What are the differences between CCA and Pure Copper Cables?

If you have ever bought ethernet cables, you would know that they are distinguished into two main types: CCA cables and Pure Copper cables. CCA (copper-clad aluminum) cables are made from an aluminum base on which a layer of bare or pure copper is coated. The bare copper coating is plated to make the cable more efficient and easy to install. Whereas pure copper cables are made from the same element (copper) throughout the cable’s length and cross-section.

Pure copper cable is far better in quality compared to the CCA cable. That is the reason why every networking expert will recommend bare copper cables. Also note that for PoE, PoE+/++ applications, only bare copper cables can be used. Using the CCA cables for these applications could cause a fire hazard.

In this article, we will walk you through the differences between the CCA and bare copper cables. Be sure to read till the end.

The bare copper cables are the most efficient in both low-voltage and high-voltage cabling. Efficiency in ethernet cables is measured by how little the data packets are lost. When used for power over ethernet applications, efficiency also means how little or no heat is produced due to the flow of higher voltages along the cable.

List of Differences Between CCA and Pure Copper Cables

  1. CCA cables are made from an aluminum base with pure copper cladding on top whereas pure copper cables are made entirely from copper.
  2. In ethernet applications, CCA cannot be used for PoE but pure copper cables are ideal for PoE, PoE+, and PoE++.
  3. CCA cables are rather brittle and can overheat. Pure copper cables are pliable and can withstand high voltages without heating up.
  4. Pure Copper Cables are easy to install as compared to the CCA cables.
  5. CCA Cables are relatively cheaper than pure copper cables.

Best Pure Copper Cables

As you would have noticed above, the pure copper cables are much better in terms of performance, safety, ease of installation, etc. Except for the cost, almost all pure copper cables are better than the CCA cables. Let’s now take a look at the best pure copper ethernet cables.

Bulk Cat5e Plenum Pure Copper

This ethernet cable is an enhanced version of Category 5 ethernet cables. Wrapped in a heavy-duty plenum jacket, it can be installed anywhere from indoor horizontal runs to outdoors.

Its bare copper conductors are ideal for high-performance, relay data at up to 1 GBit/s over 100 meters with a 350 MHz bandwidth. The cable is easy to install and is shipped in an easy-to-pull box. And finally, it supports fast ethernet, gigabit ethernet, PoE, and PoE+/++ applications.

The conductors of the cable are solid copper. It means that they are not only made from pure copper but that they are made from a single piece of metal. It is easy to install outdoors as compared to installing it indoors. Moreover, the solid cable can keep better signal integrity than its stranded counterparts.

Bulk Cat5e Riser Pure Copper

The riser-rated Cat5e Ethernet cable runs 24 AWG pure copper conductors. There are 8 conductors in total which are twisted into 4 pairs. The twists help keep the EMI out of your network.

The fundamental difference between the above-mentioned Cat5e Plenum Pure Copper Cable is the cable jacket. This cable features a communication multipurpose riser jacket. This jacket is designed for indoor vertical runs, but it can also be used outdoors. For example, in indoor use, you can install it within doors, between floors, inside elevator shafts, etc.

The cable can withstand heat and humidity and other kinds of environmental extremities without catching fire. Although the cable is not specifically designed for outdoor use, it can be used because of its features.

If you need a pure copper cable for your home or similar kinds of use, the Cat5e riser is a great option. It is affordable, high performing, and long-lasting.

Cat6a Riser Pure Copper

The riser-rated pure copper Cat6a cable is intended to be used in high-performance applications. Not only is the cable highly safe for use in all applications, but it also offers a voluminous bandwidth and transmits data at lightning speeds.

The communications multipurpose riser (CMR) jacket, as mentioned earlier, is made from materials that are highly resistant to heat and other kinds of extreme environmental conditions. This makes the cable installable in indoor vertical runs as well as outdoors. Although, you must note that the cable jacket can emit toxic smoke in case of a fire hazard. Therefore, you must not install it in indoor open spaces or plenums.

In any case, the riser-rated Cat6a cable can transmit data at up to 10 GBit/s over 100 meters with a whopping 750 MHz bandwidth capacity. It can also support all kinds of ethernet applications, such as power over ethernet. Use it to patch your devices or entire structured LAN. The pure copper cable will function smoothly.

Bulk Cat6a Plenum Pure Copper Cables

The bulk Cat6a plenum cables feature 4 twisted pairs of unshielded pure copper conductors. The outermost layer of the cables is wrapped in plenum jackets. These jackets are ideal for heavy-duty performance. Whether you need the cable for outdoor extreme weather conditions or indoors, these cables can handle all situations.

These cables are available in multiple colors to choose from. The twists in the conductor pairs ensure minimum electromagnetic interference. And the 23 AWG wires are terminated in RJ45 connectors and Keystone Jacks.

Best CCA Cables

Well, certain things are not debated about ethernet cables. One of them is that the bare copper cables are better than the CCA cables. However, in some instances, choosing CCA cables might be a good idea. They are affordable and offer fairly decent performance. Let’s take a look at the best of them.

Bulk Cat6 Plenum CCA Ethernet Cable

Bulk Cat6 Plenum cable features 23 AWG conductor pairs. The 4 conductor pairs (8 wires in total) are made from aluminum and feature 100% pure copper cladding on top of it. Pure copper cladding is intended to enhance the performance of the cable both in terms of data transfer speed and physical performance, e.g. withstanding harsh weather‌.

The cable has a 1 GBit/s data transfer speed and offers a 550 MHz bandwidth capacity. Although the cable can handle high-performance applications, in theory, it should only be used for low-voltage applications. Because if the CCA conductors heat ‌up, it could cause a fire hazard.

Cat6 Riser Cable 1000ft CCA

The riser-rated cable is ideal for indoor vertical runs. As you have probably noticed that the cable jacket is the primary factor that defines where a cable will be installed or used. Here, the CCA Cat6 riser cable is to be installed in indoor vertical runs because of the riser jacket.

Like other riser cables, this cable can also be used outdoors. But if you want to run this cable outdoors for PoE applications, this is not the ideal option. For example, if you need to connect to an outdoor IP security camera, you will need a pure copper cable.

Are Pure Copper Cables Worth It?

When you compare the pure copper cables with CCA, the pure copper cables triumph in every aspect except their price. Their price is far higher than the CCA cables’. This should raise a question in your mind: Are the pure copper cables even worth it?

The short answer is yes. And the relatively longer answer is this: CCA cables are cheaper than pure copper cables, but the latter last far longer than the former. This translates directly into the best value for money. Meaning that buying the pure copper cables is an investment, whereas buying the CCA cables is a liability.

The CCA cables are a safety hazard. You never know when they will spark a fire. The plenum and riser jackets in which they are wrapped are quite durable but you still don’t want your cables causing a fire. Or do you?

Which one do You Need? CCA or Pure Copper

In most cases, you will need pure copper cables. But in a select few instances, you will also need the CCA cable. Although we recommend buying pure copper ethernet cables from your nearest store.

To reiterate, you will almost always need pure copper cables. But say you need to connect to a stereo system outdoors for a short time. In cases like this, you can buy the CCA cable because you know for certain that you will not be using it for a long time. You can just buy any ethernet cable near you and run it.

How To Buy Pure Copper Cables?

There are two ways in which you can buy pure copper ethernet cables. Both are quite easy. First, you can just visit any store near you and buy it from there. And second, you can buy the ethernet cables online.

But in both cases, you will need knowledge about the various types of cables available in the market. We will help you with that.

There are three main categories of ethernet cables that you can choose from as a regular user or a business. If you need the cables for a data center, you will know that Cat8 is the cable. And for others, we recommend buying one of the Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a.

Cat5e is for the basic requirements and Cat6a ethernet cable is for rather advanced (but still less advanced than data centers).

Pure Copper Cables vs CCA Cables: Pros and Cons

Both the pure copper and the copper-clad aluminum cables come with their pros and cons. Pure copper cables, although high-performing, are more expensive. The CCA cables are brittle but they are lighter and easy to carry as well. Similarly, for every benefit of using pure copper and CCA cables, there is a disadvantage. These disadvantages do not make the cables useless though. But they do bring down their efficiency, a little bit perhaps.

Let’s take a thorough look at the pros and cons of using CCA and Pure Copper Cables.

Pros of Using CCA Cables

  • Fairly easy to install
  • Affordable
  • Decent Performance
  • Light and easy to handle

Cons of Using CCA Cables

  • Brittle
  • Could be tricky to install
  • Overheat in heavy-duty applications
  • Not suitable for Power Over Ethernet

Pros of Using Pure Copper Cables

  • Easy to Install
  • Pliable and Corrosion Resistant
  • Highly efficient
  • Supports PoE
  • Best for Heavy-Duty Applications
  • Solid signal integrity
  • Long-lasting

Cons of Using Pure Copper Cables

  • Relatively pricey
  • Heavier

Buy Pure Copper Ethernet Cables Near You

A local area network is most functional when established with pure copper ethernet cables. If you are planning to have one at your home or office, be sure to run the pure copper ethernet cables such as the Cat5e, Cat6, or Cat6a. You can buy the cables at your nearest store. And these days the cables are offered at market competitive prices. Also, you can have them directly at your doorstep by ordering online.

Whether you buy ethernet cables from a store near you or online, just be sure to buy the pure copper cables. They will last longer, perform better, and are safe.

Smartech Cables

Are you looking for innovative ethernet cables or accessories? Check out Smartech Cables. We are the industry leader in manufacturing and distributing networking cables and accessories of the highest standards. Our products exceed the industry limits and our prices are market competitive. If you need help, our professional customer support team is available at sales@smartechcables.com.