In technical information about its new patch-cord test adapters, Fluke Networks says that despite claims of standard compliance printed on the jackets of patch cords, most of those cords are tested only for wire map.
The DTX Patch Cord Test Adapter series from Fluke Networks can certify twisted-pair patch cords -- shielded or unshielded -- to Category 5e, 6 and 6A component specifications established in TIA 568-C and ISO 11801 standards. Fluke says a Cat 6 autotest takes just 6 seconds, and the adapters are appropriate in both enterprise and manufacturing environments.
With the adapters, a user can test patch cord test parameters including wire map, length, propagation delay, delay skew, near-end crosstalk, resistance and return loss.
In a data sheet for the patch-cord test-adapter series, Fluke Networks notes, "Most cords are only tested for wire map, not performance - in spite of what may be indicated on the jacket. Channel certification shows the performance of the completed end-to-end link including equipment and work area patch cords. Permanent link certification shows the true performance of the installed link without the cords. This is very common because it's the most practical and accurate way to certify new cabling links, but it is dependent on compliant patch cords. Patch cord certification can quickly determine whether a patch cord meets industry performance specifications. When non-compliant cords are used, they can caus intermittent failures that can result in network downtime and warranty claims."