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Quabbin patch cord testing study reveals that most fail

Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc. announced today the completion of an extensive evaluation of Category 5e and 6 LAN p...


May 20, 2003  


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Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc. announced today the completion of an extensive evaluation of Category 5e and 6 LAN patch cords.

Cords were purchased on the open market, however, no premise OEM system-proprietary cords were included. They were tested using Fluke Network’s recently introduced patch cord test adapter and its DSP 4000 Series Cable Analyzer.

All were tested to the full requirements of TIA/EIA-568-B; including Propagation Delay, Delay Skew, Wire Map, NEXT, and Return Loss.

Over the past months, most people associated with the premise equipment market have become aware that as higher speed protocols are used, patch cords can have a huge impact on LAN performance, error rates, and channel throughput, the company says.

"Until now, most cords have not been tested by either the cord manufacturer or end-user. Most cord buyers simply believe what is printed on the cord’s cable jacket or package. Therefore, this test program was designed to determine the current quality level of patch cords and observe if there was any correlation between performance, sales channel, or cost."

Cords were purchased from distributors, retail outlets, assembly houses, and catalog houses. The study showed that most open-market cords do not meet the TIA’s published requirements.

It also revealed no correlation between performance and price. "Surprisingly, even though Category 5e requirements are well established, almost 70 per cent of the Category 5e cords failed," the company said. "This fact, combined with a Cat 6 cord failure rate exceeding 80 per cent, makes it clear that cord buyers should be demanding actual test data."