Make Your Own Network Cabling CAT-5e / CAT-6

Network Cable Creation Items Needed

Basic Shopping List:

* Crimping Tool (With Cutters)
* CAT-5e Bulk Cable (any length that you need)
* CAT-5e Caps (2 for this demonstration)
* Scissors / Cutting Tool

Other Advanced:

* Cable Tester

For you convenience I added some eBay links below to show you where to get these accessories for the least amount of money. You will pay more in a store than at eBay, but this should give you a gauge to go by if you must purchase at a retail chain. You don't have to buy the exact models below, keep in mind though if you are getting into cable creation frequently, then it may be wise of you to purchase the better models/quality of equipment.

Network Project Overview

The Materials

The image above shows the crimping tool, a small length of CAT-5e cable, and two wire caps. There are other types of cables that can be used for networking such as CAT-5 and CAT-6, they both come with their limitations and benefits. I am using CAT-5e for this demonstration because it was a scrap piece I had lying around.

The image below shows that we are cutting the protective housing away from the internal twisted pairs by about 3/4″. When you cut the sleeve back, be sure you don’t damage or slice the internal wires. The crimping tool that I am using has a place to cut the wire with a built-in razor. Take your time when first practicing this, otherwise you will find yourself doing it over and over due to damaging the other wires.

Cutting Wire Housing

Cutting Outer Wire Housing
Cutting Outer Wire Housing

Wire Pairs at Unequal Lengths

Wire Pairs at Unequal Lengths
Wire Pairs at Unequal Lengths

Putting the Wires In Order

As seen above and below is the internal twisted pairs. Not shown, but when you first pull the outer sleeve off you will notice that the wires are twisted together in sets of the same like colors. You will need to put these wires in order according to the 568a or 568b TIA standard for a thru-put data wire. In this demonstration we are using the 568b standards as followed from left to right.

Orange Stripe (or lighter color)
Orange Solid
Green Stripe (or lighter color)
Blue Solid
Blue Stripe (or lighter color)
Green Solid
Brown Stripe (or lighter color)
Brown Solid

As you can see there are four pairs and a total of 8 wires. When you are done putting these wires in order you may see that they are not quite equal in length at the tips. This is why I said to cut the outer sheathing back 3/4″. You will need to cut with a pair of scissors strait across the wires about 1/4″ down to even them out. They will still not be perfect, but will allow for a nice insertion in the RJ-45 cap.

Pairs Cut to Equal Lengths

Pairs Cut to Equal Lengths
Pairs Cut to Equal Lengths

Placing Wires in Cap

Placing Wires in Cap
Placing Wires in Cap

Inserting Wires into the Cap

As seen in the image above I have inserted the wires into the RJ-45 cap. This can be a little tricky, but with practice it become much easier. Be sure to double check your wire color order, other wise when you crimp the cap as seen below, you will have to cut it off to re-do the order again. It is good practice to verify the wires are all equally pressed to the end of the cap. Being at all sloppy on this part of the project will result in likely bad data throughput.

Crimping Cap and Wires

Crimping Cap and Wires
Crimping Cap and Wires

Do the Same Thing All Over for the Other End

Repeat the process for the other end of the cable if you are creating a patch cable. Otherwise, you have finished the job and need to test your work by using a cable tester or an old network hub to another and see if the lights light as it should indicate per the operating manual. The key to crimping right the first time, is simply pay attention to the color coding and take your time. Speed will come with practice, otherwise you will be finding yourself cutting off cable ends and re-crimping a lot. Hope this hub was helpful and practical for your first do-it-yourself network cabling project.

Terminated CAT-5e Wires

Terminated CAT-5e Wires
Terminated CAT-5e Wires

© 2014 Ryan Hutzel

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Thoughts? Comments? 1 comment

Lark 23 months ago

Finnidg this post. It's just a big piece of luck for me.

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