Businesses can purchase copper cable products – including networking patch cords, peripheral interface cables, and A/V solutions – from a variety of vendors. The market for copper cabling ranges from freebies that come with equipment to high-end custom solutions. While cables may look similar on the outside, the materials, design, and construction affect overall performance. A high-quality copper cable resists interference, short circuiting-related downtimes, and environmental changes.
Copper Quality in Copper Cables
Copper cable setups rely on electricity to transmit data from one point to another. In digital applications, a distorted signal can render the binary code unreadable and corrupt the communication. The signal quality affects timing, clarity in audio/visual applications, and the accurate reception of data from one system to another. For conference rooms systems, data centers, and end-user computer connectivity, the quality and form of the copper used affects the user experience.
In some low-cost applications, manufacturers may blend copper with other materials, including aluminum and steel. While plating may protect a pure copper core from oxidation, the internal core should feature pure copper. The use of materials with lower conductivity ratings creates electrical resistance and may significantly lower transmission rates. The loss associated with poor-quality copper can lead to poor sound and visual clarity as well as low or dropped data transmissions. Look for pure copper materials for commercial cabling applications.
Copper Cable Designs
The design of the copper cabling also affects performance. Cable installers can choose from solid core and stranded designs, traditional coaxial and newer twisted pair designs, and multiple connectors.
Solid core designs work well in outdoor and extreme environments that require strength and durability over flexibility. Stranded designs increase the level of flexibility for use in many indoor and outdoor applications. Coaxial configurations with one stranded or solid copper core were widely used in early LAN applications and some internet applications.
While the design offers distance advantages, it is difficult to install and use in commercial applications. Most commercial users prefer twisted pair cables today. A shielded twisted pair cable offers flexibility, security, and ease of use. When combined with stranded core designs, twisted pair cables afford users extreme durability without sacrificing transmission quality.
The Role of Shielding in Cable Configurations
At the next level, shielding materials protect the core from shorting out, interference, and transmission loss that can occur when two conductive copper wires touch or cross. Foil shielding also contributes to improved data security. Data-sensitive industries, including health care, government, and financial services, must consider the security of hardware including cable quality to protect private information.
Shielding quality may or may not play a role in copper cable choice. Choose a shielded design for Power over Ethernet, LAN/WAN, and 10GBASE-T applications for security in data centers, local networking, and telecommunications. At C Enterprises, our CAT6A assemblies include both shielded and unshielded cores.
Evaluating Copper Cable Quality
During assembly, material quality and workmanship can affect the overall performance of a final product. Evaluate the voltage maximum rating, DC resistance maximum rating, and the insertion loss to determine cable applications. Then consider the design and materials used during the process. Jacket material, copper quality, and shielding all affect case uses and performance.
After exploring the materials and design, consider the manufacturing company. Choose businesses with experience and a demonstrated commitment to quality. Standard compliance, company culture, and customer service may all contribute to the overall quality of the copper cable.
Copper Cable Quality Matters at C Enterprises
C Enterprises manufactures all copper cable products in house in Southern California at our ISO 9001:2008 facility. With over 30 years of experience, we deliver both ready-made and custom-configured copper cables to our distributor channel. Look for the C Enterprises logo at regional and national distribution centers on patch cords, RJ21 Telco assemblies, legacy assemblies, and more. We strive to offer a range of products designed with modern case uses in mind. For more information about how the quality of copper cabling influences networking, A/V, and security performance, reach out to us at (800) 334-3815. We can help you identify cables for your needs and price out a solution.