A Quick and Dirty Tutorial on How to Replug Your Network Cable

To some people, this is a no-brainer, but I was terrified. You see, I’d have to snip a network cable that runs through a hole in the ground, then underground for about 50 yards and up through the wall in our garage office, terminating in a plug that hooks up the computer in the building to the wonders of the internet (complete with the frustrations of slow rural internet speeds). If I screwed it up, the garage office would have no internet at all, and my husband would be furious.

So I did what any good housewife would do: I procrastinated. The plug end that was on the cable worked ok (sometimes) and could be fixed by “jiggling” the wire just so, until the light on the router said the outbuilding was connected. But eventually, it had to be fixed, and that eventuality fell upon me this week (two days ago in fact). So here’s how I did it in basic terms.

Equipment: A Belkin RJ45 Medium Duty Crimp Tool and a packet of 10 plug ends for Cat 5/5e cable, also from Belkin. (I ordered these from Amazon.com ). The crimp tool will snip the cable, strip it and crimp it. I only had one plug to do, but I bought a 10-pack for the inevitable screw-ups.

The procedure for a regular Cat 5e cable goes thus: first, snip the old nasty non-working plug off, exposing the raw cable. My cable was snipped on the razor edge part of my new Belkin crimping tool; the stripper (farthest from the handle) is supposed to come together, leaving a gap just wide enough to take the sheathing off the cable without damaging the internal twisted pair wires. I was too chicken to use it, as it looked TOO close together. I used a box-cutter type razor instead.

You take the tool down the cable about an inch or so, clamp the tool down and this is supposed to cut only into the outer sheathing, leaving the internal wires intact. (With practice, I’m sure this gets easier, or you can try my hillbilly method, which also worked. Clamp the tool and pull, neatly causing the gray (or blue) sheath to slip off, revealing four pairs of wires, each twisted around its mate.

Untwist these wires, making sure you didn’t nick any of them during the stripping process. If you did, this exposes the copper wire and will ruin the signal. Arrange the untwisted wires flat between your thumb and forefinger in the order listed below. For most purposes, i.e. connecting computer to router or hub, this order, called the 568B, will be correct for both ends. (A crossover cable has one 568A end and one 568B end, but we’re not even going to worry about that).

Start on the left and proceed right (568B):

orange/white orange white/green blue white/blue green brown/white brown

Then hold ‘em flat and tight and cut them down to where they stick out from the still-covered cable about 1/2 of an inch. Cut them evenly, then push them into the plug (hold flat side of the plug facing up as you do this), making sure all the wires touch the gold contacts inside the plug end. The covered part of the cable should also go about 1/8 of an inch into the plug, so there are no exposed wires. Hold this arrangement as you slide the plug into the slot in the crimper. Squeeze the crimp tool down right above the junction of the cable and plug; this will seat the cable permanently into the plug so the ends can’t move. Push it out of the crimp tool and plug her in! I don’t bother with a tester, because the router light will tell you in no uncertain terms it it worked or not. It took me three tries, but it turned out to be really simple!

If you want the whole story of how to make network cables, including crossover cables and some very useful tips, see this tutorial: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Network-Cable .

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