Cheaper is not always better. You may feel that the Category 6 cable you get from your communications services provider is too expensive, and you can save money by buying and installing your own cables. There are a number of reasons why this could be a mistake.
First, trying to install cables yourself rather than doing it professionally could lead to myriad errors and hazards. This would require you to bring in a professional anyway, costing you more money and wasting your company’s time. Additionally, if you find cheap cables, you just might be purchasing CCA cables without realizing it.
What Is CCA Cable?
CCA cable is copper clad aluminum cable, and it is cheaper because it is made of aluminum rather than solid copper. However, here is a clear case of “you get what you pay for.” While these cables are cheaper, cables made with CCA conductors are just not worth the risk. They are not standards-compliant and they do not have a valid UL safety listing under the National Electric Code, or NEC. If you find a CCA cable with a UL mark suggesting it is in compliance, it is probably counterfeit.
For one thing, CCA cables tend to offer significantly lower network performance than standard cables, which will frustrate your employees and cost you efficiency. Because aluminum cable has more than one and a half times the resistance of a similar copper cable, you will generate more heat and lower voltage, potentially resulting in not enough power to your end device and increased insertion loss. The poor workmanship of CCA cables can also lead to bit errors and faulty links.
Just as important, however, is the safety issue. Standard cables are tested rigorously for the risk of fire damage and spreading. CCA cables typically are not, and it’s easy to see how catastrophic a cable fire can be for your business.
How to Identify CCA Cable
If the cable you buy is significantly cheaper than you would expect, that would be a first indicator. In addition, you can scrape the conductor to see if the copper rubs off, revealing aluminum underneath. You can also weigh the cable against cable you know to be real copper, since copper is heavier.
Rather than buying cable yourself and worrying about how you can figure out if it is CCA cable or not, your best bet is to contact a professional communications company to provide and install your cables. Thousands of customers from a wide variety of industries, including finance, real estate, health care and many others, use Intellicom for their unified communication needs. We offer expert communication services and can handle all your cable-related needs and more.
Don’t put your company at risk by attempting unskilled installation of potentially CCA cables. Contact the experts at Intellicom today.