Buyer Beware! Copper Clad Aluminum

Recently I 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 I was being told that we were considerably higher than our competition. While we’re not always the “less expensive” solution we are for the most part pretty competitive. After asking for a few more details these potential customers that found “way less expensive” solutions were using CCA or Copper Clad Aluminum cabling. Not apples to apples.

So What is CCA Copper Clad Aluminum?

Simply defined: Cabling of 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 6 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 compliancy but they also have:

  • Poor flexibilty prone to breakage
  • Aluminum oxidizes when exposed to air which can be an issue with terminations
  • Higher dc resistance which is not good 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’s 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 conterfeit.

Buy from a reputable structured cabling company like Fidelis. We use only quality cabling and are BICSI certified to make sure your next cabling project is done right the first time. Do you really want to chance your infrastructure on a subpar cabling product and job? Didn’t think so.

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Sales Manager at Fidelis.