Cheap Ethernet Cables CCA Beware!


House Built in 2013. From 2013 - 2015 we wired it with ethernet cables and such...Best at that time was CAT6 GB Cable. Retired in 2015.... Very Happy with my work!
We added cables to upgrade system in 2016-2019.... Again, CAT6.. Works fine...

6 months ago we start having strange issues with things slowing down... After Many dead ends...

Eventually determine it's the UPDATED CABLES we bought, Chinese, and are not Pure Copper -- They are Copper Clad Aluminum!
The wires are more brittle, and sometimes they just downshift to a 100Mb connection from 1000Mb (GB) Connection!

I bought new GOOD 100% Copper CAT6 cables and everything is back to normal....

I'm reading that CCA is found in many Cheap Ethernet cables of all types...

BEWARE!! They started out fine, then became intermittent...

A 2689LMT in both our cars that we love... and a Nuvi 660 with Lifetime Maps that we have had literally forever.... And a 2011 Ford Escape with Nav System that is totally ignored!

Good heads-up

Interestingly there's no easy way to tell looking at a cable whether it's CCA or pure copper. Even if you cut the cable, it doesn't look silver/aluminum inside.
It's a situation where you need to be able to trust your seller. Flea-market cable is risky. Even some retail cable could be bad.

"141 could draw faster than he, but Irving was looking for 143..."

Thanks For The Tip

I also wired my house with ethernet cable back in 2003. Cat 5 was the standard then. Worked fine for a few years until we transitioned to an all wireless network. For our purposes, a wireless modem is faster and more convenient. The now obsolete Cat 5 wiring sits unused and for now, I have no plans to upgrade.

This could change in the future though, so thanks for the warning!

Test before using

Here's a quick way to check the cable you've bought before you expend the energy wiring an entire house:

YouTuber bigclivedotcom also uses the test for what it's worth.


This be something related to mfg, not country of origin?

I'm not pushing any products but one can easily jump online and find cheap cables made by Tripp Lite, Belkin, Cables2Go, they're also made in the same country mentioned in this thread, but quality. I mean online a 25' cable costs less than a 6' one locally, maybe $8 retail.

Now if you're talking about bulk, Tripp Lite is $130 for 1000' (retail or you make friends with the local wholesaler and and pay a lot less than that), what does the faulty product sell for? To me it's like a floor jack, it's not the country of origin as it's all the same. It's the brand that was slapped on the product, it's as good as that brand.

Well the purchasing of CAT6

Well the purchasing of CAT6 cable & patchfield went so smoothly during house build, that I just naturally went back to EBAY for upgrade.... Thing that got me was I ended up ordering from 2 or 3 sellers, so when things went crazy, I figured no way would 2-3 seller all sell bad pre-made patch cables!
Wanna Bet?
I have a cheapie Ethernet Pinout tester, to check for pinout, Opens, Shorts... and the cables that fell back to 100Mb all still passed the cheapie pinout tester....
So I created a stand alone Cable test system... An Un-Used output of Arris Modem, to cable under test, to a spare GB swtich, and Timed the lockup of LEDs: Instant 1000=Good, 1 sec 1000=Suspect, 100Mb=BAD...
(confirmed with Arris Diagnostics) and with that, found the offending cables... Most all of which would only lock up at 100Mb on 1000 feeds... Others locked up at 1000 but were not instant lockup.... They took their time locking at 1000.
Cables from 2 sellers (Not EBAY) still in route...
Wiring runs from Closet to room walls are punch down CAT6 "B", but used Pre-Made CAT 6 Patch Cords for everything in the "Expansion" of the system to keep 'me' out of the equation...
Best laid plans, eh?

A 2689LMT in both our cars that we love... and a Nuvi 660 with Lifetime Maps that we have had literally forever.... And a 2011 Ford Escape with Nav System that is totally ignored!


Interesting reading. Makes me wonder if that is why cheap iPhone charging cables bought on eBay and Amazon work for a while and then go bad for no apparent reason.

Aluminum wire

Aluminum wire created a debacle in the home building industry in the 1970s. Copper clad aluminum was no better. This includes the Romex style of cable and larger conductors used for feeders and service conductors. Different methods of "fixing" it have failed. The only answer was to rip it out and replace it with copper.

Suppliers of aluminum ethernet cables are risking the end of wired networks when wifi will be used exclusively.

The idea that aluminum would be used for other electronic cables like USB cables is mind-boggling!

dobs108 smile

good conductor, problems with connections

Aluminum is a very good conductor. I believe high voltage long-distance power lines almost exclusively use aluminum as the primary conductor, as the combination of quite good conductivity, very low weight, and considerable strength beats the alternatives. Often they add some steel to carry the weight while the aluminum does nearly all the conducting.

But that pesky oxide that gets on any free surface means coming up with a sufficiently reliable means of making connections is crucial. The home wiring problems in houses and manufactured homes were not related to conduction in the wire runs, but in connections which over time went to just high enough a local resistance to give strong local heating--and thus fires. Somewhat more resistance and you got no fire, just no longer had your service operational.

personal GPS user since 1992

the problem with aluminum residential wiring

IIRC the problem with aluminum residential wiring was the changing dimensions from heat cycling while connected with fittings that were unable to stand the changing dimensions. The connectors were forced to a "relaxed" profile and they became a higher resistance point that got hot and sometimes caused fires.

As I recall redesigned connector fittings solved the problem without changing the wiring.

Still awaiting Cable

Still awaiting Cable shipments.... When I get done with the 'rebuild' I'll end up with 5 or 6 of these cables (4 of which are in runs of PVC Pipe to 100Mb POE Security cameras, and last 1 or 2 on Locally powered 100Mb Security cameras)...

The cable degradation has only been seen on GB devices falling back to 100Mb....

Seeing that The oldest couple cables of this type are 3+ years, in POE usage.... (and 4 in PVC Pipes)... I'm leaving those alone, and only upgrading the cables where accessible, and on GB devices..

A 2689LMT in both our cars that we love... and a Nuvi 660 with Lifetime Maps that we have had literally forever.... And a 2011 Ford Escape with Nav System that is totally ignored!

Stupid Contractor

When my son built his house he had it wired for Ethernet. When he moved in nothing worked. I checked his wiring and the idiot contractor apparently had no idea how the cabling worked. He had just randomly connected the wires. D'Oh! I fixed it outside (I always wire everything as 568B) and then had to make sure all the house ports were the same. Just one more example of how poor his contractor was.

Note: He also had his house wired for stereo throughout but the contractor "saved some money" by using lamp cord. It wasn't marked in any way so there was no way to tell which wire was which. Normal audio cable has one wire marked.

GPSMAP 76CSx - nüvi 760 - nüvi 200 - GPSMAP 78S


The same problem exists with low voltage alarm system wiring. Read the product description carefully before purchasing!