How to Connect an Ethernet Cable.Ethernet cables remain the fastest and most reliable form of computer networking. Cables are cheap, but often you will need a cable of a different length than what is commercially available.By splicing an Ethernet cable, you can cut it to length, join two cables together, and even repair damage to the cable or plugs at both ends.
Ethernet Cable Basics
First, let’s get acquainted with the nomenclature. Ethernet network cables (sometimes simply called “network cables”) come in several varieties. The most common types for home use on Amazon or any hardware store are Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a. They represent various variants of cable technology that increase the speed and reliability of data transmission.The “Cat” part means “Category”. Cat5e is an enhanced version of the basic Cat5 cable. Cat 5e and Cat6 provide gigabit speeds, while Cat6a can provide 10 gigabit speeds over shorter distances. Cat6a can support 10 Gbps speeds up to 100 meters, while Cat6 can only support up to 55 meters. The type of cable you use will determine your data transfer speed and affect your Internet connection and LAN connection performance.At the base of an Ethernet cable, you’ll find a bundle of tiny twisted-pair wires. These conductors are color-coded wires that allow data to be transferred from one end of the cable to the other.Each end of an Ethernet cable usually has an RJ45 plug. This plug, similar to a large telephone jack, is the part that physically connects to your devices, such as your router or computer. Telephone lines use RJ11 plugs.
To connect an Ethernet cable, you will need a few basic tools:
- Crimping tool
- RJ45 connectors
- Ethernet cable (the one you want to connect)
- Cable stripping tools
To check connections you will need a network cable tester. This little device will tell you if the connections in your newly spliced cable are working properly. You can get by without a cable tester, but that means you’ll only know if your cable is spliced correctly when you connect it.You can get everything you need by purchasing a crimping tool kit that includes wire cutters. Plus, many crimping tools have built-in wire strippers so you don’t have to pay for them separately.
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Connect Ethernet Cables
YEGWE RJ45 Crimping Tool
Step 1: Prepare the cableFirst, use wire cutters to cut off the damaged ends of the Ethernet cable. You need clean, undamaged wires to work.
YEGWE RJ45 Crimping Tool
Use cable strippers to carefully remove about 2 inches of the outer jacket at each end of the cable, exposing the color-coded twisted pair conductors inside.Step 2. Unwind the twisted pair conductors Carefully unwind the color-coded twisted pair strands. Typically you will find eight wires in four pairs. Align them according to the Ethernet cable color code.T568A Standard Wiring Color Code:⦁ Contact 1: white/green⦁ Contact 3: white/orange.⦁ Contact 7: white/brown. T568B Standard Wiring Color Code:⦁ Contact 1: white/orange.⦁ Contact 7: white/brown. The most common circuit is T568B, but you can use any of them as long as you use it in series. The cable you are splicing is probably using T568B, the preferred wiring diagram for new network installations in the US.Many crimping tools have these wire guides printed on the body so you don’t have to remember them.Step 3: Connect the RJ45 ConnectorsThe next step involves adding new RJ45 connectors to each end of the cable. Use a crimping tool to secure the connectors to the cable. Before crimping, make sure the color-coded wires are correctly positioned inside the connectors. This is critical to maintaining a reliable Internet connection. This is just a general description of the process, you should follow the instructions for your specific crimping tool. Some may even contain a link to a full video demonstrating how to use them. We strongly recommend viewing any such video if available. Step 4. Check the connection After installing the RJ45 connectors, use a network cable tester to ensure proper connections. Each LED on the tester corresponds to a wire on the Ethernet cable. If all the lights come on, congratulations! You have successfully connected the Ethernet cable. If you don’t have a cable tester, connect the cable to a couple of network devices. The best option is to connect a client device (for example, a laptop) to the router. The cable is usable if the connection works and you can establish it.
Advanced splicing methods
The above method is the simplest way to splice Ethernet cable, suitable for shorter lengths and non-critical connections. However, more advanced methods are needed when you need to connect two cables over a greater distance or when working with more specialized types of cables such as coaxial or fiber optic.
Edit Bars: Organized and Perspective
A patch panel is another advanced method used when multiple Ethernet cables need to be bundled together. It is typically found in office settings or extended home networks. Patch panels have multiple ports for connecting multiple patch cables.
Typical process for connecting a patch panel, in this case for the iWillLink 24-port patch panel
The process here involves connecting the ends of the Ethernet cables to the back of the patch panel. The front side, in turn, is used to send data where it needs to go, using patch cords. The great thing about patch panels is that they make complex cables easier to manage and can be adapted for future changes or additions.Patch panels are reminiscent of old telephone switch boxes, in which operators physically connect lines using short patch cords.
Using Keystone connectors and connectors
The Keystone connector is a snap-on housing that houses an RJ45 connector. These connectors can be mounted to a wall plate or patch panel, creating a permanent and secure connection.
UGREEN RJ45 connector
On the other hand, connectors are used to directly connect two Ethernet cables. They are equipped with RJ45 female ports on both ends. While connectors may not be the best solution for high-end networks due to potential signal loss, they are useful for quickly troubleshooting problems or extending the range of an existing cable in non-critical applications. For example, if you want to connect a Smart TV or NAS at home, you’ll be fine with a slightly slower connection.
Direct splicing of Ethernet cables without a connector
Although a connector provides a convenient way to connect two Ethernet cables, they can also be connected directly without a connector. However, direct splicing requires much more attention to detail and dexterity. You will need a steady hand, basic soldering skills and a soldering iron!The steps are essentially the same as for a basic connection, but things change once you’ve stripped and unwound all eight wires on both ends that you want to connect together.Once the wires are unrolled and aligned, twist the corresponding color coded wires from each cable. Make sure that each wire of one cable is tightly twisted with the corresponding wire of the other cable. This ensures a secure connection and accurate data transfer.After twisting the wires, apply a little solder to each connection. Soldering strengthens connections and provides better conductivity, ensuring minimal signal loss. Be sure to use the correct size soldering iron and avoid oversoldering, which can cause a short circuit.Once you’ve soldered all the connections, it’s time to isolate them. Wrap each connection individually with electrical tape to prevent short circuits. After wrapping each splice, you can combine the entire group into one cable. Duct tape is not a permanent solution, so you may want to purchase heat shrink insulation instead.
Working with coax and fiber optic cables
An extended Ethernet network sometimes uses coaxial or fiber optic cables. These types of cables carry data differently than standard UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cables such as Cat5e or Cat6 cables, which require different splicing methods.Splicing coaxial cable involves using a specially designed cable stripping tool to expose the inner conductor. You will then crimp the new coaxial connector. A coaxial connector can then be used to connect the two cables. When it comes to fiber optic cables, it’s a completely different game. These cables transmit data in the form of pulses of light, and splicing them together involves a process called welding. This process uses heat to melt or “weld” two fiber optic cables. This is a delicate and precise process that ensures minimal signal loss and is usually best left to professionals or those who have been trained to do so. It is unlikely that you will have fiber optic cable in your home. However, this is an elite business territory.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) and adapters
Sometimes you can transfer data and power over an Ethernet cable.This is known as Power Over Ethernet (PoE). It is typically used for devices such as IP cameras or Wi-Fi access points in locations where a separate power source is not available due to the lack of suitable electrical wiring.When connecting a PoE cable, it is very important to make sure that the DC power pins are connected correctly, as they will carry power to your device. Special PoE adapters are available to simplify this process. For exact information, please refer to this PoE pinout guide.You can quickly destroy your network equipment by accidentally sending power where it shouldn’t go, so if you have any doubts, it’s best to pay a professional to make custom length PoE cables for you.
Learning how to connect an Ethernet cable is a useful skill, although most people only have to do it a few times in their lives. If you don’t plan to do many splices, it’s cheaper to pay for new cables in custom lengths. Crimping tools and network testers are expensive to justify a one-time DIY project.
How to Connect an Ethernet Cable
How to Connect an Ethernet Cable