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CAT6/6A data cables are NOT created equally

CAT6/6A data cables are NOT created equally

Sean Andrew-Cotter - Monday, February 08, 2016

There is a huge variety of products on the market. You can buy cheap cable at the local hardware store or at many online retailers. There is no governing body that tests cables and stamps them as CAT6 or 6A or has teeth to rectify an abuser of the specification. Buyer beware. Blue Jeans Cable did a test to follow up on a Fluke report from a few years earlier and the results are appalling - 80% failure for patch cables. See the Blue Jeans Cable article here.

This article does not test the bulk cable and jacks that are used in structured cabling installations. The design and manufacture of the cable and jacks is very important and higher end cable manufacturers like Belden and Commscope take great care in the compliance of their products. The termination of the cable is of paramount importance and is where most of the issues occur.

Teleco's cabling technicians pay serious attention and consideration in terminating and running cable.

Staff at www.audioholics.com interviewed Blue Jeans Cable "At this point we haven't tested bulk cable available from hardware stores and the like, but our test results on patch cords were so horrifying that we would be surprised if the Cat 5e and 6 cable at the hardware stores turned out to be up to spec. I have been assured by engineers who have tested bulk cable that there is a lot of 85-ohm network cable out there; that is. it's widely off the specified 100 ohm impedance, and will fail no matter how well it's installed and/or connectorized. Again, there are vendors who make the good stuff. In the USA there's Belden, whose cable we use; there are some others that are well regarded, such as Gepco; but I would stay away from the kind of generic Chinese stuff the hardware stores carry unless and until I could have it validated through testing."

If you want CAT6 or CAT6A then purchase from an installer that can guarantee the installation and provide a report testing every cable run and patch cord with valid testing equipment (i.e. Fluke model DTX-1800). Sure this may cost a few bucks extra but you need to make sure you are getting what you pay for. If you are not testing, using quality materials and proper installation you may as well save more money and only install CAT5 because that is all you are likely getting anyway (but for more cost).

Contact us at Teleco Landline for certified technicians to install your data cabling.

Teleco™ is a Belden IBDN Certified System Vendor (CSV), and our technicians hold certifications such as: Belden Fiber Installation, Belden Copper Installation, Systimax SCS Installation and Maintenance, Commscope Uniprise Copper Installation, Commscope Uniprise Fiber Installation, and Basic Underground Hard Rock Mine - Common Core program # 770225.

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