Solid or stranded UTP CAT5 cables. Questions and answers

Solid or stranded UTP CAT5 cables. Questions and answers
Question
We are running additional UTP cables in tight places and through tight angles.
1) Which is better - solid or stranded Cat 5 UTP cabling?
2) Is it bad to mix cable types?

Answer
1)
the advantages of solid conductors are that they are:

- less costly
- require less complex termination.
- less attenuation

Disadvantages are:
- less flexible than stranded conductors
- shorter flex life than stranded conductors


In this case we would try using solid conductor cables as the first choice. Before installation, check that you will not exceed the minimum bend radius and maximum pulling tension when running it through tight places. You will find these parameters in a cable data sheet from the cable manufacturer.

General rule is 4 times the cable diameter for 4-pair cable. TIA/EIA-568A recommends a 1 -inch radius. Max. pulling tension is about 10-11 kg.

If your solid cable is not appropriate for your tight places, check minimim radius and max. pulling tension for stranded cable. Be sure that stranded cable is Cat5-compliant.


2) It's nothing bad in mixing cables as soon as all operating requirements (cat5 compliancy, bend radii etc.) are met. The only disadvantage is that you have to remember what link uses what type of cable and when you are going to buy some termination hardware, you will have to check if this hardware supports termination of stranded conductors.

To determine what type of cable you already have, check the points where cable terminates (at outlet or cross-connects). If cable conductor consist of many small-gauge wires twisted together, then it is the stranded cable.
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