Buyer Beware of Cheap Network Cable!

April 22nd, 2019
Buyer Beware of Cheap Network Cable!

Copper Clad Aluminum

Recently we have seen a re-emergence of “less than” quality of copper cabling for structured cabling solutions. When following up to see how my quotes were progressing, we were being told that we were considerably higher than our competition. While we’re not always the “least expensive” solution, we remain very competitive. We focus on the quality and performance of the network. After asking for a few more details these potential customers that found “way less expensive” solutions were using CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum) cabling. Generally manufactured overseas, sold on the internet, falsely labeled to meet standards, but in fact, they do not live up to their false advertising. Not apples to apples.

So, what is CCA Copper Clad Aluminum?

CCA is cable constructed with an inner aluminum core and outer copper cladding. While these cables can work well in headphones or loudspeakers, they are not a cheap replacement for category six twisted-pair communications cables deployed in a network infrastructure. On top of that copper clad aluminum cables are not compliant with UL and TIA standards, both of which require solid or stranded copper conductors.

What Are the Issues Using CCA?

Obviously, compliance but they also have:

  • Poor flexibility prone to breakage
  • Aluminum oxidizes when exposed to air which can be an issue with terminations
  • Higher dc resistance which is not suitable for PoE
  • How Can You Tell if it’s Copper Clad Aluminum?
  • If you find the cabling considerably less expensive most likely, it’s CCA.

Here are other ways:

  • Noticeably more brittle
  • Silver color under copper when copper is scraped away
  • Weight. Boxes of CCA weigh much less than copper cabling
  • Use a CCCA app

Note: If CCA cabling is sold as a category cable it is counterfeit.

Buy from a reputable manufactured certified structured cabling company like Fidelis. Always request a manufacturers performance and installation warranty. We use only quality cabling and are BICSI certified to make sure your next cabling project is done right the first time. Do not risk your network infrastructure on a subpar cabling product.

2/6/2019 by Brad McPherson
Wired and Wireless

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