Just because a network is low-voltage doesn’t mean it’s low-maintenance. The IT of offices and data centers don’t overlook the intricacies of low-voltage cabling requirements as it could end up an electrical fire hazard. Check out the differences between riser and plenum cable to determine which is best for your cabling needs.
Terms To Know When Considering the Two
When delving into the world of low-voltage cables, you’re bound to run into a slew of acronyms. Here’s a list of common cabling terms. You’ll find terms for cables that are best for plenum and riser spaces as well as features that help keep network environments safe.
- CL/CM/CMG Cables: If you’re investing in wires with this terminology, know they aren’t suitable for commercial use in riser or plenum networks. They’re for residential-grade or general-purpose cabling.
- CMR Cables: CMR stands for communications riser, which is approved for riser areas.
- CMP Cables: CMP stands for communications plenum. They are approved for both riser and plenum spaces.
- NFPA: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) established the National Electrical Code and holds different industries accountable for fire safety standards.
- NEC: The National Electrical Code, also known as NFPA 70, was created to ensure electrical safety in commercial, residential, and industrial buildings.
If an application requires installation within a vertical riser or is designated for an area that’s specifically a non-plenum environment, you’ll use riser cables (CMR). An example of an appliance that uses riser cabling would be your HVAC system.
Many HVACs use ducted-return configuration, as separate ducts are used to recirculate air to the system instead of using the entire space above the drop ceiling. This curtails the chances of smoke and fumes spreading through the HVAC system and damaging cables.
Plenum cabling, or CMP, uses polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or fluorinated ethylene polymer (FEP) for its jackets’ composition. They’re highly durable and fire resistant, emitting fewer toxic fumes than other plastic polymers.
While you can substitute plenum cables for riser cables in a riser-designated space, you can’t replace plenum-rated cables for riser-rated cables in a plenum-designated space.
The Main Difference
Juxtaposing the differences between riser and plenum cable, you’ll find that the standout difference is the fire resistance of their jackets. Since plenum jackets are manufactured with a greater fire resistance, they promote a lower risk for an electrical fire than riser cables, therefore more expensive. However, riser cables are still the safer option over general-purpose wires.
Whatever your budget, CableWholesale has you covered. Our bundles of cat5e plenum cables make fire-resistant cabling affordable. If you have any questions setting up your optimal network, get in touch with a member of our staff today.