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Copper Clad Aluminum is a Recipe for Failure

From time to time I run across really inexpensive structured cable from some lesser known venders. More often than not when I look at how the cable is constructed, I discover copper clad aluminum is being substituted for pure copper for the material used for the conductors. This is often referred to as CCA. What is CCA? Composed of an inner aluminum core and outer copper cladding, CCA cables are often used for voice coils in headphones or loudspeakers, as well as for some RF and bonding and grounding applications. Significantly lighter than pure copper and yet stronger than pure aluminum, CCA cables have been used for some electrical applications to avoid issues inherent with aluminum wire connections and also because they are less expensive than pure copper. Unfortunately, CCA cables have also become a cheap replacement for category twisted-pair communications cables, but they should not be deployed in a network infrastructure. CCA cables are not compliant with UL and TIA standards, both of which required solid or stranded copper conductors. In this recent article from Belden Paul Kish describes the shortcomings of using this type of cable in your data network. Click here for the article: