Why patch cords differ so much in price
There are different types of patch cords on the market, such as Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6A in among others U/UTP, F/UTP and S/FTP. Nowadays cheaper alternatives are also on offer, such as CCA (Copper Clad Aluminium) and CCS (Copper Clad Steel). How come?
The conductors in these cheaper patch cords consist mainly of aluminium (CCA) or steel (CCS), surrounded by a layer of copper. These compositions often cause problems, such as unstable signal transmission.
Official standards: 100% copper
The official standards for Cat.x cabling (ANSI/TIA-568-C.2, IEC61156 and EN50288) specify that the conductors must be 100% copper. CCA and CCS do not have fully copper conductors and so do not qualify as Cat.x patch cords. For stable data transmission, you are advised to use qualified Cat.x patch cords.
Data signal transmission problems
The low prices for CCA and CCS cables are attractive, but these cables are strongly discouraged due to the poor quality. Aluminium and steel have a higher (DC) resistance than copper (up to as much as 55% more). This means that problems can arise with the transmission of data signals over longer distances.
Get hot quicker, less power
The use of POE (Power Over Ethernet) also causes problems. Due to the increased resistance, CCA and CCS cables will get hot quicker and supply less power to the POE equipment. With an increase in the (future) power of POE, the resistance of CCA and CCS will become an even greater problem..
Less flexible, oxidation
Besides the resistance, the flexibility and oxidation of CCA and CCS are also a problem. Aluminium and steel are far less flexible, so that the chance of breakages in the conductor is significantly greater than for fully copper cables. Also, oxidation of the aluminium and steel can give rise to a poor connection of the patch cords in the longer term.
In summary: a lower price for patch cords often means that the cable is not made of 100%
copper, and so does not meet the standards. For stable data transmission, choose qualified
Cat.x cords. Pay particular attention to this when buying your patch cords.