Recently on the FiberPlus blog, we discussed the dangers of counterfeit communications cables and how to tell if your communications cables are legitimate. According to BeyondTech, a provider of fiber-optic and copper network connectivity ecosystems based in Florida, a contractor who intentionally installs counterfeit communications cabling can face charges of “negligence, fraud, and criminal violation of building code regulations. In some cases, the contractor could even face imprisonment.” It’s crucial that cabling installers know how to recognize common counterfeit communications cabling scams so they can avoid the hazards associated with them. The following three are some of the most common.
Steel or Aluminum instead of Copper
Because copper is so costly, many illegitimate manufacturers will use steel or aluminum cores coated with copper. This makes the cables look like they have a copper core, when in reality they have unsuitable steel or aluminum. These metals cause high attenuation and poor signaling, which hurts network speed in the long run.
When RJ-45 connectors don’t pass their quality test, they can be re-ground back into pellets and used in the plastic that makes up new connectors. While this is actually a legitimate process, it’s when too much of the re-ground plastic is used that problems start to occur. A large ratio of re-ground plastic in the connectors can lower the combustion rating. You can tell if a connector has too much ground plastic by checking to see if it the connector plastic is yellowing or foggy. Another thing to watch out for is nickel or gold on the metal contact. These will be labeled as “gold flash” or “selective plating”, but metal contacts with nickel or gold will corrode more quickly.
Substituted Jacket Material
Some manufacturers may replace the CMP and CMR flammability ratings with non-fireproof jacket material. You may not be required to have fireproof cables for some installations, but when you do need them, it’s crucial that you know your cable jacket is non-flammable.
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