Knockoff REELEX Packages

As is well-documented by the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association, and elsewhere in the wire and cable industry, non-compliant, low-quality and counterfeit cables pose a threat to safety, connectivity performance, and installer liability.

At REELEX, we are well aware of the issue, as most non-compliant and counterfeit cable are packaged on knockoff REELEX machines by manufacturers that are not licensees. These packages pose a threat to REELEX, as they mimic REELEX packages, but perform far worse and can even cause damage to the cable.

Below are what installers, purchasers and distributors should be aware of when it comes to
"pull box" cable packaging.

Knockoff Overview Video

Installer Beware!

Knockoff REELEX packages look the same from the outside, but inside are very different.

The example at left shows a genuine REELEX II coil, and a knockoff coil with a "REELEX II" hole. In this case, the payout tube was actually forced into the coil to make it look like a REELEX II box. Needless to say, this package kinked and knotted almost immediately upon payout.

At right is a "typical" knockoff package compared to a standard REELEX II box. Note the "scrambled" wind pattern and small payout tube.

Below are some warning signs that you may be using a knockoff package and should think twice before trusting the cable.

Think you have a knockoff package? Let your supplier know, then let us know.

1. No REELEX® Trademark

The REELEX trademark is required to be printed on all packages containing REELEX technology. Every package made on a REELEX machine should have a REELEX mark located somewhere on the package. No logo? Think twice about installing that cable!

The Mark of REELEX

Over 100 of the worlds most trusted wire and cable manufacturers use REELEX technology. Like an "Intel Inside" logo, the REELEX trademark signifies that the coil inside is a genuine REELEX coil that will work as expected. Don't see the REELEX logo? Check to make sure your cable is manufacturered by a REELEX licensee. If it's not, think twice about using it. The majority of non-compliant and counterfeit cables use knock-off REELEX packaging. It's one of the first warning signs that the cable you're installing may be problematic or even dangerous!

2. Knotting and Tangling

Most knockoff REELEX machines are incapable of making a clear, precise payout hole in the coil. This means that at some point during payout, a knot is likely to occur. This is because with counterfeit coils, there is high likelyhood that at least one (or many more) loops in the figure-eight can be on the wrong side of the hole. The result is multiple loops and twists in a row, or worse: a knot. Knots often must require dismantling of the package in order to remedy, and often render the package unusable. Multple twists in a row can cause product damage and tension to back up into the coil - leading to kinks and tangles.

Counterfeit Coil

Because knock-off REELEX machines are incapable of making large, clear and accurate payout holes in the coils, each turn of the figure-eight has a random chance of being on the correct side of the payout tube. This causes loops to form on either side of the tube, allowing random twists, tangles and knots to occur during payout.


REELEX machines precision-wind clear, large payout holes in the coil, ensuring that each loop of the figure eight is on the correct side. The loops cancel eachother out inside the coil, allowing for 100% twist and tangle-free payout.

Takeaway Clue: Counterfeit coils do not have precision-wound payout holes, leading to tangles, twists and knotting. These often render the entire package unusable, which must then be scrapped.

3. REELEX I (Small Tube) Use

While many geniune REELEX licensees are using REELEX I for data cables, the majority have switched to REELEX II for its better payout performance, improved box design, and gentler handling of LAN cables. Knock-off REELEX machines cannot produce REELEX II coils, as the payout hole (if any at all) cannot be made big enough. Geniune REELEX equipment can make any size payout hole in the coil, allowing REELEX II to be used easily.

Note: some substandard cable manufacturers have attempted to make REELEX II coils by physically opening up the coil (either by hand or by tool) and forcing a larger payout tube into the hole. This can be catastrophic not only to payout performance, but also puts excessive pressure on the cable itself - leading to cable damage and performance issues.

Knockoff Boxes

Knock-off REELEX coils are incapable of making REELEX II coils. Thus, nearly all counterfeit coils are REELEX I knock-offs (small tube). That being said, some manufacturers have literally forced larger tubes into their coils, often rendering the packages unusable or causing significant damage to the cable.


Most (but not all!) REELEX licensees have moved to REELEX II or EcoCore pacakging for their structured cabling products. While not every manufacturer uses REELEX-branded payout tubes, any package using a payout tube larger than 1.50 to 2.00 inches in diameter (including EcoCore) is effectively using a REELEX II coil.

Takeaway Clue: Counterfeit packages are almost ALWAYS REELEX I knock-offs, which can easily be identified by their small payout tube (<1.00 inches diameter). REELEX II (big tube) and EcoCore packages are now the standard for structured cabling industry-wide, as REELEX II exhibits far better payout performance and places no additional stress on the product. Category 6 in particular should NEVER be in a REELEX I package, as stresses during payout around the small tube can cause issues with product performance.

4. No Clear Hole, "Scramble Wind"

Counterfeit coils often do not have clear, precise payout holes and may appear "scrambled". REELEX coils always have a clear, easily distinguished payout hole.

Counterfeit Coil

Counterfeit coils cannot make a clear, precise payout hole (or make one at all) and are produced simply by having the traverse move faster than the spindle shaft. This essentially creates a "scramble wind". The operator then forces a payout tube randomly into the coil. Not only is this coil not twist-free, but it is very likely to tangle or knot at some point during payout.


REELEX coils are precision-wound, and form a clear payout hole into the coil. This guarantees that every layer is a figure-eight, and thus twist-free. The payout hole also ensures the payout will be tangle and twist-free 100% through the coil.

Takeaway Clue: Counterfeit coils usually look "sloppy" or "scrambled", without a clear pattern. REELEX coils should have a clear criss-cross pattern up to the edges of the payout tube. The layers under the payout hole should all line up - allowing you a clear view into the coil with the tube removed.

5. An Unusually "Flat" Coil

Counterfeit coils typically have an unusually "flat" appearance. REELEX coils always have a "bowl" appearance when viewed from the side, unless significantly compressed.

Counterfeit Coil

Counterfeit coils often use incorrect geometry when coiling on knockoff machines. While we at REELEX understand geometry is vital to proper coil formation, non-REELEX machines will often use incorrect mandrels and endform shapes in order to fit the product into a specific box size. This incorrect geometry can cause payout issues as well as damage to LAN cables.


REELEX machines use precise, mathematically-derived geometry in constructing the mandrel and endform shapes. These shapes are vital in producing precision-wound coils at high speed. They also have effects on tension within the coil, which in turn must be managed in order to have minimal effects on LAN cable electrical properties.

Takeaway Clue: Counterfeit coils tend to be "flatter" than REELEX coils, as they typically use outdated knock-off geometry, or are adapted to fit a desired coil size. REELEX coils typically have a curved or "sloped" surface which is determined by REELEX endforms while the coil winds. That being said, some products produce coils that can be compressed to mimic a flat surface, so use other clues in addition to this one to determine whether a coil is genuine REELEX.

What do I do about it?

Always make sure you look for the REELEX® trademark when purchasing cable. While we at REELEX try to ensure our licensees put the trademark on all of their genuine REELEX packages, sometimes these logos get left off during carton design or graphics changes. So, when in doubt, look for wire manufactured by these brands.

Think you have a counterfeit package or a non-compliant cable? Contact Us and let us know. Send us photos - we may even purchase the box from you to gather evidence for legal action.

Also make sure you stay informed. Some of the latest efforts against non-compliant and counterfeit cable is being headed by the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association.