Faux Cat 6 Cable Sold On Amazon “Could Start A Fire”

Megalith

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This writer warns that we should be more vigilant when it comes to purchasing Ethernet cables, as some could supposedly burn the house down. From what I can tell, the main problem is that cables with copper-coated or copper-mixed aluminum conductors are being sold, which is a no-no because they could heat up under load.

Amazon’s enormous sales site is marketing Cat 5 and Cat 6 Ethernet cable with aluminum conductors, as well as “plenum-rated” cable that bears no UL markings and is likely fraudulent. This comes after a run of apparently bogus Apple chargers and cables. …Whilst perusing the listings, I came across numerous enticing examples. Why enticing? Because their cost is perhaps half, even less, of products that do meet the specifications. It’s unlikely you’ll know the difference—until the sprinklers start or the insurance claim needs to be made after the evacuation, fire, and related smoke and water damage.
 

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CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum) being foisted off as network cabling isn't something new. CCA doesn't meet specifications. Any CCA sold as Cat5e, Cat6, etc. is falsely advertised. Period.
 

Schtask

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UL = Underwriters Laboratories
UL is an American safety consulting and certification company headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois. It maintains offices in 46 countries. Established in 1894 as the Underwriters' Electrical Bureau (a bureau of the National Board of Fire Underwriters), it was known throughout the 20th century as Underwriters Laboratories and participated in the safety analysis of many of that century's new technologies, most notably the public adoption of electricity and the drafting of safety standards for electrical devices and components.

UL provides safety-related certification, validation, testing, inspection, auditing, advising and training services to a wide range of clients, including manufacturers, retailers, policymakers, regulators, service companies, and consumers.

TIA = Telecommunications Industry Association
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is the leading trade association representing the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, policy initiatives, business opportunities, market intelligence and networking events.
 

Quartz-1

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UL is an American safety consulting and certification company

The readership is international: Americans might know these but non-Americans almost certainly won't. It's a rule of good journalism to fully expand any organisation's acronym the first time you use it.
 

Schtask

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The readership is international: Americans might know these but non-Americans almost certainly won't. It's a rule of good journalism to fully expand any organisation's acronym the first time you use it.

I don't disagree. Just answering your question.
 

Ocellaris

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"Could start a fire"... Zero examples provided.

Seems legit.

CCA cable isn't great, however it's mostly clearly labeled as CCA cable and doesn't note CL2 rating for in wall installation.
 
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SvenBent

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I always wondering about CCA... and all of my cables come from work which is e waste recycling. new in sealed bag but i have no idea where they are originally from :-(
 

PhotoBobBarker

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So, Um... You guys know that CCAL only derates the cable capacity by around 10%, right? If you are doing POE I might (and only might) be concerned... Basicly this make less difference than using one gauge size smaller wire. So if you are doing POE than figure 27ga instead of 26 or 25 instead of 24 ga. Otherwise it doesn't really make much of a difference. As far as the signal, 100MHz is well into skin effect range and the signal mostly travels along the surface (copper layer) of the wire. So I don't really see what they are so concerned about.
 

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So, Um... You guys know that CCAL only derates the cable capacity by around 10%, right? If you are doing POE I might (and only might) be concerned... Basicly this make less difference than using one gauge size smaller wire. So if you are doing POE than figure 27ga instead of 26 or 25 instead of 24 ga. Otherwise it doesn't really make much of a difference. As far as the signal, 100MHz is well into skin effect range and the signal mostly travels along the surface (copper layer) of the wire. So I don't really see what they are so concerned about.
Going from 24g copper to 25g CCA is horrible. The bigger the gauge the smaller the cable.
 

PhotoBobBarker

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Going from 24g copper to 25g CCA is horrible. The bigger the gauge the smaller the cable.

That's not at all what I was saying. I'm saying 25ga COPPER is roughly (actually slightly higher resistance) than 24 ga CCAl. So if you were doing a voltage drop calculation you would just use the specs for 27ga Cu wire (instead of 26 that is common in Cat5 series cables). So again, it only really matters if you are doing POE. Otherwise it really doesn't make any bit of difference. Now if we were talking about Jumper cables... That's a whole nother story.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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It may not be good ethernet cabling, but Ethernet is low voltage signaling, I don't see how it could ever be enough to "start a fire" unless some component is sending WAY more power down cable than the spec allows for, in which case that's not the cables fault...
 

SparkedFire

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It may not be good ethernet cabling, but Ethernet is low voltage signaling, I don't see how it could ever be enough to "start a fire" unless some component is sending WAY more power down cable than the spec allows for, in which case that's not the cables fault...

I would say, shorting out any electrical citcuit could cause a fire. Have you ever shorted out a AA battery?
 

necrosis

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The readership is international: Americans might know these but non-Americans almost certainly won't. It's a rule of good journalism to fully expand any organisation's acronym the first time you use it.
And you could also just take 2 seconds to Google and move on instead of making a snarky post.
 

necrosis

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It may not be good ethernet cabling, but Ethernet is low voltage signaling, I don't see how it could ever be enough to "start a fire" unless some component is sending WAY more power down cable than the spec allows for, in which case that's not the cables fault...
Someone using it for PoE? 10G?
 

Emission

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It just makes me wonder if the load on the cable is high enough to run into these issues. Maybe with PoE?
 

WhoBeDaPlaya

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So, Um... You guys know that CCAL only derates the cable capacity by around 10%, right? If you are doing POE I might (and only might) be concerned... Basicly this make less difference than using one gauge size smaller wire. So if you are doing POE than figure 27ga instead of 26 or 25 instead of 24 ga. Otherwise it doesn't really make much of a difference. As far as the signal, 100MHz is well into skin effect range and the signal mostly travels along the surface (copper layer) of the wire. So I don't really see what they are so concerned about.
Skin effect
Because magnets and sh*t

Also, this is why we have Litz wire ;)

<-- Former researcher in magneto-optics
 

cyclone3d

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It would be helpful IF they actually stated which cables are the "bad" ones.

That being said, why would you even shop for Ethernet cables on Amazon?

I haven't seen any on Amazon that cost less than the cables from Monoprice.com.
 

Ocellaris

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It would be helpful IF they actually stated which cables are the "bad" ones.

That being said, why would you even shop for Ethernet cables on Amazon?

I haven't seen any on Amazon that cost less than the cables from Monoprice.com.

I bought bulk Monoprice Cat 6 on Amazon, best of both worlds :p Amazon sells the 250 foot spools which are great for home use when 1000 ft is just way too much.
 

tazeat

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Don't get me wrong, cheap chinese CCA cable sucks and won't do long runs worth a damn (seen it be the cause for runs negotiating at only 100mbit), but a fire, really? I'd need some more proof...
 
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Dead Parrot

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... That being said, why would you even shop for Ethernet cables on Amazon? ...
Some non-IT person that decided they needed some security cameras and after asking some IT friends decides to order some POE models and cables using their Amazon Prime account. Could be bad if the non-IT person is a small school administrator just trying to improve security on a limited budget. What can go wrong?
 
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Skin effect
Because magnets and sh*t

Also, this is why we have Litz wire ;)

<-- Former researcher in magneto-optics
Fucking_227312_482462.jpg
 

EvilWays

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I'm looking at that picture on the front page and all I can think of is "Who used zip ties to bundle the cables?"
 

auntjemima

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I'm looking at that picture on the front page and all I can think of is "Who used zip ties to bundle the cables?"

I don't work with server racks at all, but what is wrong with zip ties? If the wires were prone to moving I could see the issue, but stationary shouldn't matter, correct?
 
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I don't work with server racks at all, but what is wrong with zip ties? If the wires were prone to moving I could see the issue, but stationary shouldn't matter, correct?

https://www.bicsi.org/double.aspx?l=3346
Binding or Securing Cable—Hook and Loop Versus Zip Tie

Within TIA 568C.0, it states that:

Cable stress, such as that caused by tension in suspended cable runs and tightly cinched bundles, should be minimized. Cable bindings, if used to tie multiple cables together, should be irregularly spaced and should be loosely fitted (easily moveable). Additional guidance can be found in the BICSI Information Transport Systems Installation Methods Manual (ITSIMM), 5th edition, which reads:

Use hook and loop straps to secure the cables. The hook and loop straps should be evenly spaced throughout the dressed length. Hook and loop straps should be used to prevent a change in the physical geometry of the cable that typically results from use of nylon tie wraps.
 

Darunion

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Don't get me wrong, cheap chinese CCA cable sucks and won't do long runs worth a damn (seen it be the cause for runs negotiating at only 100mbit), but a fire, really? I'd need some more proof...

not for ethernet, but when running power over ethernet (which is what the article is referencing), they aren't rated for that kind of sustained current. The small wire gauge coupled with a higher resistance conductor just generates heat. As that in its simplest is all resistance is, turning electrical energy into heat. It is wasteful and if uncontrolled, can be dangerous. I've seen plenty of fires from using underrated cables, proof, is all over if you look.
 

EvilWays

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I don't work with server racks at all, but what is wrong with zip ties? If the wires were prone to moving I could see the issue, but stationary shouldn't matter, correct?
Every jobsite I've worked on which involves new network pulls, the network guys always dressed their cables with velcro straps from end to end. I even use the velcro straps that you can feed through to loop itself around a cable and then around the bundle for my home network.
 

PhotoBobBarker

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I use zip ties, they work fine. I just pull them snug and that's it. I'm sure this is no worse than the pressure a lot of cables go through when they are in huge bundles negotiating corners.

I think that the people who wrote the guidelines for bicsi just assumes that everyone that uses zipties uses a ziptie gun that is designed to pull the tie REALLY tight before cutting the tail. I just pull it snug enough that I can see the wires pull together some and use some Xuron flush cutting knips with the retainer to cut the tails, and drop them into a bag... Nice and clean.
 

Trimlock

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Even with the theoretical max of 36w's for POE devices, that could start a fire but I'd be more worried about the connector tbh.
 

Meeho

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Within TIA 568C.0, it states that:

Cable stress, such as that caused by tension in suspended cable runs and tightly cinched bundles, should be minimized. Cable bindings, if used to tie multiple cables together, should be irregularly spaced and should be loosely fitted (easily moveable). Additional guidance can be found in the BICSI Information Transport Systems Installation Methods Manual (ITSIMM), 5th edition, which reads:

Use hook and loop straps to secure the cables. The hook and loop straps should be evenly spaced throughout the dressed length.
Which one is it then?
 
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