Category 5e is more than a performance standard. The constructional, mechanical and electrical requirements for Category 5e cables are defined within national and international standards. The specific cable standards associated with each of the primary standards ANSI/TIA 568, ISO/IEC 11801 and BS EN 50173 are outlined below and all refer to annealed copper as the conductor material.
Further reading of these standards will confirm that the reference to copper means pure annealed copper and does not include clad materials or alloys.
· ANSI/TIA 568-C.2 refers the user to ANSI/ICEA S-90-661-2006.
· ISO/IEC 11801 Edition 2 refers the user to IEC 61156-5-1 which further refers to IEC 61156-1.
· BS EN 50173: refers the user to BS EN 50288-3-1:2003 for unscreened cables and BS EN 50288-2-2:2003 for screened cables.
Furthermore, the TIA invoke a minimum wire diameter in the finished cable of 0.485mm therefore any cable or packaging that references the TIA 568 standard cannot comply if the stated conductor diameter is for example 0.48mm or as seen more recently, in the UK market, have conductor diameters of 0.475mm.
A number of these reduced diameter copper cables are also under investigation as they, like CCA, will have low frequency performance issues in longer lengths.