Berk-Tek recently announced that all its outside plant (OSP) copper cable products have been third-party tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to meet the ANSI/ICEA S-107-704-2012 water penetration test requirements.
When announcing the third-party testing, Berk-Tek described the ANSI/ICEA S-107-704-2012 test as “one meter of cable connected via a valve to the bottom of a one-meter-high vertical PVC tube filled with water. The valve is opened and the cable under test must withstand the water pressure from passing through the cable for one hour. If water emerges from the opposite side of the cable within the hour, then the product fails. If this happens, then a second, one-meter cable sample can be cut from the same reel and the test repeated. If the second sample fails, then the product fails the test requirement.”
Berk-Tek further explained that the test “illustrates what can happen if water penetrates the cable jacket or enters through one of the cable ends and is wicked up through the cable into the electronic equipment.”
Brian Simmons, Berk-Tek product manager, stated, “This is exactly why Berk-Tek adds a flooding compound inside every OSP cable to prevent the water from wicking through the cable.” If water wicks through the cable, it can be at worst a potential safety issue and at best an expensive lesson if equipment needs to be replaced, the company added.
“Some competitive designs take a different approach and offer flame-rated indoor/outdoor cable with no water-blocking compound added and therefore can’t meet ANSI/ICEA S-107-704-2012 test requirements,” Simmons said.
Berk-Tek contends that by eliminating the water-blocking compound, other cable designs have a better chance of meeting indoor smoke and flame requirements, and therefore will not require a transition point. “While this does provide cost savings to the installer, the problem with this approach is that it assumes the cable jacket will never fail and that water will never seep through one of the ends,” Berk-Tek explained. “Additionally, these cables are very expensive to produce, which often negates the savings gained by not needing an outdoor-to-indoor transition point.”
Berk-Tek provides a line of copper OSP cables in Category 5e, Category 6, and Category 6A performance levels. All cables in the portfolio meet ANSI/ICEA S-107-704-2012 test requirements.