Anatel Approval for Telecommunications Cables

[:p b] Article published in partnership with: Several types of cables used for the provision of telecommunications services must be approved before being authorized for commercialization and use in Brazil. In this article we will list which types of telecommunications cables should be homologated in Brazil and for which tests should be submitted.

Homologation Procedures for Telecommunications Equipment

As mentioned in the article How to obtain homologation of products by Anatel, any type of equipment used for telecommunications needs to be submitted to a homologation process managed by Anatel before being authorized for use and commercialization in the country. The homologation procedure involves multiple steps and includes laboratory tests to ensure functionality, endurance and safety for human use. In general terms, all types of equipment that transmit radio waves for signal communication need to be homologated, which is to be expected since these devices are capable of interfering with the electromagnetic spectrum of the Brazilian territory and it is Anatel's role to regulate which types of devices are authorized to transmit radio signals. However, some types of equipment used for wired communications also need to be approved, as they can be used to provide agency-regulated telecommunications services, such as the provision of fixed telephony services and broadband connections. Telecommunications cables fall into the second category of products that need to be homologated, and manufacturers and distributors of this type of equipment should be aware of the requirements established by Anatel to ensure that their products are marketed and used legally in Brazil.

Types of Telecommunications Cables Subject to Homologation

Anatel establishes that a wide variety of cables, from copper wires used for telephony to fiber optic cables used for high-speed internet connections, must be subject to homologation procedures. Among the types of cables specifically mentioned among the equipment subject to approval are:

  • Fiber optic cables (including compact, self-sustaining cables)
  • Coaxial cables (rigid, flexible and hybrid)
  • XDSL telephony and connection cables (including hybrid cables)
  • Data transmission cables of shielded or unshielded twisted pairs (from categories 3, 5e, 6 and 6A)
  • Manoeuvring cables with RJ-45 connectors
  • Internal and external telephone wires

It is important to note that these cables only require homologation in case they are specifically intended for use in telecommunications, considering that they can be applied for various purposes. In addition, other types of cables that are not mentioned in Anatel's approval application documents are not necessarily exempt from being tested and approved by the Agency. As in the case of technologies not categorized or developed recently, it is recommended to send the specifications and samples of these equipment so that Anatel and accredited agencies can ensure their compliance with national systems and legislation.

Testing Requirements

The laboratory testing phase, which is part of the homologation procedure, requires that cable parameters and specifications be evaluated to ensure its functionality, strength and safety of use. Below are some of the testing requirements established by Anatel for various types of telecommunications cables:

Fiber Optic Cables

In the case of fiber optic cables, most tests refer to ensuring the manufacturing quality of the fiber and its resistance to adverse conditions. Some of these tests include measuring:

  • Length of cutting wave for single-mode fibers
  • Modal field diameter for single-mode and multimode fibers
  • Multimode fiber core diameter
  • Hull diameter
  • No circularity of the bark
  • Concentricity between fiber core, coating, modal field and hull
  • Physical fiber coating resistance
  • Chromatic dispersion
  • Polarization mode dispersion
  • Thermal and chemical resistance

Physical endurance tests may have different requirements depending on the purpose of each fiber optic cable, which can be used in indoor, outdoor, pipeline, or exposed conditions. In general, the requirements for equipment intended for external installations are more stringent, as in the case of resistance tests for thermal cycles. For example, fiber optic cables developed for pipeline, terminal or underground installations should undergo four cycles in which their temperature is reduced to -20ºC for 48 hours and subsequently raised to 65ºC for 48 hours, during which the attenuation coefficient cannot vary significantly from what is measured at the temperature of 25ºC. Fiber optic cables used in indoor installations should undergo a similar test, but with lower temperature variations, in which thermal cycles vary between 10ºC and 40ºC. Other tests that verify the physical qualities of fiber optic cables include the evaluation of resistance to:

  • Traction
  • Compression
  • Impacts
  • 180º twist
  • Bending stress
  • Inflection
  • Vibrations
  • Moisture
  • Climate adversities
  • Flames
  • Induced oxidation
  • Coaxial cables

The category of coaxial cables, including rigid, flexible and semi-rigid cables, should also undergo laboratory testing to verify their functionality and manufacturing quality. The coating of these cables, for example, should be tested specifically for the measurement of their density and verification of tensile strength, elongation and low temperatures. Other tests of evaluation of strength and manufacturing quality include the measurement of:

  • Uniformity of curvature
  • Distance between internal and external conductor (specific for each type of cable)
  • Winding and folding resistance
  • Impedance
  • Signal loss
  • Corrosion resistance and induced oxidation
  • Thermal stability
  • XDSL Telephone Wires and Connection Cables

In the case of telephony cables, including those used for xDSL connections, some of the necessary tests include measuring:

  • Electrical resistance of the conductor Resistive imbalance
  • Capacitive imbalance between each pair and between a pair and the ground
  • Electrical resistance of insulation material
  • Resistance to high voltages, stretching, traction and climatic adversities
  • Signal attenuation per 100 meters

Metallic telephone wires, on the other hand, should be tested in items that include:

  • Maximum electrical resistance depending on its diameter and manufacturing material
  • Capacitive imbalance between each pair and a pair and the ground
  • Electrical resistance of insulation material
  • Signal attenuation per 1000 meters, based on cable diameter
  • Flame retardation
  • Resistance to elongation and traction
  • Twisted Pair Cables and Maneuvering Cables

Testing requirements for braided fiber cables of categories 3, 5e, 6 and 6A are mostly based on regulatory standards established by organizations such as the American National Standards Institute and the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards. Some of the parameters evaluated in these tests include:

  • Wire mapping
  • Loss of return signal
  • Cross-interference between each pair
  • Conductor diameter
  • Tensile strength and elongation
  • Folding radius
  • Electrical resistance and resistance imbalance
  • Signal attenuation at different temperatures
  • Transmission delay
  • Absorption of ultraviolet radiation

Maneuvering cables with RJ-45 connectors should be subjected to similar tests, which are related to wire mapping, cross-interference, loss of return signal and resistance to mechanical stresses. [:]