As first reported by my colleagues over the pond @ www.interconnectionworld.com, the FIA have released a white paper on the use of CCA (Copper Clad Aluminium) cables in Ethernet cables (pdf).
In the last couple of years those of us in the networking interconnection industry have seen the introduction of CCA cables largely because of the downward pressure customers have on prices, and in no small account to the fact that copper prices have been going through the roof.
CCA is as the name suggests it's a small amount of copper bulked up with aluminium to create the 24 AWG required for most Ethernet applications. We in the business have known for some time that CCA cables do not perform as well as pure copper conductors and now the FIA have come out and shown us the facts and it looks quite ugly.
In short the report is scathing over the performance of CCA cables and warns over the use of them on PoE networks. Long-term life span and network data through-put bandwidth are seemingly highly compromised.
Now at this point I have to declare an interest. We so supply CCA Cables alongside pure copper cables, simply because many clients want a cost-effective solution for today that saves them money in the short term, baring in mind the economic situation. However, we know that copper conductors are better and always make the case for them. Hopefully this new FIA report will help us to educate our customers and avoid us all using scare tactics and focus on the pure facts.
A copy of the report can be found here: http://www.fia-online.co.uk/pdf/Whites/wp-IAN002-01.pdf
Ultimately it is not that our customer have been cheap to take the low cost cables it is simply our job to educate them of the benefits to steering away form CCA. This report will make our argument based on fact and be very hard to resist.