Buyer Beware: Counterfeit Communications Cabling

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Running from room to room and between floors, communications cables operate in buildings where people work and live every day. While most people aren't likely to experience it, building and home fires can happen and if they do, the last thing anyone wants is for these cables to carry and spread flames in a structure. To offer protection for homes and businesses, there are performance standards (TIA) and safety codes (NFPA) in place to regulate the manufacturing of communications cables to ensure that they are constructed to limit flame spread, smoke production, and fuel load in the event of a fire. Vericom Global Solutions, a manufacturer of cables and cabling solutions, offers high quality communications cables that meets or exceeds industry standards for protection, while meeting performance standards and safety codes.

Unfortunately, there are many cable manufacturers that produce counterfeit communications cables that do not pass fire and safety building codes. These manufacturers are labeling their cables with the same markings that you would expect to see on cables that meet code standards. Installing counterfeit communications cables puts building owners and contractors at risk for liability issues, as it can result in non-compliant levels of fire propagation through a building via the communications cabling system.

View this video from the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA) to see exactly what happens to a counterfeit communications cable when it is subjected to a burn test.


Manufacturers producing counterfeit communications cables often make low-quality products, label and box them with the name of a legitimate company, and sell them at an extremely low price. Always remember the quality of components within a communications cable is the true sign of its legitimacy, not where it was manufactured. Here are three major characteristics of counterfeit cabling to look out for:

  • Steel or Aluminum vs. Copper Conductors – Category cable containing copper-clad-steel or copper-clad-aluminum conductors instead of solid copper is apt to experience high attenuation and poor signaling, resulting in reduced network performance. While there are some instances where copper-clad-steel (CCS) or copper-clad-aluminum (CCA) cables are allowed, these cables will not offer the highest possible results that come from using copper conductors. Coaxial cable, which is most often used in ground or outdoor cable installations, can use copper-clad-steel with minimum signal loss, with plenum and riser rated versions available that offer outstanding fire and safety protection when indoor use is necessary.

  • Re-Ground Plastic for RJ-45 Connectors – When RJ-45 connectors fail quality tests, they can be re-ground back to pellets and added to the plastic used to create new ones. While normally an effective process, if too much re-ground plastic is used to produce a connector, the consequence can be a lower combustion rating. If the body of a connector is yellowing or foggy, it’s usually a sign it was made using low-quality plastic. Be sure to avoid connectors with “gold flash” or “selective plating” on the nickel and gold parts on the metal contact as they will have a tendency to corrode faster.

  •  Alternative Jacket Material – Not every application requires a cable with a jacket that meets CMP and CMR flammability ratings, but as the old saying goes, “better safe than sorry.” If a cable contains an inferior, non-fireproof jacket material, then it could potentially release toxic smoke and gases during a fire in areas where they could rapidly spread to other parts of a building.


    Vericom Global Solutions proudly offers communications cabling that is UL and ETL recognized, meaning you can rest assured it has been independently tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) and is compliant with appropriate safety standards. Available in a variety of jacket constructions, colors, and packaging options, Vericom cabling meets the requirements for numerous industries and market segments.

    Types Offered

  • Category Cable
  • Coaxial Cable
  • Fire Alarm Cable
  • Irrigation & Control Wire
  • Media Cable
  • Security Cable
  • Speaker Cable
  • Thermostat Cable

  • Don’t be fooled into buying or, worse, installing counterfeit communications cabling – contact us today to purchase cabling you can trust!

    Phone: (865) 671-4455
    E-Mail: [email protected]