Patch Cord Testing Project Proves Most Cords Fail

May 2003

Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc. announces the recent 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 their DSP 4000 Series Cable Analyzer. All cords were tested to the full requirements of TIA/EIA-568-B; including 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. 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; with suppliers distributed across the USA. The study proved, with a high degree of accuracy, 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% of the Category 5e cords failed. This fact, combined with a Cat 6 cord failure rate exceeding 80%, makes it clear that cord buyers should be demanding actual test data.

Read our full report here.

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