Anatel Homologation of Telecommunication Cables

Various types of cables intended for use in telecommunication services are required to be homologated in Brazil prior to their use and commercialization.

In this article we will list what sort of telecommunication cables are required to be homologated in Brazil and to which tests they are subjected to.

Homologation Procedures for Telecommunication Equipment

As mentioned in our article How to Obtain an Anatel Product Homologation, any sort of equipment intended for telecommunication purposes must be submitted to a homologation process handled by the Brazilian Telecommunications Agency, known as Anatel, prior to being authorized for use and commercialized in the country. The homologation procedure involves multiple steps and includes laboratory testing to ensure the equipment’s functionality, resilience and safety for human use.

Generally, all types of equipment that make use of radio waves to communicate signals are required to be homologated, which should be expected since these devices are capable of interfering electromagnetic spectrums in Brazilian territory and it is the role of Anatel to regulate which sorts of devices will be able to transmit radio signals in the country. However, some types of equipment that are used for wired communications are also required to be homologated, since they will take part in regulated telecommunication services, such as the offering of fixed telephone services and broadband connections.

Telecommunication cables fit into the second category of products required to be homologated, and manufacturers and distributors of this type of equipment should be aware of the requirements instituted by Anatel in order to ensure that their products are legally commercialised and used in the country.

Types of Telecommunication Cables Required to be Homologated

Anatel institutes that a wide range of cables, from copper telephone wires to fiber-optics cables used for high speed internet connections, must be submitted for homologation procedures. Among the types of cables specifically required to undergo homologation are:

  • Fiber optics cables (including compact and self-sustaining cables)
  • Coaxial cables (rigid, flexible and hybrid)
  • Telephone and xDSL cables (including hybrid ones)
  • Shielded and Unshielded twisted pair data transmission cables (categories 3, 5e, 6 and 6A)
  • Patch cords with RJ-45 connectors
  • Telephone wires for outdoor or indoor use

It should be noted that these cables, given the wide range of uses they can be applied to, are only required to be homologated if they are specifically intended for telecommunication purposes. Additionally, other types of cables that are not listed by Anatel’s homologation requirement documents are not necessarily exempt from being tested and approved by the agency. As is the case for uncategorized or new telecommunication technologies, it is recommended that specifications and samples of these types of equipment are sent for evaluation to Anatel and accredited organizations in order to assure their compliance to Brazilian standards and legislation.

Testing Requirements

The phase of laboratory testing, which is part of the homologation procedure, requires specific parameters and specifications of cables to be evaluated in order to assure their functionality, resilience and safety for human use. Below we have compiled a number of testing requirements instituted by Anatel for specific types of telecommunication cables:

Fiber Optics Cables

In the case of fiber optics cables, most of the testing requirements revolve around ensuring the fiber’s build quality and resilience to adverse conditions. Some of the build quality tests include the measurement of:

  • Cutoff wavelength for single mode fibers
  • Mode field diameter for single and multi-mode fibers
  • Diameter of fiber core for multi-mode fibers
  • Diameter of cladding
  • Uniformity of the fiber’s circumference
  • Concentricity between fiber, core, cladding, mode field and jacket
  • Physical resistance of the cable’s jacket
  • Chromatic dispersion
  • Modal bandwidth for multi-mode fibers
  • Polarization mode dispersion
  • Thermal and chemical resilience

The resilience tests can be different depending on the purposes of the fiber optics cables, such as the use in internal or external installation or in ducts or exposed conditions. In general terms, the requirements for cables used in external installations are more rigorous, such as in the case of thermal cycle resilience testing.

For example, fiber cables intended for certain types of installations such as in ducts, terminals, or underground are required to undergo four cycles in which their temperature is dropped to -20ºC for 48 hours and afterwards raised to 65ºC for 48 hours, during which the attenuation coefficient must not display a significant variation from what is measured at 25ºC. Fiber cables used in internal installations must be submitted to a similar test but with minor temperature variations, in which the thermal cycles range between 10ºC and 40ºC.

Other tests that determine the physical qualities of fiber optics cables include assessment of resilience to:

  • Traction
  • Compression
  • Impacts
  • 180º twists
  • Curvature tension
  • Flexion
  • Vibrations
  • Humidity
  • Weather hazards
  • Flames
  • Inducted oxidation

Coaxial Cables

Flexible, rigid and semi-rigid coaxial cables are also required to be submitted for tests to assure their functionality and build quality. The outer shell of these cables must be specifically tested for the measurement of density and the resilience to traction, stretching and low temperatures. Other tests to assure their resilience and build quality include the measurement of:

  • Curvature uniformity
  • Distance between internal and external conductor (specific to each type of cable)
  • Curvature and folding resistance
  • Impedance
  • Signal loss
  • Electrical resistance
  • Signal transmission speed and attenuation
  • Resistance to corrosion and inducted oxidation
  • Thermal stability

Telephone wires and xDSL Cables

In the case of telephone cables, which includes those used for xDSL connections, some of the testing requirements include the measurement of:

  • Conductor’s electrical resistance
  • Resistance imbalance
  • Capacitive imbalance between each pair and between a pair and the ground
  • Electrical resistance of insulation material
  • Resilience to high voltage, stretching, traction, weather hazards
  • Signal attenuation per 100 meters

Metallic telephone wires, on the other hand, are required to be tested regarding:

  • Maximum electrical resistance depending on its diameter and material
  • Capacitive imbalance between each pair and between a pair and ground
  • Electrical resistance of insulation material
  • Signal attenuation per kilometer, based on cable diameter
  • Flame retardation
  • Resilience to stretching and traction

Twisted Pair Cables and Patch Cords

Testing requirements for twisted pair cables of categories 3, 5e, 6 and 6A are mostly based on regulatory standards set by organizations like the American National Standards Institute and the Brazilian Technical Standards Association, known as ABNT. Some of the parameters assessed for these tests include:

  • Wire mapping
  • Signal return loss
  • Near end and far end crosstalk
  • Diameter of conductor
  • Resilience to traction and stretching
  • Folding radius
  • Electrical resistance and imbalance
  • Signal attenuation at different temperatures
  • Transmission delay
  • Absorption of ultraviolet radiation

Patch cords with RJ-45 connectors are applied similar testing procedures, mostly related to wire mapping, near end crosstalk, loss of signal return and mechanical stress resistance.

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