee – Murray Teale – in Q4 2018 and Q1 2019. Murray will discuss all of the important changes and the rationale behind them, so you can immediately apply them to your projects. Since Murray’s availability to deliver this training is limited, we are currently calling for expressions of interest in where and when to hold these courses, based on industry demand. If you’re interested in attending this course, go to for the details and to register your interest. Alternatively, you can contact Harriette Lane at BICSI on E: or Ph: 03 9583 3445.


Important Australian New Zealand Cabling Standards Update

The long-anticipated revision of our primary cabling standard – AS/NZS 3080 – is about to be released, bringing with it significant changes to the way we provide ICT infrastructure. The new standard will be known as AS/NZS 11801 and will be presented in six separate volumes, each addressing specific environments. In addition to this landmark release, a number of other related ICT infrastructure standards are also poised for release in Australia.

AS/NZS 11801.1 to replace AS/NZS 3080
At its recent quarterly meeting on 16 August 2018, the CT-001 Australian New Zealand Standards committee passed the revised draft standard of the first volume – AS/NZS 11801.1 ‘Information Technology – Generic Cabling for Customer Premises’ – to Standards Australia publication services in preparation for public comment. Upon completion of the Standards Australia publication process, the draft standard will return to CT-001 for approval for the public comment phase of the project to commence.

It is expected that AS/NZS 11801.1 will be released for public comment in approximately three weeks and public comments finishing nine weeks after that. Thereafter, AS/NZS 11801.1 series is to replace AS/NZS 3080 within Australia and New Zealand. The additional volumes – 11801.2, 11801.3, 11801.4, 11801.4 and 11801.6 – will be adopted in Australia as modified text adoptions of ISO/IEC 11801.x series and will be referred to as AS 11801.x (2-6) (ie will not be tied to New Zealand standards.

Along with the changes to the minimum performance requirements and the introduction of new requirements for distributed building services within the ISO/IEC 11801.x series, additional standards and technical specifications are being adopted in conjunction with the adoption of ISO/IEC 11801 to address in part, new power delivery applications including the new PoE.

Other major standards revisions
ISO/IEC TS 29125 technical specification ‘Information Technology – Telecommunication Cabling Requirements for Remote Powering of Terminal Equipment’ will be adopted as part of the adoption of the ISO/IEC 11801.x series within Australia and will address issues relating to heat rise in cable bundles. It should be noted that this technical specification was based on a limit of 500 mA per conductor, which may not effectively address ES3 energy sources classification contained within the newly published AS/NZS 62368.1 ‘Audio/video, Information and Communication Technology Equipment Part 1: Safety Requirements’.

AS/NZS ISO/IEC 14763-2 ‘Information Technology – Implementation and Operation of Customer Premises Cabling’ will also be updated in line with the international standard at the completion of the work internationally.

The adoption of ISO/IEC 30129 ‘Information Technology – Telecommunications Bonding Networks for Buildings and Other Structures’ is also currently at commenting and balloting stage, which closes 29 August 2018.

What you need to do now
It is vitally important that you know these standards intimately well, as these are fundamental revisions of the current standards that you apply in your designs, specifications and tender submissions. Once the new standards are ratified, referring to the old editions of the standards would be erroneous and unprofessional.

1.     BICSI will notify you as each draft standard is released for public comment by Standards Australia and how to download a copy to review and how to submit your comments on it.

2.     To help you better understand the content and application of these standards, BICSI has arranged for series of one-day training courses delivered by the Chair of the WC80 committee – Murray Teale – in Q4 2018 and Q1 2019. Murray will discuss all of the important changes and the rationale behind them, so you can immediately apply them to your projects. Since Murray’s availability to deliver this training is limited, we are currently calling for expressions of interest in where and when to hold these courses, based on industry demand. If you’re interested in attending this course, go to for the details and to register your interest. Alternatively, you can contact Harriette Lane at BICSI on E: or Ph: 03 9583 3445.


Registered cablers working on carrier networks including lead-in cables

Expanding on an earlier BRCA Bytes article on Authority to Alter NBN lead-in cabling, BICSI has consulted the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) for further clarification on this issue.

The ACMA pointed out that only employees of a carrier, or a contractor working on behalf of a carrier, may legally install/maintain/repair a carrier’s network infrastructure.

Holding a cabling registration does not entitle a person to undertake any work on a carrier’s network infrastructure.  A registered cabler may only undertake such work if they have written permission from the carrier authorising them to do so.

The ACMA’s mandated standard – AS/CA S009:2013Installation requirements for Customer Cabling (Wiring rules), which apply to a registered cabler, has the following to say on interfering with a carriers network:
5.13 Tampering or interference with a carrier facility
A carrier’s lead-in cabling or network boundary facilities shall not be moved, removed or altered without the prior written authorisation of the carrier.

Note: If a carrier publishes a document authorising cabling providers to alter its facilities, for the purpose of this clause such a document will be taken to be the prior written authorisation of the carrier as long
as any terms and conditions set out in the document are adhered to by the cabling provider.
The ACMA further advised that Registered cablers are permitted to undertake some alterations to Telstra’s network infrastructure as detailed in the following Telstra document – this document constitutes Telstra’s “prior written authorisation” however, it only applies to Telstra’s network.

Similarly, registered cablers are permitted to undertake some alterations to the NBN’s network infrastructure as detailed in the following nbn document – this document constitutes NBN’s “prior written authorisation” however, it only applies to NBN’s network.


Become an nbn
TM trained supplier and help fast-track nbn™ New Developments applications nbn is set to launch a new training program to upskill designers and installers in nbn specific Multi Technology Mix standards and guidelines, in a move that will help developers deliver nbnTM ready projects earlier by helping to fast-track the certification process and allowing works to commence sooner.The New Developments training program is designed to ensure that new development designs and installations are built correctly the first time – helping to minimise project delays.

Currently, approximately 50 per cent of submitted nbn™ access network designs across Australia require more than one corrective action – whether it’s for pit and pipe or pathway design. The nbn™ New Developments training program will further educate designers and installers in an effort to minimise the need for any corrections, while aiming to ensure they are delivering consistently high-quality work for every new project.

General Manager, Demand Deployment at nbn, Naomi Read says “there are many veteran and highly skilled practitioners working in the industry today, but over the years training and specifications have changed, so we need to evolve our training programs to meet these new requirements . It’s important that those working in the industry not only have the most up-to date skills possible, but are ready for the future”.

With the implementation of the New Developments training program, developers will be able to access faster design approvals and certification (a Practical Completion Certificate – or PPC) of works, as well as not being charged by nbn for design reviews or required pit and pipe inspections – all benefits that we expect will be in full-effect in 2019.

Developers will have access to a dedicated list of nbn™ trained suppliers, where they can select suppliers based on their completion of the relevant training to help ensure their project isn’t faced with setbacks due to the design and installation of nbn™ access network infrastructure.

The three modules of the training cover every aspect of pit and pipe design and installation: pit and pipe design, Multi-Dwelling Units (MDU) pathway design and pit and pipe installation.

* Self-certification and sample design review benefits are intended to come into effect as of December 2018.

For more information please visit
To find out if the training is right for you, contact


Halt and catch fire: The perils of cheap PoE

The BICSI Registered Cablers office was recently made aware of a thought-provoking article about the very real dangers of Power over Ethernet (PoE), so we approached the article’s author – Lee Teschler from Power Electronic Tips magazine in the US – to obtain permission to share it with BICSI Registered Cablers. We’re sure you’ll find it a compelling read.

Dave Jeskey tells an interesting story about what happened when an LED lighting company operated a few of its products in a test chamber. The RJ45 plugs, used for making a connection to a PoE cable, melted. The RJ45 plugs came from Sentinel Connector Systems where Jeskey is director of sales and marketing. When Sentinel tore down and examined the damaged units, the problem became obvious: Cheaply built RJ45 jacks into which Sentinel’s plugs fit.

“There were transformers built into the jacks that had been badly hand-wound rather than machine-wound. They had also substituted a cheaper ferrite core that was slightly conductive,” says Jeskey. The melting of the RJ45 plug (which had been designed to melt at 250⁰C, more than melting point of tin) had probably prevented the poorly made jack from causing a fire, he says. It let the conductors pull away and disconnect before the heat from bad connections caused more damage.

The near catastrophic failure of that RJ45 jack is a microcosm of the problems that will soon plague PoE installations. New specifications let PoE lines deliver up to 100 W using plugs, jacks and cabling that are similar to those for ordinary Ethernet. But small imperfections and corner-cutting on costs can make for big problems when that much power passes through the relatively small conductors of Ethernet connections.

“Corner-cutting on PoE gear is particularly wide-spread among foreign suppliers,” Jeskey adds. “One of the easiest places to cut corners is with gold plating. The plating on a contact is supposed to be 50 µin. of 24-karat gold over a minimum of 50 µin. of pure nickel. We’ve studied over 70,000 part numbers and 94% of them failed to meet those minimum standards. I’ve seen parts using as little as 1.5 µin. of gold and even parts with a statement in the specification saying: ‘gold-colour-only’.”

It isn’t just scrimping on gold that is problematic. “RJ45 conductors have a surface smoothness specification. The proper way to realize it is to first electro-polish the contacts, coat them with nickel, and then add the gold. Some foreign suppliers will just wire-brush the surface to make it smooth. The brushing creates ridges and valleys which make the connection less reliable,” says Jeskey.

Other problems arise because PoE connections are hot-pluggable. Small sparks form when the plug disconnects from the jack. The sparks may cause problems even in well-designed connections, he says. Cheap connections are even worse. “Jack contacts are supposed to be phosphor-bronze but some suppliers cheat with brass and other cheaper metals,” he adds. “When you create a spark, it alters the crystalline structure of the contact and eventually makes it brittle. Some equipment makers claim that spark isn’t a problem because it happens away from the data transmission lines. But a spark alters the whole contact, not just the area where it occurs.”

And it isn’t just PoE connections that are problematic. Ethernet cables can contain different wire sizes. “Some companies use 22-gauge wire, which is good if you have plugs and jacks able to handle it,” Jeskey says. “The best-selling cable contains 28-gauge wire. But some foreign suppliers are selling Ethernet cable with much thinner 30 and 32-gauge wire. That is dangerous.”