CAT 5 Network cable

All too often I need to make a CAT 5 cable. Here is how to make one. First off, there are two standards for CAT5, honestly I see no difference between them other than what color pair is used in what order. I have used EIA/TIA-568A cables in a EIA/TIA-568B wiring system with no problems.

Honestly, I really don't think the electrons flowing through the wires can actually see the color of the insulation! What is important though is that you use the the same standard on one piece of cable. In other words, you can't wire one end using T568A and the other end T568B. This won't work! 

Most Places use T568B wiring.

CAT 5 Cable connection

The diagram on the right is for wiring a CAT 5 connector for a typical patch cable, This view is with the locking tab away from you, and with the gold contacts toward you. Put one of these on each end of the cable.

Another term for this is a "straight through" cable. They are used when hooking up a computer to a hub, or switch.


CAT 5 crossover diagram





 If you need to connect two computers, or two hubs / switches, you would use a crossover cable for that. To make a crossover cable, put a connector like the diagram above on one end, then put a connector wired like the image to the left on the other.



CAT 5 wiring diagram for a patch cable


Now for the other cabling standard, EIA/TIA-568A, use the diagram to the right to wire up your CAT 5 cable. Like before, if you need a patch cable, then you need to put one on each end of the cable.

If you need a crossover cable for this cabling standard, then use the diagram below for the other end.


CAT 5 diagram for a crossover cable












There are also a couple of things to keep in mind when making CAT 5 cables.

1. Don't remove any more of the outer jacket than you have to.

2. the un-twisted part of the wire that will go into the RJ-45 connector cannot exceed 1/2".

The image on the left has too much of the jacket taken off. The image on the right is correct.

CAT 5 Cable with too much jacket removedCAT 5 cable with correct amount of jacket removed







The RJ-45 connector is designed to crimp down on to the outer jacket in order to provide some strain relief to the connection. All too often I have seen CAT 5 connections made with the outer jacket not properly crimped inside the RJ45 connector.

This will result in your CAT 5 connection failing eventually. I have also seen where RJ45 connections have exceeded the 1/2 inch rule above. This results in bad data transmission, and will cause your network to perform badly.

The image on the left is an example of an RJ-45 connector properly crimped on the jacket. I have marked the strain relief on the connector. The jacket of the cable needs to be crimped by the strain relief. The image on the right is an example of an improperly crimped RJ-45 connector.

CAT 5 Connector properly crimpedCAT 5 Cable not properly crimped




In order to put RJ-45 connectors on to CAT 5 cable, you need some tool that are specific to the task. I picked up my network tools at Home Depot. There are several other places that you can purchase them as well


CAT 5 Network Crimp Tool



You will need a CAT 5 Crimp tool. Here is a photo:



CAT 5 Cable Tester


You will also need a CAT 5 cable tester. This one is shown testing a good cable.You can also pick this up at Home Depot.





 OK, I hope this helped you out. good luck!

-- Mike


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