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A tutorial looking at Power Separation Guidelines, and the issues when

separating power and data cabling. As well as looking at what distance between
power and data should be adhered to, we look at the effects of Electromagnetic
Interference (EMI).
This document details the requirements with regard to installing the Commscope

(formerly Avaya) SYSTIMAX Structured Cabling Systems (SCS) in the

vacinity of power circuits normally associated with Customer Premises. These
guidelines should be followed in order to ensure compliance to the requirements
of the SYSTIMAXTM Application Assurance Programme. Much of this information
has been sourced from Commscope and relevant industry standards documents.

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Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC)

Radio Interference has been known about since the 19th century, however it
wasn't until radio and television began to be widely used in the 1930s that
organisations such as the GPO in the UK were tasked with arbitrating between
the frequencies allowed to be used for transmissions. This arbitration role has
become more complex as Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) has become
more prevalent with the growth in car ignition systems, Citizen's Band radio and
faster computer processor clock speeds.
EMC requires the consideration of the following:
Electric Field strength - E-field
Magnetic Field strength - H-field
Effectiveness of the receiver's shielding
Frequency range of the transmitter and the receiver
In the UK and Europe, regulatory frameworks have been established:
Wireless Telegraphy Act (2006) originally conceived within the UK in
Verband Deutscher Elektrotechniker (VDE) - the Association for
Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies The first electro-technical
standard (VDE 0100) was passed in Germany in 1895

Decco Solenoids, U.S.
made, AC and DC,
laminated, tubular,

Comit Europen de Normalisation Electrotechnique (CENELEC)

EEC Directive 89/336/EEC is Statutory Instrument 992 No 2372 - The
Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations. This directive was implemented
in the UK with effect from the 1st Jan 96. It has two components;
Protection and Interference - properly installed equipment should not
suffer from or cause electrical interference. There are no measurement
limits, the compliant equipment is able to carry the CE mark.

EMC Protection
EMC protection requirements are:
The electronic disturbance generated must not exceed a level that
prevents radio and telecommunications equipment and other relevant
apparatus to operate as intended.
There must be a level of intrinsic immunity which enables it to operate as
intended when it is properly installed and maintained and used for the
purpose intended. This means a reasonable level of performance is
expected to be maintained and a measure of expected degradation
declared. The immunity measures put in place must not cause the item to
be dangerous.
Well known EMC standards are listed below:
TC247/WG3 - Building management products for HVAC
BS EN 61000-4 - Basic standard covering immunity test methods
BS EN 50082-1 - Generic immunity standard for residential, commercial
and light industrial environment
BS EN 50082-2 - Generic immunity standard for industrial environment
BS EN 60801 - Immunity of process control equipment
BS EN 55101 - Immunity of Information Technology equipment
BS EN 55104 - Immunity of household and other similar equipment
BS EN 50081-1 - Generic emission standard for residential, commercial
and light industrial environment
BS EN 50081-2 - Generic emission standard for industrial environment
BS EN 55014 - Radio frequency emissions from household and other
similar electrical appliances
BS EN 55011 - Radio frequency emissions from industrial, scientific and
medical equipment
BS EN 55015 - Radio frequency emissions from fluorescent lamps
BS EN 55022 - Radio frequency emissions from IT equipment
BS EN 60555 - LF emissions onto supply systems (household)

BS EN 60439-1 - Low voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies

There some exclusions, some because the devices are covered by other
directives. These are listed below:
Export to country outside EEC - general exclusion
Excluded installations - general exclusion
Spare parts - general exclusion
Supply to authorised representative - general exclusion
Second hand apparatus - general exclusion
Benign apparatus - general exclusion
In sealed electromagnetic environment - specific exclusion
Radio amateur apparatus - specific exclusion
Military equipment - specific exclusion
Implantable medical devices (90/385/EEC)
Medical devices (93/42/EEC)
Electrical energy meters (76/89/EEC)
Spark ignition engines (72/245/EEC)
Spark ignition of tractors (82/890/EEC)
Non-automatic weighing machines (90/384/EEC)
Telecommunications terminal equipment (91/263/EEC)

EMC Interference
Typical Low frequency interference sources are as follows:
Intermittent Magnetic fields - radiated
Continuous Magnetic fields - radiated
Electric fields - radiated
DC in AC networks - conducted
DC ground circuits - conducted
Slow variations of supply voltages - conducted
Power frequency variations - conducted
Harmonics - conducted
Signalling voltages - conducted
Voltage unbalance - conducted
Voltage fluctuations - conducted
Induced low-frequency voltages - conducted
Typical High frequency interference sources are as follows:
Electric fields - radiated
Magnetic fields - radiated
Electromagnetic fields - radiated
Induced continuous wave voltage or current - conducted

Continuous waves - radiated

Transients - radiated
Oscillatory transients - conducted
Unidirectional transients - conducted

UTP and Power Cabling

Separation between SCS Structured Cabling and Power systems should be as
large as possible, but available space will always be a limiting factor. Especially
sensitive systems or systems that will emit Electromagnetic interference should
be identified and adequate provisions made in the design with the advice of the
system manufacturer. All cable systems should be easily identified as necessary
for ease of future modification and maintenance.
Network equipment, controllers and cabling needs to be located as far as
practicable from noisy electrical circuits which can include:
Air handling units
Variable speed motors
Switched loads
Display screens that are based on CRTs, need to be located 5m away from
sources of 50 Hz magnetic fields, such as transformers, busbars, and lift
equipment. This is because fields > 0.5T can cause displayed images to distort.
Steel is a good barrier for shielding against 50 Hz magnetic fields; 5mm thickness
will attenuate the field by a factor of 100 (40dB)
When you are in sensitive locations such as close to radars; airports, seaports or
close to broadcast transmitters, hospitals or heavy electrical plant - then it is
prudent to have an EMC survey carried out.
Power supplies within a building can suffer from its own EMC problems such as
conducted disturbances: RF noise, harmonics, transient over-voltages, dips,
surges, frequency variations, RMS fluctuations and interruptions. Good earthing
and lightning protection are essential to provide stable power within a building.
All copper type cables that are carrying AC electrical currents will have an
Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) surrounding the cable, this magnetic field is
susceptible to interference from other magnetic fields that are in close proximity.
The greater the current being carried then the greater the EMF produced, this
therefore will cause an induction effect upon adjacent cables which may well
result in induced noise/voltage transients etc. All cables are aerials, thus any
adjacent signal cables (data/voice) will very lightly suffer from data corruption in
data/Lan cables and line noise in voice circuits.
The criteria for the maximum induced longitudinal voltage into SCS UTP cabling
from one or more power cables is 50 mv (0.050V) under normal power cable
operating conditions. The induced voltage from more than one power cable is
added in phase.
High voltage system cables should be segregated from cables of other systems
and clearly identified for a general safety precaution, as well as for EMI reasons.

If a wide separation cannot be achieved some form of protection barrier may be

Applicable local and national safety regulations will have procedures whenever
the required distances are larger than the requirement for SYSTIMAX SCS. For
the UK & Ireland, the IEE Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) and Installation of
Apparatus Intended for Connection to Certain Telecommunication Systems (BS
6701) are two such documents to be referenced.

SYSTIMAX Guidelines
For SYSTIMAX installations of cable lengths of up to 90 metres, zero separation
distance is required for branch/radial or ring circuits that meet the following
Limited to 250 volts, 20 amperes, single phase, less than 5 KVA
Power cables and cords with Live, Neutral and Earth conductors contained
within a common sheath (that is, sheathed power cables).
Powering typical office equipment.
The main electrical services entrance is protected with surge arresters
(transient voltage surge suppressor) according to the applicable
local/national codes (for equipment safety).
If open (spaced) power conductors are used, a minimum separation of 50
mm is required.
Additionally, the following recommendations should be considered:
If compartment trunking is used, the barriers (metallic or non-metallic) are also
suitable for separating individual power conductors (live, neutral and earth
conductors) from SYSTIMAX high performance cables. These power conductors
must be maintained close together for minimising inductive coupling into the
SYSTIMAX cables.
The use of surge suppressors in branch circuits can further limit the
propagation of electrical surges. These must be installed according to the
applicable local/national codes (for equipment safety).
The use of fully enclosed metallic trunking or conduit will also limit inductive
coupling, but if properly grounded and bonded in accordance with the IEE
Wiring Regulations (BS7671).
For power Systems in excess of the above and less than 480 Volts, the minimum
separation distances between cable routes and power wiring are as shown in
Table A below :

Table A - Minimum Separation Distances



Greater Than

> 5kVa

Unshielded power lines or electrical equipment in proximity to

SYSTIMAX cables in open or non metal containment.
610mm(24") Unshielded power lines or electrical equipment in


proximity to SYSTIMAX cables in open or non metal

containment. 610mm(24") Unshielded power lines or electrical
equipment in proximity to SYSTIMAX cables in open or non
metal containment.
Unshielded power lines or electrical equipment in proximity to
SYSTIMAX cables in a grounded metal conduit or fully
enclosed trunking.


Power lines enclosed in a grounded metal conduit (or

equivalent shielding) in proximity to SYSTIMAX cables in open
or non metal containment.(i.e. SWA power cables contained
on traywork)


Power lines enclosed in a grounded metal conduit (or

equivalent shielding) in proximity to SYSTIMAX cables in a
grounded metal conduit or fully enclosed trunking.


Proper bonding and grounding of the metal conduit or fully enclosed trunking
should be in accordance with the IEE Wiring Regulations (BS 7671), which are
applicable to all electrical installations and are not unique to SYSTIMAX SCS.
Installations of Power Circuits are outside the SYSTIMAX SCS footprint and
consequently, the electrical suppliers or other appropriate qualified personnel are
responsible for proper grounding and bonding.
In addition, the following requirements shall also be met:
The building itself shall be suitably protected from direct lightning strikes
according to applicable local/national codes.
For fluorescent light fixtures and associated power cables, the separation
distance is 127 mm.

Additional Information
For high voltage 3 phase 415v SWA @ 100 to 400A per phase the minimum
recommended separation should be 1 metre providing the cables were enclosed
within a steel conduit/trunking along the length of parallel exposure. In event of a
riser situation then SCS cabling and power cabling must be adequately separated
, i.e. SCS cabling contained within vertical trunking/traywork.
In event of very high i.e. transformer main input voltages 6.6 KV SWA @ 50 to
250 A, then SCS cabling must be contained within steel conduit with a minimum
separation of 2 metres.
Note 1. - All steel conduit/ trunking must be fully bonded to the building safety
earth in accordance with IEEE 16th edition wiring regulations.
There are special conditions affecting separation. The separation of SCS cables
can be avoided/reduced if they are enclosed within a metallic conduit. Experience
indicates that low carbon steel (not stainless steel) of 0.8 mm thickness or
aluminium of 1.6 mm thickness will provide satisfactory EMI isolation. The conduit
or trunking must completely enclose the SCS cables, be continuous and be fully
grounded (earthed to the building safety earth).
Note 2. - This statement above (special conditions affecting separation) is
applicable to Comscope's document regarding European Power Line Separation
Guidelines and calculations providing all stated criterion are satisfied.
In event of a new installation where a traywork containment system is installed
then it is recommended that all power cabling and data/voice cabling are

contained within separate tray sub-systems with a reasonable separation

distance apart.
The above guidelines are as recommended by many data cabling installers and
should be applied in conjunction with local building regulations and installation
standards to ensure the requirements of EMC directives are complied with.

Table B - BS6701 Separation Guidelines (1994)

BS 6701 (1994) Section (a) :
> 600 VAC or 900 VDC
>= 150mm

No divider present

>= 50mm

non-conducting divider

Section (b) :

> 600 VAC >= V >= 50 VAC or 900 VDC >= V
>= 120 VDC
>= 50mm

No divider present

0 mm

non-conducting divider

Table C - BS 7671 (1992) Separation Guidelines (IEE

Wiring Regulations, 16th Edition)
BS7671 (1992)
Voltage (V)

Distance (mm) Current (A) Distance (mm)














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