Walk the Spline

May 2007 Reel Time Cabling Business Magazine

Q. Spline or no spline?
In my experience as an installer there has almost always been a center spline in the Category 6 cables. However, in my last installation job, there was no spline, but it was a Category 6 grade cable. Am I walking a fine line when guaranteeing a Category 6 cable’s performance if it depends on a spline or not?
A. In short, Category 6 cables can be manufactured with or without a spline. Luckily in the world of cable, all Category cables must meet industry standards, such as TIA and ISO. These standards assure that all Category 6 cables are compatible with associated networking equipment. However, these standards do not dictate certain detailed particulars of a cable’s construction. So, the difference in the cable design can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s actually the twist factor of the pairs that guarantees meeting specified electrical characteristic; not the spline.
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