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  • Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

    I wrote a Blog entry with pictures on terminating Cat5 cables.

    Part 1 is an intro and male terminations:
    http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/blog.php?b=34

    Part 2 is on female terminations:
    http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/blog.php?b=35

    There are pictures of Ideal crimp and punchdown tools, and Leviton QuickPort connectors.

  • #2
    Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

    All I can say as a old retired Telephone guy is "Wow"! You bought the right cable, connectors, tools and jacks. You put everything together neatly and properly. Very impressive, keep up the great work.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

      Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
      All I can say as a old retired Telephone guy is "Wow"! You bought the right cable, connectors, tools and jacks. You put everything together neatly and properly. Very impressive, keep up the great work.
      Thanks! I'm glad you approve. Before posting, I was a bit nervous, because I knew you would be able to find any flaws. But at the same time I was also hoping that you would, because someone who does stuff like this every day is going to have the right knowledge.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

        You are very welcome. Trust me the level of detail you've showm would put many professionals to shame. I find this true when you have people like yourself who are detail oriented and patient in the task they undertake as opposed to the professional who may sometimes get bored or lazy with the work he or she does. There's an old saying that refers to the shoemaker having the worst shoes and unfortunately that can be the case. Cat 5 was just coming into use when I retired and I have only done several installs.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

          Thanks CPW... I have terminated my share of Cat5. I build cable we use for the networks we run at trade shows. I really enjoy it in small doses.

          Excellent Blog Entry

          Josh

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

            Hey CPW. Good job there. Very nice finish on crimping the RJ-45 male plug. Those are annoyingly hard to consistantly get done right. I hope you don't mind a few pointers that you can use in the future or add to the blog. I've worked in huge cat 5 wiring projects before.

            One of the most important little details is that there is solid core and stranded core Cat5/6 cable. Only use solid core for patch panel and RJ-45 jack terminations. Basically on any termination that ends in a 110 punch. If you use stranded cable here it will fray when pressed between the two termination blades resulting in a poor connection. For male plugs and crimp connections you need to use stranded core. The main reason for this is the RJ-45 crimp connectors consist of a blade that splices into the center of the stranded cable for a good connection. If you use solid cable the blade can't dig in to the solid wire. It sort of deflects off to either side once again resulting in poor contact. There's also the issue that stranded is almost only exclusively used for patch cables which get bent around a lot. Solid core will not only be a lot more difficult to work with but it will deteriorate or break very quick. The tiny wires are not intended to be under constant bending. Imagine it like an extension cord. You don't want solid wire there.

            On store bought patch cables vs making your own, don't buy premade patch cables from electronics stores. They are a massive rip-off. Go to a store that specializes in datacom stuff and they are almost as cheap as making your own. I actually recommend buying vs making them. Simple reason is it's expensive to buy a seperate spool of stranded cable for a few patch cables. Most importantly machine terminated cables are of a lot better quality and termination than hand made ones no matter how good you do it. It's also a lot less of a pain than making them. Remember very small imperfections in termination make big differences in performance and reliability. I only crimp my own when its an unusual size I need.

            Make sure you only untwist under half an inch of cable at the termination point. If you are going to follow any rule this should be #1. The biggest cause of performance deterioration is caused by what is called NEXT (Near End Cross Talk). The twists on the cable are arranged in a way that the magnetic field around the cables interferes in the least possible with the cables next to it. Keep the twist all the way to the very end. Check out the picture below.

            There's one thing I'd like to point out about peeling the outer jacket. I never use wire strippers. The inside wires are too delicate and it's so easy to knick them or even cut right through one without realizing it. If you notice, UTP cable usually has a nylon rope inside the jacket. The purpose is to peel the jacket off manually with it. Take a utility knife to start a small notch along the jacket and then pull the nylon rope to keep ripping it open jacket, then tear off or clip off the excess jacket. This can save you the frustration of not being able to figure out why a connection isn't working. A knick just inside the jacket can be a nightmare to diagnose.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Velosapien; 05-18-2008, 07:47 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

              Thanks, cpw. It's always good to have a primer on cat5. I've done my share of installs, and the detail is good to have to brush up on the process.

              Thanks, Velosapien, for the discussion on solid core vs stranded. I've always used solid for premesis wiring. It can be a bit tricky to install, depending on the runs, but it sure is better for the punch-down.

              Have you ever done Gigabit Ethernet? I've been doing some work on 5e and CAT6. I find that CAT6 is pretty much not worth it, as you can get Gig speeds over Cat5e, and not have to deal with the weird little differences of cat6. GigEth can be easily done with cat5 as long as your wire is real good quality and all the connections are done properly.

              Some Gig switches are a bit flakey on handshaking and will have problems with some printers or other devices. I've found that the better the quality of the equipment, the better the network will work in general.
              I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

                Originally posted by VASandy View Post
                Thanks, cpw. It's always good to have a primer on cat5. I've done my share of installs, and the detail is good to have to brush up on the process.

                Thanks, Velosapien, for the discussion on solid core vs stranded. I've always used solid for premesis wiring. It can be a bit tricky to install, depending on the runs, but it sure is better for the punch-down.

                Have you ever done Gigabit Ethernet? I've been doing some work on 5e and CAT6. I find that CAT6 is pretty much not worth it, as you can get Gig speeds over Cat5e, and not have to deal with the weird little differences of cat6. GigEth can be easily done with cat5 as long as your wire is real good quality and all the connections are done properly.

                Some Gig switches are a bit flakey on handshaking and will have problems with some printers or other devices. I've found that the better the quality of the equipment, the better the network will work in general.
                I also use only the solid conductor Cat5e and get gigabit speeds through it. I use gigabit because it is more convenient re: uplink ports etc. The Netgear line of switches is very good and cost effective. I have a GS108 for my house (and another for my office at work), and you get get one of them for only $100.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

                  The weakest link on any connection is usually the patch cable which is why it's common to invest in very high quality made cables.

                  I haven't worked much with Cat 6 since its fairly new and it's been a while since I've really been involved in any significant way with that kind of work. I have worked with similar products though. Before cat 6 was available and approved as a standard I used some proprietary types of Cat 5e which met proposed Cat 6 specifications. Keep in mind for gigabit ethernet you actually should use cat 6. You can get gigabit connections over good cat 5e but don't think because you have a working connection you are actually getting optimum performance. Cat 5e will only get you a fraction of full performance.

                  There is one thing I learned long ago and it is ALWAYS wire with the best cable you can afford. With technology increasing rapidly every few years you cant get stuck really quick with obsolete wire. The cost of buying better cable is usually somewhat insignificant compared to the cost of ripping it out a few years later and rewiring. About 10 years ago I had to rewire the place I worked in because they thought they would never need to go over 10mbps. They had wired in Cat 3 and 10base2 coax not that long ago. That was an expensive and shortsighted mistake to fix for saving a bit in wiring. Always wire several times over what you immediately need. Something like 80% of installations now are done in Cat 6 so cat 5e should be considered obsolete and on its way out.
                  Last edited by Velosapien; 05-19-2008, 09:27 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

                    When our home was being built, we specified CAT6 cable (and even showed the wiring subs exactly what kind of wire). They pre-wired the entire house with cat6....even the phone plugs!! I guess out here in the boonies they don't get a lot of call for network installs in homes.

                    I'm really glad we went the extra bit to put in the best cable we could. It's proven to be a major benefit as our home network expands. We never thought when building the house that we'd have huge files to push around the LAN. We're also putting apps on the computers that allow for a "render farm" approach. Having gig speeds throughout the network is really handy!

                    Since the in-wall wiring is designed not to be touched, it's best to put in the absolute best you can afford. We discussed putting in fiber, but the expense of the cable combined with the switches required to bridge it to ethernet (you can't generally get fiber cards for most PC's, and the drivers are going to be tricky too), make fiber a bit of a problem. That being said, I'm guessing that in a few years we'll be kicking ourselves for not installing it. Sometimes you do have to compromise a bit. I'm glad now that we have the cat6, but I do wish we had the foresight to install conduits to the upper floors that would allow us to rewire.
                    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Blog Entry on Cat5 Termination

                      Originally posted by Velosapien View Post
                      Hey CPW. Good job there. Very nice finish on crimping the RJ-45 male plug. Those are annoyingly hard to consistantly get done right. I hope you don't mind a few pointers that you can use in the future or add to the blog. I've worked in huge cat 5 wiring projects before.

                      One of the most important little details is that there is solid core and stranded core Cat5/6 cable. Only use solid core for patch panel and RJ-45 jack terminations. Basically on any termination that ends in a 110 punch. If you use stranded cable here it will fray when pressed between the two termination blades resulting in a poor connection. For male plugs and crimp connections you need to use stranded core. The main reason for this is the RJ-45 crimp connectors consist of a blade that splices into the center of the stranded cable for a good connection. If you use solid cable the blade can't dig in to the solid wire. It sort of deflects off to either side once again resulting in poor contact. There's also the issue that stranded is almost only exclusively used for patch cables which get bent around a lot. Solid core will not only be a lot more difficult to work with but it will deteriorate or break very quick. The tiny wires are not intended to be under constant bending. Imagine it like an extension cord. You don't want solid wire there.

                      On store bought patch cables vs making your own, don't buy premade patch cables from electronics stores. They are a massive rip-off. Go to a store that specializes in datacom stuff and they are almost as cheap as making your own. I actually recommend buying vs making them. Simple reason is it's expensive to buy a seperate spool of stranded cable for a few patch cables. Most importantly machine terminated cables are of a lot better quality and termination than hand made ones no matter how good you do it. It's also a lot less of a pain than making them. Remember very small imperfections in termination make big differences in performance and reliability. I only crimp my own when its an unusual size I need.
                      Thanks for the pointers. I also don't use the stranded cable, just because I don't want to buy a separate spool. If you are using "regular" solid core cable for your patch cables, I would suggest to use regular Riser cable and not Plenum. The riser grade cable is much more flexible than the plenum grade and makes a better patch cable.

                      Comment

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