Wiring Network Cables the DIY Way

If you’re planning to wire your own cables, all you need is a little know-how and a whole lot of patience. Ok, so you’ll also need a box or appropriate length of Cat5 twisted pair cabling, a bunch of RJ-45 plug (always get more than you’ll need), and a crimping tool. But that’s it, really.

Without getting into the details of measurements, always make your cables at least 10% longer than you think you’ll need, and measure before you cut – otherwise, Murphy says you’ll always be 10% shorter than you thought, and that’s just a waste. In side a UTP cable you’ll find 8 wires, 4 solid and 4 striped. The solid wires are referred to by their color, for example solid green is just “green”. The striped wires are referred to as “white-color”, or “white-green” for the white cable with the green stripe. Keep that in mind.

After you’ve cut your length of cable (the maximum distance between a PC and a switch is 100 meters, keep that in mind), you need to slice away approximately 1 cm of the outer coating to expose the wires on each end – any more, and the cable is unlikely to function optimally, if at all. After untwisting the individual wire pairs, you need to line them up. The color chart below shows how they should be lined up for a straight cable (both ends the same) and a crossover cable. When creating a crossover cable, wire one end according to the “straight” diagram, and one according to the “crossover” diagram. The diagrams show how the cables show be inserted into the RJ-45 plug with the clip facing down. Before inserted the wires, trim them into a perfectly straight line, being sure you have at least 1 cm of exposure wire available. When you insert the wires into the plug, they should fit into each of the 8 grooves, and touch the far end of the plug when you look inside. If they don’t, you’ll need to try again – this is the patience part.

The last step in creating your cables is crimping them. Never crimp until you are certain that the wires are in the correct order, or your cable will not work, and you’ll have wasted a plug. Trust us when we say that those plugs can get much more expensive that you think, especially if you’re not careful!

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of 2000Trainers.com. He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.