All of our copper ethernet cables are 100% copper and exceed performance required to meet the Category 5 Enhanced specifications set out by ANSI/TIA/EIA 568C.
Cat5e Patch Cable Answer: Yes, you just won't enjoy the higher performance capabilities of the Cat6 Patch Panel, which is unlikely to matter on a short length of a few metres connected to a PC performing standard mundane office tasks and a bit of youtube at lunchtime.
Cat5e Premises Cable Answer: Yes - but why would you? (unless of course, you are looking to upgrade your Cat5e cable soon)
When Category 6 was first ratified as a standard it was fairly commonplace for larger network installations to consist of Cat6 Patch Panels and RJ45 Wall Outlets connected via Cat5e Cable. This was down to the cost of the cable as back in the early 2000s 305m Cat6 UTP would set you back around £80 to £100 whereas a 305m box of Cat5e could be picked up for less than £20. Any network engineer with the foresight of future-proofing however, would have advised, in the event of a customer looking how to best use a limited budget, to do things the other way around. Install Cat6 cable and save cash with Cat5e accessories. This way patch panels and wall outlets could be upgraded to Cat6 at a later date for less money overall having factored in the man-hours required to run new cables in.
So in short, we advise that for new network installations of Cat6 Panels use Cat6 premises cable. For a network with existing Cat5e infrastructure cables, yes, a Cat6 panel will work just fine, albeit to the performance capabilities of the existing cat5e.
At the time of writing in 2020 the difference between a box of Cat5e & Cat6 is far less hence most installations today are full Cat6. This said we are seeing a steep rise in the sales of Cat6a, watch this space!
We do not sell and never have sold Copper Clad Aluminium Cat5e Cable (Also known as CCA) due to it's many inherent issues. The main issue being that it cannot meet the performance required by any of the official bodies that specify the requirements of Cat5e cables. For example, a correctly installed full copper genuine Cat5e cable should give you a trouble-free gigabit connection at up to 100 metres. CCA will not. There are reports of some CCA equivalents not even achieving old Cat5 requirements (100Mb/s) at anything over 30 metres.
Other CCA Problems:
It is more fragile than the genuine copper equivalent. If it doesn't break on installation due to it's lack of flexibility it may well pass a basic pin-out continuity test. However, the IDC terminals on any RJ45 Socket be it wall outlet or patch panel have tolerances designed only to connect to copper cable. These IDCs can, in time, disconnect a weak CCA core cable. This very problem has led to some installation companies going out of business; having performed a basic test, handed it over to the customer and walked away to sit back and await payment only to find that the staff have now all moved in and half of their computers aren't connected! This happened to a University in the early days of CCA when nobody knew any better - back then it was just very well priced cable!
CCA & PoE:
Do not use CCA ethernet cable on PoE under any circumstances. As it is only part copper but mostly aluminium it has a higher resistance. Resistance = heat. Using a CCA cable with conductors the same size as authentic Cat5e can cause the cable to get very hot, this can lead to damage of the PoE device and potentially worse.
OMG - How can I tell if I have CCA installed?
Weigh it - We have in the past received samples of CCA patch leads and so can tell you that with 1x CCA cable in one hand and 1x known copper cable in the other, the difference in weight is immediately noticeable - even on a 1m length.
Cut it - The individual cores of any comms cable are generally very small, however, it is possible to see this with the naked eye. Alternatively use a mobile phone camera to take a close up. If all you see is lovely copper metal then all is good. If you see a copper coloured dot in a silvery-grey circle, bin it!
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