, a designer and manufacturer of wired and wireless connectivity products based in North Andover, Mass., is saying enough is enough in regards to what it calls a "disturbing trend" of counterfeit Cat 5e cable on the market.
L-com took a public stance
on the hot-button issue of counterfeit cables by highlighting a 14-page independent report
in which multiple cables on the market were tested and failed to pass TIA standards.
According to L-com, the issue of counterfeit cables has plagued the connectivity industry for years, but has greatly expanded in the past 12 months. L-com says it has been advising customers about it for years. The company says it found counterfeit cables from both big and small manufacturers, and from both domestic and overseas sources. (Editor's Note: It is disappointing that L-com does not name the particular brands of counterfeit cable it tested in the document. When asked by CE Pro to provide the manufacturers' names, the company declined.)
"I think the base of the problem is education," said David Gallagher, L-com product manager. "When buyers know and understand the consequences for buying just the cheapest cable without checking the actual construction, they are spared the enormous expenses and damages that could occur."
Among the problems L-com encountered are:
26 gauge aluminum and steel cable clad with copper that was sold as 24 gauge pure copper
. Aluminum and steel have much higher resistance than copper, resulting in increased data loss and low transmission speeds.
Gold flashing on contacts vs. 30 or 50 micro-inches of gold
. Gold flash on connectors quickly rubs off, especially for patch cables. In one competitor’s cable that L-com tested, the return loss was -12 dB due to the poor connection. This can result in a measurably slower network and even dropped connectivity for a structured wiring infrastructure.
Jackets with less fireproofing materials than claimed
. In a building, some spaces are defined as being air plenums and, as a result, require the usage of “Plenum” (UL CMP) rated or “Riser” (UL CMR) rated cables. Examples of these spaces include air ducts, vertical shafts, below raised floors and above drop ceilings. Fire in any one space can “leap” from room to room or even from floor to floor by burning along the cable lines, confounding fire prevention efforts and endangering anyone who works there. Installing cable without the proper plenum rating opens up the installer and the company to potential liability.