Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back to basics - Making Ethernet Cables Without Losing Your Head

A friend recently asked me for some tips on network cabling tools. After realizing I have a lot to say on this subject, I figured it was as good a reason as any to do a post on it. Here's some tips from a guy who has done more cable-crimping than his pay scale warrants:

-Don't skimp when buying crimpers (i especially like the ones that "click" to let you know that they are completely crimped)

-Buy the bulk pack. Don't underestimate how many terminators you'll go through if you don't do cables often.

-Print out (in color) the specification for the T568B standard as small as possible, and STICK IT somewhere on your crimping tool. Then you'll always have it!

Color Code Guide Note: Others will argue that the T568A standard should be used. In my experience, the T568A standard is usually only involved when making a crossover cable. It's a matter of preference, but be consistent.

-A simple network cable tester is REALLY nice to have. It can save you a lot of frustration, especially if you are doing a job (whole house, building, etc.)

Cheap cable tester

Finally, assemble your crimpers, terminators, tester into a small box, and label it "Cable Kit". Keep it near your cable box. Ask me how I know.