The RJ45 plug used for ethernet cable termination is of paramount importance.  Its 50 Micron (µ) connector has long been the standard across the UK.  However, cheaper inferior products using as low as 3µ gold flashing are now starting to be promoted and this is a big concern when you consider the longevity of your installed cabling system.

There has always been a great deal of attention paid to the grade of the supplied Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6a cable.  Is it 100% copper with no CCA content?  Does it meet the required industry standards?  Can I use this cable for PoE applications?

When it comes to the termination plug, it’s just as important to ensure that you are receiving 50µ micron connectors for all your patch cables.  After all, whether these are being used between patch panels and active hardware, or from structured cabling jacks to PC’s you must ensure the best possible connectivity.

If RJ45 plugs have a lower micron gold flashing, this will result in them degrading much quicker.  Gold is used in the manufacturing process due to its conductive strengths, so why replace this with a lower grade option that will corrode faster?  This reduces the life cycle of not just the installed cable, but the whole structured cabling installation.  Most cabling systems will have a 10, 15 or even a 20 year manufacturer’s warranty, so why would you install a patch cable that might not stand the test of time.

The thicker 50µ content will protect not only the patch cable but also the connected equipment jacks at either end, hence maintaining a consistent network speed connection for a much longer, whatever the environment.  

We are already seeing a higher demand for smaller and slimmer patch cables for high density patching environments.  At the same time, you’ll need to ensure that the functionality and life cycle of the supplied patch cables are fully considered, especially when being used in dirty or high humidity areas.

Always ask the question. If it’s not 50 micron then our advice would be to consider your options carefully.

Russell Meehan

Operations Director, Patchsave Solutions Limited