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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 14, 2012

Counterfeit Cables 'Disturbing Trend' Potentially Dangerous, Says L-Com Report

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

There has been a lot of debate lately over the "value" of cables. But L-Com, maker of connectivity equipment in both wired and wireless arenas, issued a report today, calling the counterfeiting of cables a "disturbing trend" that has led to a surfeit of low-quality and potentially dangerous goods on the market, providing some warning to cable buyers of all stripes in regard what should make them wary.

L-Com's report goes a bit further than the standard, by not only describing the issue, but providing some picture as to what kind of counterfeiting is taking place. The L-Com report, for instance, describes such things as cables made with aluminum covered in a layer of copper rather than full copper cables, or gold flash on contacts instead of the more standard 30 to 50 micro-inches of gold.

A report of flimsier jackets on cables is of special concern, implying less fireproofing material than the packaging may claim.

L-Com elaborated upon the results of using sub-standard cables, citing things like data loss and intermittent connections. The gold flash on connectors, for example, often rubs off quickly when standard functions like plugging and unplugging are done. One cable featured a return loss of -12 dB on the poor connection, and this in turn can slow or even stop a network outright. L-Com's report even detailed potential liability issues involved due to using the wrong kind of cable in certain spaces of buildings designated as "plenum" or "riser" areas, and the potential of fire damage.

L-Com's report further asserted that both big and small manufacturers alike featured these counterfeit cables, and therefore recommended that cables are purchased direct from L-Com, who not only built and tested their own material, but regularly inspected manufacturers to ensure the cables met L-Com's standards.

With ongoing debates over the price of cables – whether they’re Ethernet cables, HDMI cables or similar products – it's clear there will always be inexpensive cables and better-quality cables. Which is most useful for businesses and personal use is another story, and with a bad economy continuing to prompt people to keep costs down, cheap cables will probably be welcomed in many environments.

But are they best? L-Com begs to differ, and their full report can be found in the "Technical Resources" section of their Website for more details.

Edited by Braden Becker

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