What is the difference between data cabling being qualified versus certified?
Before we answer that question, first we have to ask why do we need to check our data cable quality?
As technology advances and network speed becomes more and more important for not only quick access but reliable up time, the quality of your network cabling can affect both the speed and the stability of your intra and internet.
We have have been repeatedly asked by various clients why our cabling proposals are a little more expensive than their contractor’s or electrician’s quotes. The answer to that is simple. Data and Voice cabling cannot be treated like regular electrical copper lines. Interference from electromagnetic lines, breaks in the connection, improper termination and poor workmanship in laying the cable can all affect the quality of the network transmission. You cannot simply patch a broken, cut or crimped data cable like you can with an electrical cable. Data cabling transmits much lower voltages and are much more sensitive to fluctuations in those voltages than regular electrical components.
To that end, we have testing equipment which can determine not only the quality of the cable but also its ability to transmit different size data packets. This ensures that the network can handle the requirements of today’s high speed computers and intra/internet bandwidth.
So back to our original question, what is the difference between qualification versus certification when it comes to testing a network?
Ideal Industries Inc who manufacturers both types of equipment released an information guide about it and explained it like this:
Certification of network cabling is done to a TIA-568-B/A or ISO 11801 specification. This includes a series of transmission tests and includes an electrical standard that guarantees the cabling can support the transmitted data.
Qualifcation performs all the same transmission tests except WITHOUT the electrical component.
What this means is that a cable that is run and qualified can potentially support full speeds but will NOT be certified (and therefore not be warrantied or guaranteed) by any manufacturer.
In the small business world, this means very little where budget and the end result is what dominates the market.
Since certifying usually costs a premium, most small businesses will suffice with qualification as the end result is most likely the same. If their network performs to their perceived expectations, it doesn’t matter that actual statistics say.
If you would like more information, please contact us anytime.
If you liked this article, you might also be interested in Why you should NOT let your electrician run your data cabling!
You can visit Ideal Industries here.