fireTEK was the first professional system designed to use the Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables in 2010. There are many advantages to the UTP cables:
With only 8 wires UTP cables are more flexible than other cables DB-25 or CEN50 connectors with 25 or 50 wires per cable. And if necessary, repairing a 8-wire cables is significantly easier than a 25-wire cable.
Many users find their cables last for multiples of shows, but like any cables around environments with fire, there is a chance of damage. The fireTEK system will function with any 8-conductor cable with RJ45 connectors at either end. This includes Foiled Twisted Pair (FTP) and Shielded Twisted (STP) cables or even armored network cables.
The UTP cable is very affordable. This is not due to lack of quality, but due to the sheer volume of UTP cable produced, used, and sold. For example, a 25ft cable can be purchased for less than $4. Another money saver with the UTP cables is rails can be positioned at coinvent locations precluding the need for lengthy igniters or extensive scab wiring.
UTP cable is very easy to customize to any length desired. Additional protection can easily be add over the UTP cables, if needed for certain applications.
UTP cable is easily sourced almost anywhere in the world and carried by many physical and on-line stores which makes it both easy to source and find emergent replacements (but it is also very affordable to carry a few spare UTP cables).
They are very fast and convenient to connect and disconnect which aids in both setup and dismantling of a show when it may be dark. And with the real-time monitoring and backlit LCD screen on the firing modules you immediately know you have a solid connection.
It is recommended to purchase certified CAT5 or CAT6 cables with stranded 24AWG or larger wire at the low to medium price range. The higher data speed ratings do not make a difference in this application. It is recommended that cables be tested with a UTP cable tester or directly with the fireTEK system for proper continuity.