Following Krone's exposé over the last nine months concerning the scandalous state of the patchcord market - with dodgy, sub-standard, patch cords being supplied by many vendors and distributors - now the UK's authoritative Telecommunications Industry Association has taken up the fight.
In their Technical Information Note TIN17, the Association warns that "Recent research has found that a very significant number of patchcords sold today are non-compliant to the published standards," and that, "This is not limited to the new Category 6 products, but also includes the Category 5e products that have been sold for some years."
This warning from the TIA supports Krone's findings when, in May last year, we undertook testing of several hundred supposedly standards-compliant patch cords available from distributors around the UK and subjected them to full ISO/IEC 11801:2002 and TIA/EIA-568-B transmission testing. Results were nothing short of scandalous, with failure rates ranging from 30% through to a massive 56%. One US manufacturer testing Cat 5e patch cords cited that 69.8% failed testing and another found that an incredible 83% of supposedly Cat 6 patch cords were not standards compliant.
The underlying reason, says the TIA, is that it is cheaper to manufacture a patch cord that is non-compliant than one which fully meets the standards.
Whilst warning users that they are potentially being ripped off they also issued a stern warning to distributors, manufacturers and installers that the Trades Descriptions Act 1968 makes it an offence to supply or offer to supply goods to which a false or misleading trade description is applied. Companies - such as manufacturers, distributors, retailers etc., selling patch cords described as Cat5e or Cat6 which do not fully meet those standards are breaking the law and can be prosecuted under the Act. "This can result in a heavy fine or even imprisonment," concludes the TIA.
Krone's Kevin Anderson adds, "Whether this applies to installers is open to debate, but now that field patchcord testers are readily available it looks as though installation companies would be hard pressed to convince a court that they couldn't have known they were instaling sub-standard equipment."
"Vigilance all round is required," says Anderson, confident in the knowledge that every Krone patch cord is 100% tested to be fully standards compliant.
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Note to editors
Please call us for a full copy of the TIA Technical Information Note and White Paper on patch cords.
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