TIA's healthcare cabling standard undergoing revision

Jan 1 2017

In 2010 the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) published the ANSI/TIA-1179 Healthcare Infrastructure Standard. The standard was the culmination of years of work within the TIA’s TR-42 Engineering Committee that began in 2004 when a study group was formed in an attempt to gain an understanding of the telecommunications and connectivity needs of healthcare environments. The study group’s findings prompted the formation of a task group, whose responsibility was to define those needs in the form of a standard.

The ultimate product-ANSI/TIA-1179-is based on the ANSI/TIA-568 series of standards, which specify generic telecommunications cabling for customer premises. That is to say, the 1179 standard does not rehash or deviate from the fundamentals spelled out in 568, but rather, 1179 builds upon them with requirements and recommendations specific to healthcare environments. A notable difference between the 1179 and 568 standards is that within TIA-1179, the size of the telecommunications room is increased to a 130-square-foot minimum, to allow for as much as 100-percent growth. Also, the 1179 standard takes an entirely different approach to work-area cabling and in particular the volume of connections needed within a work area. In a commercial office building, a work area may be a desk, conference room, or other shared-use space. In a healthcare facility, a work area may be anything from a waiting room to a nurses’ station or a patient room. Accordingly, the 1179 standard specifies low, medium, and high densities for work-area outlet volume and includes examples of the types of spaces to which each density may apply. TIA-1179 recommends 2 to 6 work area outlets (WAOs) for low-density areas, 6 to 14 WAOs for medium-density areas, and more than 14 WAOs for high-density areas. The standard also recognizes certain twisted-pair copper, multimode fiber, and singlemode fiber media types for use in backbone and horizontal cabling circuits, as well as recommending specific performance levels.

Per ANSI (American National Standards Institute) procedures, in 2015-five years after publication of TIA-1179-work began on a revision to the standard, which will be published as ANSI/TIA-1179-A. During an online seminar hosted by Cabling Installation & Maintenance and originally broadcast on November 10, Henry Franc-national solutions specialist with Belden and chair of the TIA’s TR-42.1 subcommittee that is revising the standard-delivered a presentation updating the status of the revision project.

Within that presentation Franc explained that the revised standard is currently in a fourth draft. Like the original, TIA-1179-A will be based on the TIA’s 568 standard set. Because the 568 standard set has been updated since the original publication of 1179, the 1179-A standard will be based on the most-recent iteration, which is ANSI/TIA-568.1-D. Additionally, the “A” revision will include references to other TIA documents, including the following.

ANSI/TIA-862-B Structured Cabling Infrastructure Standard for Intelligent Building Systems
ANSI/TIA-5017 Telecommunications Physical Network Security Standard
ANSI/TIA-606-B Administration Standard for Telecommunications Infrastructure
ANSI/TIA-607-C Generic Telecommunications Bonding and Grounding (Earthing) for Customer Premises
ANSI/TIA-942-A Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers
ANSI/TIA-1005-A Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Industrial Premises
Telecommunications Systems Bulletin TSB-162-A Telecommunications Cabling Guidelines for Wireless Access Points
Telecommunications Systems Bulletin TSB-5018 Structured Cabling Infrastructure Guidelines To Support Distributed Antenna Systems

Franc further noted that, as of its current draft, the 1179-A standard includes multiple-user telecommunications outlet assemblies (MUTOAs) and consolidation points as design elements for structured cabling systems in healthcare environments. The standard includes additional requirements for systems such as wireless access points, distributed antenna systems, security systems, intelligent building systems and others. When speaking about intelligent building systems, he pointed out that systems such as nurse-call and wayfinding fall within this framework.

Additionally, Draft 4 of the standard permits array (MPO-style) fiber connectors in the work area and it requires a minimum of two fibers in backbone and horizontal links.

The committee drafting the revision has not come to consensus on recommendations for media performance levels.

We will continue to follow the development of the ANSI/TIA-1179-A standard and will report regularly on its progress. The web seminar in which Henry Franc provided the information contained in this article also included presentations on TIA standards projects TSB-184-A Guidelines for Supporting Power Delivery over Twisted-Pair Cabling and TSB-5021 Twisted-Pair Cabling for 2.5 and 5GBase-T. It will be available for on-demand viewing through April 9 at cablinginstall.com/webcasts.