This webinar details how using an LMR® fake or clone cable can cost you more in the long term. These lower-quality cables damage more easily than authentic LMR cables and are prone to faulty components. With the price of replacement materials and labor for reinstallation, any initial savings are gone. Unfortunately, many companies advertise these fakes or clones as LMR replacements or alternatives. View this webinar and learn how genuine LMR cables and connectors can save money over time. you will also learn how to spot a fake or clone, where to purchase authentic LMR cables, connectors, tools, and accessories, and how to report issues with fakes and clones.
Watch the video or read the session notes below.
We introduced the LMR cable line to the market 30 years ago to fill the gap between corrugated cable and RGB cables used at the time. Corrugated cables are low loss cables great for long runs, but very stiff. RG cables are flexible, but tend to have higher loss, minimal shielding, and non-UV resistant jackets. LMR cable is a low loss broadband product designed to be rugged and flexible with a tight bend radius, and also easy to terminate and weather resistant.
When developing LMR cables, we used our extensive experience in military and aerospace applications to create a broadband cable that’s very flexible, easy to terminate, and will hold up to being outdoors. We optimized the cable for electrical performance, mechanical performance, and environmental performance. It’s designed to perform well with flexure and a tight bend radius. The jacket is pressured into the braid to make it difficult for any moisture to migrate through the cable, and each layer of the cable is bonded to each other to help create mechanical stability. There are many additional steps we take when building the cable, but these are some examples of the care taken in the development and manufacture of our LMR product.
An RF interconnect is only as good as its weakest link. This point tends to be the termination between the cable and the connector. With fake or clone cables, the connectors and tools might not be compatible with all the cables, which jeopardizes that connection. The LMR product line has good quality cable, good quality connectors, and tools that are easy to use.
LMR® is a registered trademark of Times Microwave Systems. Anytime you see that LMR trademark, it’s our product. It’s only manufactured by us and sold by us and our licensed distributors.
To verify you’re getting a true LMR cable, look for our name, phone number, and cage code. Purchasing our cable from an authorized distributor will also help considerably.
A fake is basically a counterfeit cable. We see this occasionally, where people will take the text from our LMR cables and print it on their fake cable. It’s a very blatant disregard of the trademark, which we tend to see more offshore and not in the US market. Clones are from manufacturers trying to copy the LMR cable. With these clones, customers often think they’re getting an LMR cable or something just as good, but the quality is not the same.
The quality of the materials and manufacturing process has an impact on performance of the cable. Often we see poor UV resistance due to low quality plastics or even reprocess plastics, which is detrimental for an outdoor application. Chemical foams and poor quality tapes can also impact performance as they degrade over time. Depending on the materials used and the application, building code violations are very important to consider.
There are a number of common failures we see with fake and clone cables. UV resistance, or lack thereof, is a big one. Once a jacket is breached due to UV failure, water can penetrate into the cable along the braid.
The dielectric can break down due to cheaper plastics and chemical foams, which negatively impacts performance. Cheap outer conductor tapes are prone to cracking and greatly impacts insertion loss, leading to poor dimensional tolerances. Connectors are unlikely to fit snugly onto the cable, causing instability, and when flexing the cable the VSWR will be all over the place.
To recap, there are many reasons that can lead to failure of a fake or cloned cable, most of which stem from the poorer quality of materials and lack of manufacturing controls. And if the application has a riser requirement or a plenum requirement, be sure to use a certified listed product.
When buying a genuine LMR cable, you can trace it back to the manufacturer. Our name is on the cable, our phone number is on the cable. If there’s ever an issue with our cable, which over the years there has been from time to time, you can call us and we will support you. These fakes and clones, in almost every case, can’t be traced back to the actual manufacturer for any kind of support.
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