Watch what happens when a counterfeit cable undergoes a burn test

Feb. 2, 2017
The CCCA sent a batch of counterfeit cable for flame testing in a Steiner Tunnel. The results, recorded on video, are as bad as you’d expect.

The Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA) recently produced a video that includes footage of counterfeit cable being subjected to a burn test, with drastic results. Available on YouTube, the three-minute video begins with a dramatic question: “Communications cable, or fuse?” Much of the rest of the video depicts footage indicating that question is not just hyperbole.

After referencing the existence of standards from TIA and fire codes from NFPA, the video’s narrator explains, “It’s in everyone’s best interest that if a fire breaks out in a building, communications cables don’t act like a fuse and carry fire all over the building. The sad truth is, there are cable manufacturers that are manufacturing communications cable that does not pass fire and life-safety building codes. However, they are labeling this cable with all the markings you might expect to find on properly constructed cables.”

Combating that reality has been a hallmark of CCCA since the association’s formation nearly a decade ago.

The recently produced video then shows and describes what is called a Steiner Tunnel, in which cables are tested by being subjected to fire. A cable earns the plenum rating by passing specific flame-spread and smoke-generation requirements in a Steiner Tunnel. In the video, a compliant cable is subjected to the burn test, and the results are documented. Then a counterfeit cable—which claims compliance but does not have a UL holographic label, and was purchased on the open market—is subjected to the Steiner Tunnel test. The still image at the top of this page was taken from the video showing the extent to which that counterfeit cable allowed flame to spread. A Category 6 cable from the same company similarly failed the burn test, as the video visually documents.

The narration concludes, “The difference between properly manufactured cables that have been UL tested and certified, versus counterfeit cables utilizing non-compliant cable designs and materials is clear.”

You can watch the video below.

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