Copper clad aluminum cable or CCA as it is commonly referred to in the structured cabling industry. It is made up of an aluminum core surrounded by copper cladding or jacket (as illustrated above). This sort of wire is commonly used in voice coil applications for speakers, as well as, in some AC electrical applications as it is much cheaper than pure copper wire and does not carry many of the risks associated with pure aluminum electrical wire.
However, when it comes to structured cabling network infrastructure especially with high bandwidth requirements, such as High Definition Megapixel Security Cameras, VOIP phone systems, Integrated Alarm Systems, CCA cables should be avoided at all costs. In recent years CCA cables have been an increasing problem in the security systems industry as they have become a cheap and low quality replacement for cabling CAT 5 & 6 wire in Ottawa. Aside from not being compliant with TIA or UL standards which require solid or stranded copper conductors CCA cables are extremely brittle with low flexibility making them not only prone to breakage but much harder to fish and terminate.
Additionally, CCA cable does not work well for cabling PoE infrastructure or PoE High Definition IP Cameras as it has about a 50%-60% higher DC resistance in comparison to pure copper wire. Due to the increased resistance neither the data signal nor power are able to travel as far or at the same quality as they would in a pure copper wire. Furthermore, this issue is sure to be compounded as we see a higher emergence of PoE Plus applications.
Lastly, when exposed to air aluminum begins to oxidize which is rapidly increased if the termination is in an area of large temperature fluctuations. This oxidation can lead to equipment damage in PoE applications as well as create many troubleshooting issues as terminations begin to fail. Thankfully, CCA cable is easily identifiable as it not only weighs much less than pure copper cable but the copper cladding on CCA cable can be scraped away to reveal the aluminum or simply looking at the end of the conductor.
When cabling IT and Security infrastructures in Ottawa we only use the highest quality solid copper core wire which is fully tested and certified.
NOT Acceptable cable for Security Systems: