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Plenum and Riser Communications Cables: UL Safety Research

An in-depth examination of the safety risks created by the use of counterfeit, uncertified and self-certified communications cable.

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At first glance, all communications cables might appear the same. However, cables manufactured using deficient manufacturing processes and substandard materials pose a significant safety threat. Without third-party certification, which includes such activities as evaluation of the materials and construction as well as testing and surveillance, noncompliant cables running through a structure can actually accelerate the spread of smoke and flame. Unfortunately, it has become difficult for installers to differentiate counterfeits from certified communications cable.

As a vital measure of protection for our own certification marks, UL provides a holographic label for each cable that we have tested and certified, Anthony Tassone, UL principal engineer, told a reporter from Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

“It has multiple security features similar to the technology used in U.S. currency, with embedded code and proprietary color-changing ink, which can be authenticated using a business-card-size reader that is available from UL and CCCA1.”

This whitepaper provides insight on:

  • Requirements of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70, National Electrical Code®, and ANSI/UL 444, the Standard for Safety of Communications Cables. UL 444 is a binational consensus standard for the U.S. and Canada.
  • The potential safety risks associated with counterfeit communications cables used in plenum and riser spaces.
  • How to identify certified cables.
  • What our market survey reveals about the dangers posed by self-declared (unlisted) cables.

Explore the results of our research on this urgently important topic now. Download our whitepaper Plenum and Riser Communications Cables – The Importance of Certification by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.


  1. Cabling Installation & Maintenance, “How smart infrastructure can become dangerously dumb,” accessed 7/26/2021.
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Plenum and Riser Communications Cables - The Importance of Certification by a NRTL

6.76 MB

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