Beware of CCA and CCC Cables
Be wary: If you are offered cheap cable or cable from an unqualified source, ask the question, is it a solid copper cable or a Copper Clad Aluminium (CCA) cable?
Note: The Euroclass fire rating classification Cca is not the same as cable Copper clad aluminium (CCA).
CCA cables have aluminium cores with a copper coating. They have some legitimate uses but are now appearing under the guise of Cat5e and Cat6 cables. However, they do not comply with any British or European standards and will not perform as required.
Be wary: If you are offered cheap cable or cable from an unqualified source, ask the question, is it a solid copper cable or a CCA cable?
As well as failing basic tests during commissioning, the CCA is less flexible and will fracture more easily. In addition, the aluminium oxidises and performance deteriorates further over time. Particular problems occur when used for Power over Ethernet (PoE) because aluminium has a higher resistance. Therefore, CCA cables may not deliver the required voltage to devices on the network. The cable may heat up causing its characteristics to change for the worse.
The latest European standards under development state that CCA cables are not permitted.
More recently we have seen the arrival of copper clad copper (CCC) cables. These use an inferior quality of cable on the inside and can perform even worse than CCA cables.
For an in-depth report on the issue of CCA cables in the data cabling market, see the FibreOptic Industry Association (FIA) White paper on Copper Clad Aluminium cables.
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