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Are All Plenum Cables Alike?

When you're selecting plenum cable for your network, it's worth your time to evaluate the overall fire safety of the insulation.

Perhaps you've heard that some cables may not consistently meet smoke generation and flame spread standards. Many of these cables are made with compounded polyolefin-based insulations that can require additives to meet the test standards for flame spread and smoke. There's evidence that many compounded products may contribute to marginal and variable plenum cable fire performance.

In addition, such compounded insulations add significantly to the quantity of fuel that cable contributes in a fire. In many building plenum spaces, new network cable is installed over multiple layers of old cable, and there is growing concern about the amount of fire load these cables represent.

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, these compounded insulations, even with additives, are combustible and can contribute up to eight times as much fuel value as insulation of Teflon™. In contrast, by these same NFPA standards, Teflon™ fluoropolymer resin meets the low fuel load requirements for the limited combustible designation. Unlike compounded insulations, Teflon™ needs no additives to meet fire safety standards. It has inherently good fire and smoke characteristics that help cables meet code and insurance requirements by a comfortable margin, whether they're tested today or ten years from now.

Unvarying superior performance without additives and low fuel contribution to your building are two more reasons to insist on cable insulated 100% with Teflon™.

Abandoned Communications Cable

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Limited Combustible Cable

Several leading cable manufacturers have begun to address the cable fuel load problem using innovative fluoropolymer materials to create limited combustible cabling (now available in 4-pair UTP, fiber and coaxial formats).

Limited combustible cables meet all primary NFPA fuel load, flame spread and smoke generation requirements for materials exposed to the airflow. They are also more easily recycled. What's more, as cable is removed, there are now new recycling options to capture the plastic waste streams and reuse them in new cable constructions. » More