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I am a fairly new networker and today I was terminating some cable at a gas station that is being built. The network cable that had been run from the gas pumps to the wiring closet confused the crap out of me for 2 main reasons.

  1. All the wire pairs were together (for example, the white/blue and blue pair was not 2 separate wires twisted together, it was 1 insulator that had both wires and both colors on it and you had to use a knife to separate them. I had issues with this as it would be too easy to accidentally cut the wire with your knife. (See Picture 1 below where I had separated a little at the top, but before I had pulled the rest apart). This would also sometimes completely pull the insulation off one of the pairs, exposing the wire.

  2. The cable itself is smaller than normal cable, which caused issues with my normal stripper and I had to get creative to strip the cable jacket off.

I had never seen a cable like this before and after working with it, I have decided I definitely do not like it. However, I was wondering if there was some reason that it was designed like this (maybe to do with gas pumps and some legal issue or something).

I also took 2 pictures of the writing on the jacket in case it gives you any clues as to why the cable was like this, but I think I can only have 1 picture at a time.

I tried doing some research, but couldn't find anything, so I figured you guys could help me out.

I am new to stack exchange, so if I accidentally did something I wasn't supposed to, please let me know instead of just down-voting and not telling me why (that happened on my first question a couple months ago).

It is a little blurry, I apologize

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    It’s probably not cat5 cable. – Ron Trunk Sep 5 '18 at 23:05
  • It said cat5e right on the cable. The other 2 pictures would show that, but I can't have more than 1 picture, I guess. – Razgriz Sep 5 '18 at 23:06
  • The picture is too out of focus to be able to tell anything, but, like a lot of other things things, there is a lot of crap cable sold. The cable should also have a manufacturer and part number on it, and you should include that in your question. A cable plant cannot be certified as any particular category, despite the markings on the cable and components, unless it passes a full category test suite after installation (requires an expensive tester, see this answer for the primary tests).. – Ron Maupin Sep 5 '18 at 23:45
  • Ok, I will add one of the 2 pictures of the cable itself when I get to work tomorrow. I do remember it was something like DataTuff or TuffData or something like that. – Razgriz Sep 6 '18 at 1:08
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Belden has made what they now call "bonded pair" category 5 and category 6 cables for over 20 years. Before there was such a thing as Cat 5e, Belden was making an enhanced Cat 5 cable with bonded pairs.

They even make a tool to separate the pairs, the 1797B cable prep tool. Works just slightly slightly better than careful razor knife splitting. I have also used a pair of sharp flush cut pliers to split them.

It definitely slows down termination and occasionally you'll nick the insulation and fail to catch your mistake. But it's quality cable and it has held up well for me.

  • Thank you. Now I understand what it was at least. I have to say, I don't think I am a fan (mainly because of the slower terminations and sometimes the insulation pulling away from the wire), but thanks for the answer. It was just something different I hadn't seen before, so I was curious. – Razgriz Sep 6 '18 at 19:51
  • Glad you found it helpful. I agree, although it is a quality product, I am not a fan either, quality UTP works great without bonding the pairs. – batsplatsterson Sep 6 '18 at 22:04

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