We Tested The Top Rated Patch Cables in 2024 - Here’s What We Found

We Tested The Top Rated Patch Cables in 2024 - Here’s What We Found

Written by Don Schultz, trueCABLE Senior Technical Advisor, Fluke Networks Copper/Fiber CCTT, BICSI INST1, INSTC, INSTF Certified


You are taking your mother in for an advanced medical diagnostic procedure. She gets into the medical machine and it starts imaging and scanning. During the procedure you notice a LAN cable that has connected the machine itself to a keystone jack (otherwise known as keystone port) mounted in a wall. Have you ever wondered what would happen to the diagnostics results if the patch cable was bad or “mostly bad”? What would happen if the cable did not pass the testing it is supposed to, but was sold to the hospital as “good enough”? What if a few pixels on the image are out of place or missing that might mislead a doctor? Sounds pretty scary to consider. It might even be scarier to find out that 75% and up of Ethernet patch cords on the market will not pass the test they are supposed to. This is not an exaggeration. Industry sources have been pointing this out for some time, and trueCABLE’s exhaustive testing has revealed this is indeed true. In fact, industry sources likely understated the situation.

To be clear, the hypothetical posed above is an edge case possibility and the stakes you face are likely not quite as dire. More likely you simply want the best Ethernet cable for high speed Internet or the best Ethernet cable for PS5, but I hope the hypothetical situation got your attention in light of the current state of the Cat6 Ethernet patch cable market. Well, here is a personal experience I had…

True Story Time - Read This!

I have personally witnessed the chaos a single bad patch cord introduced into an otherwise perfectly functioning (and Certified) structured cabling system can cause. It caused me hours of head scratching and money. Most people don’t know how to test Cat 6 cable. Fortunately I have a Fluke DSX-8000 and was able to fully run down and get a handle on what was happening. Most people are not nearly as fortunate. Background:

  • Cat6 permanent link installed (keystone to keystone with solid copper Cat6 Ethernet) and Certified to TIA Cat6 Permanent Link +PoE test limits on a Fluke DSX-8000
  • Patch cord at switch end Certified to TIA Cat6 Patch Cord 0.5M test limits
  • Patch cord at remote side, so-called Cat6, which I failed to test prior to installation into a live production network

What happened? The first notice of trouble was the end user complaining of dropped video feeds, happening intermittently. This was for a camera surveillance system and a video decode device was presenting live camera streams of a retail operation. The head end of the installation was the NVR and other network equipment. My first assumption was something in the remote decode device had a momentary lapse of reason so I rebooted it. The issue stopped. Then it started again, almost exactly 24 hours later. Very odd! After replacing that video decode device to no avail, and re-testing the permanent link it dawned on me. I had not tested the mass market patch cord at the remote side. I began unplugging patch cords and the head end patch cord at the switch passed patch cord testing. The permanent link was also good. The remote patch cord failed, miserably, on patch cord testing. In fact the failure was so bad it was sufficient to cause problems on an otherwise good overall channel. This is an example of a sufficiently poor quality patch cord causing hundreds of dollars in equipment replacement and hours of headaches running down all the possibilities. All because the manufacturer did not care what they produced. How is that for a kick in the teeth?

Diagnosis: The patch cord was acting like a capacitor. Every 24 hours (approximately) it was building up an ESD discharge that would then cause upwards of 1 million Tx/Rx frame errors like clockwork when it discharged. This same patch cord passed wire map testing, though….


In this blog we will discuss:

  • What trueCABLE found in the existing patch cord market, as of 2024
  • Provide insights into how and why poor quality patch cords are the weakest link in your LAN cable network and how the issues manifest
  • Compare the performance of trueCABLE’s Cat6 28AWG unshielded patch cable to our competitor’s patch cables (with some interesting variety tossed in)

Patch Cord Mass Market - State of Quality as of 2024

Here is an industry quote:

“To get an idea of equipment cord quality, the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA) completed large-scale, electrical performance testing of Category 6 copper patch cords, which tested nearly 500 samples that included 379 cords from offshore, lesser-known manufacturers and 120 cords from well-known North American manufacturers. Of the 379 offshore patch cords, 322 of them failed electrical performance parameters specified in TIA 568-C.2 standards with 78% failing by a margin of 3dB or more and 45% failing by a margin of 6dB or more. These cords would have likely led to significant network problems once included in the channel. All the patch cords from recognized North American manufacturers showed 0% failure rate.”- Fluke Networks

Also, for two solid years trueCABLE has been testing and validating Ethernet patch cords to find out for ourselves:

  • The current state of quality in the Cat6 patch cable market (spoiler: not good)
  • What other manufacturers are offering and if their claims are accurate
  • How other manufacturers get away with false and misleading claims regarding their Ethernet patch cable quality without having been caught red handed thus far (given what we know to be true)
  • What a “mostly bad” patch cord can do to your data transmission and how it manifests itself (you will be surprised)

…because trueCABLE was in the process of developing our very own 100% Certified and Component Rated Cat6 unshielded Ethernet patch cable. For more on the specifics of our new Cat6 patch cords please see Introducing trueCABLE's New Cat6 Patch Cable - Optimized for High-Performance Network Upgrades in 2024 and Beyond.

If the concept of solid copper vs stranded copper Ethernet cable confuses you, please read What is an Ethernet Patch Cable?

Catch Us if You Can?

The majority of any Category patch cord on the market (especially ones imported from Asia in bulk) will not pass the proper Category patch cord component testing using the proper test device setup in the proper way. They are simply not worth the Category printed on them. Essentially these so-called patch cords are counterfeit by all legal and industry standards.

The Cost of Quality

How do the majority of mass-market patch cords get tested? They get verified at best, but not actually performance tested or truly Certified except perhaps on a percentage basis. That’s a problem, and here is why:

  • Verification testing, even 100% verification testing, only verifies wiremap (as in the conductors are in the correct order at the terminations)
  • Verification testing tells you NOTHING about performance or Category compliance
  • The terminations may pass simple wiremap testing, but terminations are extremely critical and anything amiss will lead to a failure on performance testing and quite possibly lead to bad packets in your network

Verification testing is fast and requires little to no training of factory workers. It’s cheap to do. It keeps costs and thus prices low for the next price war in the market.

Some manufacturers will make a claim to “factory Certify” their patch cords as well. Typically this is performed on a percentage basis. What they are doing is percentage testing 1 out 100, for example, with a real Certification device like a Fluke DSX-8000 but merely verifying wiremap on the rest. This type of percentage testing is completely inadequate and essentially a waste of time. If the concept of Certification is unclear and why it is so critical please see Comparing Keystone Jacks: The Importance of Permanent Link Certification in Structured Cabling for an excellent primer on the subject.

Consider that patch cords are a miniature installation all unto themselves. There is a cable and two terminations (one at each end). The quality of those terminations is extremely critical, and so is termination durability. Everything must be perfect in order to meet the crosstalk and return loss testing criteria. Testing 1 out of 100 is not going to give you usable test results. Well, it will give you usable information on that singular patch cord, but not the rest!

No two patch cords are precisely alike due to manufacturing tolerances. There are multiple points of failure besides the raw Ethernet cable. Here are the challenges at the terminations:

  • 16 golden contacts (2 x 8 at each end) equate to 16 points of failure
  • Lateral movement of the cable back and forth at the rear of the plug puts unseen but electrically measurable stress on those 16 golden contact points
  • Cable boots alone are not enough, the conductors cannot be permitted to shift at the actual golden contacts under any circumstances

If you were to individually Certify each and every patch cord you end up with 100% Certification and Component Rated patch cords. That costs more to do in terms of time and training of factory personnel, results in more scrap, and will raise prices to the consumer. You get a repeatedly good patch cord product, though. Incidentally, trueCABLE’s Cat6 Component Rated patch cords are individually tested with a Fluke DSX-8000 using the correct patch cord test and PCA adapters. One by one. That is why they cost more than the poor quality and improperly tested patch cords.

It costs very little to mass produce and verify patch cords. Replacing such a product costs nothing and is baked into the overall cost structure. The manufacturer would rather replace it then supply you with a good one to start with, and your replacement is just as likely to be as bad if not worse. Maybe you will get a patch cord that will work “well enough”. You get to take the gamble. This sounds like the old game of “catch me if you can”.

The Weak Link - How Poor Quality Ethernet Patch Cords Manifest

So, if you have been buying mass market produced patch cords you are now aware that most of them won’t pass real Category testing to the ANSI/TIA 568-2.D standard. Yet, they seem to work most of the time. Oddly enough, these poor quality patch cables will work well enough up to 1 Gigabit (1000 Mbps) to go unnoticed. These sub-par mass market patch cords have been, until recently, just good enough to evade detection. Well, data transfer rates are increasing. Also, trueCABLE is testing and posting results…

Poor Quality Impacts Upon Home and SOHO LANs

Much consumer equipment is still 100 Mbps (smart TVs and wired printers for example) or using Wi-Fi signaling rather than Ethernet. Most consumers are also only using a single patch cord for the entire communications channel from the router/switch to end device where this issue is less likely to show up. I would like to underscore that unethical manufacturers likely know that and have been taking advantage of it. Only your gaming PC or gaming console is likely to be using a connection that is 1 Gigabit or faster.


Only a small percentage of home consumers leverage a structured cabling system that makes use of patch panels, keystone jacks, and perhaps a media enclosure. However, if you do need to go faster than 1G or use an organized structured cabling system this is precisely where you will start to really take notice of issues. These issues manifest themselves as follows in a smaller home network:

  • Slow Internet speeds that cannot be pinned on your Internet Service Provider
  • Lost connections
  • Intermittent connectivity
  • Lag in streaming your favorite Internet content
  • Lag in gaming, especially competitive gaming
  • Choppy voice calls
  • PoE devices not getting power, or getting power but won’t connect to your network

Making this situation much worse for home networks, the vast majority of home networking hardware is not smart enough to report data transmission errors to help you run down the problem. You are left guessing and endless Internet searching. Often it leads to replaced routers, computers, TVs, and much more when it was simply a poor quality or outright non-working patch cord.

Poor Quality Impacts Upon Medium and Large Scale LANs

If, on the other hand, you are a professional installer and or IT Administrator you will notice a poor quality patch cord much more readily via:


  • Your managed Ethernet switches reporting Tx and Rx errors (dropped frames and/or packets)
  • High speed (above 1 Gigabit) links not achieving the expected data transfer rates. 5 Gbps and 10 Gbps links are especially at risk.
  • Intermittent end user complaints of poor speeds or inability to connect to the wired network
  • PoE powered WiFi AP’s not getting sufficient or intermittent power
  • PoE powered surveillance cameras showing intermittent or failed feeds
  • Bricked devices due to a failed firmware updates, rendering the device useless

IT Admins working with a formal structured cabling system are using (hopefully) already Certified in-wall solid copper Ethernet permanent links and two patch cords to complete the channel. One poor quality patch cord might not reveal itself unless the permanent link had low headroom to start with. Two poor quality patch cords will ruin even an extremely high quality permanent link if they are bad enough.

Considering large scale structured cabling systems are found in major corporations that handle financial data, medical data, and other critical information the last thing you need or want is corrupt data. Equally not wanted is hours of wasted time hunting down an issue that a seemingly simplistic patch cord can cause.

Performance Showdown - trueCABLE’s Cat6 Patch Cord vs Competitors

How do you catch a manufacturer in the act of putting out questionable quality patch cords? That requires an advanced tester and a lot of time. It also requires a willingness to even check at all. Well, we have some results to show you. I spent two years sorting through what is available. It is a horror story, to put it bluntly. What did I find?

Cross Manufacturer Test Findings


  • Most imported patch cords tested do NOT pass patch cord testing on a Certification device, on the order of 80% or higher
  • 90% of the failures were related to faulty terminations that otherwise pass simple wire map testing (verification). Your typical $20 wiremap tester won’t tell you there is a problem. It will pass on this type of tester.
  • There is no rhyme or reason to one patch cord in a bag of 5 actually passing, and the others from the same bag passing or not passing. Zero correlation. All could be bad, only some could be bad, or none at all.
  • Poor quality patch cords that do initially pass out of the bag have a tendency to fail when re-tested with normal bends applied at the terminations. In other words, merely installing it will induce a failure, like when using a patch manager or running them inside modular furniture. The terminations are not sufficiently reinforced to prevent a failure immediately or over time. trueCABLE tested for that with our Cat6 patch cords and they perform well whether bent at the terminations or not.
  • I have examples of “Cat7” and even “Cat8” patch cords not even passing Cat6 patch cord testing (see below!)

Summarized Test Data

summarized data for competitor patch cord testing

*Marginal passes are considered a FAIL by most installers and Certification personnel. This means the sample cable is right on the edge and within the measurement resolution of the tester.

Summarizing, the testing reveals that there are patch cords that don’t deserve the Category printed on them. Aside from the trueCABLE sample Cat6 patch cord, only one other manufacturer’s patch cord actually passed performance testing. That’s not good. A “Cat7” and “Cat8” patch cord did not pass Cat6 performance testing. That’s abysmal. Can it get worse? Well, yes. Yes it can. Those failed “Cat7” and “Cat8” patch cords cost 2X as much as any other.

So the age old questions like is Cat7 cable worth it or is Cat8 overkill might come up. Here is part of the answer in the test results above. Given that neither of these samples can even match the performance of trueCABLE’s Cat6 Ethernet patch cords puts a pretty final point on it. To be clear, there are edge cases where properly functioning Cat8 is worth your investment but the use cases are very narrow. See Cat8 vs Fiber: Which one is best for you? if you wish to read more on that particular subject.

Keep in mind this is only a small sample of the many thousands of patch cords we have tested. These results are representative of what you can expect. No joke.

Who are These Manufacturers?

trueCABLE will not be disclosing the actual manufacturer names. We can only reveal that these are commonly available patch cords. All purchased from Amazon, incidentally.

Pictures of the individual tests (also please see the video for even more detail and commentary):

1- truecable brand patch cable test results shown


2- competitor brand a patch cable test results shown


3- competitor brand b patch cable test results shown


4- competitor brand c patch cable test results shown


5- competitor brand d parch cable test results shown


6- competitor brand e patch cable test results shown


7- competitor brand f patch cable test results shown


If you regularly read blogs in our Cable Academy, you know that you just read one of the most impactful and detailed blogs I have written as of late. This topic is very deserving of the information posted here and my professional take. The issue is not to be underestimated, as speed requirements are increasing on wired LANs due to video streaming of raw video, high speed download needs, and households or businesses with a massively increased number of users on the network. Manufactures have thus far been relatively successful in masking this issue of selling essentially counterfeit cable at ridiculously low prices while price warring with each other. At some point, critical mass is going to strike and the problems will escalate. A simple way of heading this off for yourself? Purchase 100% Certified Component Rated patch cords and you won’t have to worry about these types of issues.



trueCABLE presents the information on our website, including the “Cable Academy” blog and live chat support, as a service to our customers and other visitors to our website subject to our website terms and conditions. While the information on this website is about data networking and electrical issues, it is not professional advice and any reliance on such material is at your own risk.
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