Determining the True Performance of an Installed Cabling System
Beyond finding faults in components or installation workmanship, the other important element is to determine the true performance of an installed data cabling system. Because performance of LAN cabling is not a function of safety, most governmental jurisdictions do not require 3rd party testing to ensure that products provide the level of performance shown on the packaging or marketing literature.
You cannot assume that connectors and cable marked as category 5e, 6, or 6A with the familiar icon guarantees the performance of the components on which they appear. There are products on the market that are falsely labelled with a rating that they do not meet and an installer would never know the performance is subpar without field certification testing. The vast majority of installed cabling is not certified and manufacturers who intentionally mislabel their products use that knowledge to take advantage of customers who cannot afford to purchase a certifier to test 100% of their installations. To ensure the components purchased provide the required performance, choose reputable brands or test the installation with a certifier to prove they meet the performance standard.
These standardised icons are defined in the ISO 11801 and TIA 568 series of standards to indicate connector performance, however use of these symbols does not guarantee performance.
Note about Class and Category. ISO/IEC uses the word “Class” and ANSI/TIA uses the word “Category” to define the performance of installed links. Both organisations use the word “Category” to define the performance of components. Therefore, an ISO/IEC Class EA channel is constructed of ISO/IEC Category 6A components.
Choosing premium brand components does not completely eliminate risk because those brands are often targeted by makers of counterfeit products hoping to profit off the reputation of well-known brands. There are many cases of installers testing premium brand products with certifiers to find that 100% of the installed links fail and discover that when those components are returned to the manufacturer for evaluation that they were counterfeit. Had those installations not been tested with a certifier the customers would likely never know that counterfeit products had been installed.
To find out more about the cable testing and certification tools available from IDEAL Networks, visit our website.