Monday, March 01, 2010

Cause of return loss in cat5e cable

One of our biggest suppliers asked us to test a sample of cat5e cable - we tried a couple of different RJ45 ends on the cable - a non-name one and Tyco. We ran the same 1000BaseT test on all six cores for both connector types and if you look you'll see that cores 2 & 4 consistently fail on return loss.
I initially thought it must be down to badly terminated ends but the DTX makes a distinction between return loss over the length of the cable and return loss at the remote end (how on earth it works that put is anyone's guess!) - generic RL is therefore all the reflections along the whole length of the cable that impede the transmitter's ability to send a strong signal.

Now then - it's the brown pair in every case - that suggests that the brown pair is sub spec. We didn't test to an ISO standard (because the cable isn't marked with one) so we used a generic gigabit Ethernet test which is a bit more tolerant.

I have to say I think the cable has a manufacturing fault in the brown pair.

With that in mind we stripped out some of the brown pair from core 2 (bad) and core 5 (good) and you can see the twist in the bad pair is much more variable than the twist ratio in the good pair.

So - it seems like the brown pair in cores 2 and 4 is inconsistently twisted compared to the brown in the other cores.

1 comment:

Tania Kevin said...

Thanks for sharing this post.

Cat5 Phoenix