Patch Solutions, a U.K.-based supplier of cabling and other IT equipment, says they'll sell copper-clad-aluminum (CCA) based cords, in lengths up to 20 meters, if the user's performance requirements do not necessarily dictate pure-copper cabling.
Russell Meehan, the company's operations director, made the statement in an article he authored for their website. The article, titled "Copper Clad Aluminum Patch Leads - What's All the Fuss About?" explains the reasons why CCA cables and cords do not achieve the performance levels of pure-copper cables and cords. "If you want Cat 5e or Cat 6/6a compliancy you need to ensure that your structured cabling and/or patch leads are 100% copper, so no aluminum in sight," Meehan says. "There are no British, European, American or global certifications in place that provide industry accreditation for the use of CCA network cable," he continued. "Also, perhaps more alarmingly, there are no standards in place regarding what the split should be between copper and aluminum."
He later details the problems users are likely to encounter if they use CCA cable and Power over Ethernet, as well as the fact that CCA cable is "more likely to break or become damaged due to its poor malleability."
So why, after providing all this detail about the perils of CCA cable, is Patch Solutions offering it to customers? Well, As Meehan explains, "We have never supplied or installed solid CCA cable for structured systems, but we have found there is a small market for CCA patch leads when used in certain scenarios. We thought long and hard about this decision and always ensure that we make it clear at point of processing if the patch cable contains CCA content." He later states, "For certain requirements ... we do feel that CCA patch leads are a viable cheaper alternative that can still provide, in certain scenarios, the required performance."