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Data/Upload & Download Speed Testing of Cable Assemblies

Posted by Rick Regole on October 11, 2021 | Updated on March 1, 2023


Cable assemblies are designed to either transmit power, data or signals. To ensure that solutions perform according to the specifications of the intended application, a variety of cable assembly tests are performed during the manufacturing process. Tests can vary depending on the type of cable and the priority level of the application—the more mission-critical the equipment, the more rigorous the testing.

  • Electrical continuity testing: validates the connection strength between two cables.
  • Environmental testing: verifies temperature, ingress, and chemical thresholds.
  • Mechanical testing: evaluates cable and connector resilience to fatigue, such as pulling or flexing.

Cable Assemblies for Data

When it comes to data infrastructure, cable performance largely dictates the efficiency of a network. Data cable assemblies are designed to carry a binary electrical transmission (i.e., 1’s and 0’s transmitted as an electrical signal). The most common data cables used in applications today include:

  • Inner Communication (e.g., cables that connect a hard drive to a motherboard).
  • Network Communication (e.g., an Ethernet cable that connects a computer to an interface).
  • Peripheral Cabling (e.g., a printer or scanner connected to a device through a USB or firewall).
  • Coaxial Cabling (e.g., a data cable used for television communication data).
  • Fiber Optic (e.g., a data cable used for fast data connections, such as a telephony service).

Data Upload & Download Speed

A data cable’s download speed refers to the rate at which a cable moves data from a network to a device (i.e., the rate at which you receive data). A data cable’s upload speed refers to the rate at which a cable moves data from a device to any other location (i.e., the rate at which you transmit data). Numerous factors can affect data upload and download speed, including:

  • Network equipment
  • Infrastructure design
  • Regional constraints
  • Bandwidth
  • Number of users

However, the greatest determinant of data speed is the design of the data cable itself. For example, Ethernet cables pale in data upload/download speed compared to fiber optics. Likewise, a plastic fiber solution is slower and has more losses compared to a fiber optic cable with a fiberglass core.

Data Upload and Download Speed Testing

Data upload and download speed testing are crucial to the end-user experience and the application’s overall success. Data cables can be tested using a few different methods to ensure that the installed cabling links provide the transmission capability to support the quality of data communication desired by users. There are three common types of data upload and download speed testing:

Certification Testing: guarantees cabling system compliance by providing pass or fail information in accordance with specific industry standards, making them one of the most reliable forms of data speed testing available.

Qualification Testing: determines if an existing cable assembly can support defined network speeds and technologies — for example, to enhance network cabling or address problems.

Verification Testing: ensures that data cable assemblies are connected properly and able to perform basic continuity functions. Verification testing may also be used to identify installation defects and troubleshoot connection issues.

Cable Connector Considerations

The design of a high-speed cable assembly has much to do with performance and reliability. As with all cable assemblies, the junction between two cables represents a significant area of potential vulnerability. For this reason, when manufacturing a data cable assembly, details involving the connector solution will require special consideration, such as:

  • Insertion loss
  • Impedance to the signal
  • Termination style
  • Contact method
  • Throughput (relative to footprint)

Not entirely sure what type of data cable and connector solution you need?

Work with a cable assembly manufacturer that offers a broad selection of connectors for high-speed data applications — plus the engineering expertise to help your team determine the best solutions for your network needs with minimal signal degradation.

See our Buyer’s Guide for more information on how to choose the right data cable and connector for your infrastructure.

Buyer's Guide iCONN Systems

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