Berk-Tek says demand for Category 6 cable strained manufacturing capacity

Dec. 1, 2004
Berk-Tek ( says its ability to manufacture Category 6 cable was "capacity-constrained" for several months this year as the demand surpassed that of Category 5e.

Berk-Tek ( says its ability to manufacture Category 6 cable was "capacity-constrained" for several months this year as the demand surpassed that of Category 5e.

That was part of the news company representatives shared with members of the press during a recent Technology Summit at the cable manufacturer's headquarters in New Holland, PA. The summit included technology briefings and presentations on industry trends, as well as tours of the Nexans Data Communications Competence Center-the international data communications research and development lab. The lab, which opened in 2001, focuses on advanced design and applications as well as advanced materials development for data communications cabling.

Berk-Tek manufactures more than 100 different copper and optical-fiber cable products. The company has additional manufacturing facilities in Fuquay-Varina, NC and Elm City, NC.

Todd Harpel, Berk-Tek's director of marketing, reports the company is increasingly seeing enterprise end users turn to Gigabit Ethernet. Accordingly, he says, more customers are buying Category 6 cabling systems to support the application, with an eye toward 10-Gigabit Ethernet.

Harpel says the company is seeing a strong migration from Category 5e cable to Category 6, as well as a shift from 62.5-

As the speeds of devices in enterprise networks and data centers increase, Harpel says Berk-Tek is seeing an emerging need for low-cost, 10-Gbits/sec Ethernet over twisted-pair cabling as well as over multimode fiber. The company now manufactures augmented Category 6 cabling and laser-enhanced multimode fiber.

"For several months this year, we were manufacturing Category 6 as fast as we could," says Harpel. "The Category 6 capacity was strained while we had ample Category 5e capacity."

Harpel says Category 6 cabling makes up an estimated 30% of North America's UTP volume. It is estimated that this percentage will grow by a minimum of 10% per year for the next two to three years.

"Berk-Tek is making a significant investment in manufacturing equipment to position ourselves to be able to meet this demand," says Harpel.

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