The term RJ45 is used to describe the terminated ends, or jacks, of either telephone or ethernet cables (the RJ stands for registered jack), these are the ones you commonly find connected to landline telephones and your high speed internet modems at home. Though these cables can easily be bought at any regular home improvement store in different lengths, there are times when you have to lengthen or shorten a cable to fit your specific needs, and to do that you will need an RJ45 crimper.
Why Still Use Wires?
In this modern age of wireless connectivity there is still a use for the old school method of using cables for connecting to your home network. Why? Well for one thing your wi-fi router's signal can not go everywhere in your home. For instance, if you have the router set up on the first floor of your house and you have a desktop computer in your bedroom at the second floor, the wi-fi signal will have a hard time reaching your computer; you'll get a 2 bar signal strength at best. If you want to fully utilize the speed of your internet connection then it is better to just buy a length of CAT5 cable, some RJ45 plugs, and a handy RJ45 crimper.
What Is an RJ45 Crimper?
The cables used in connecting your desktop computer to the high speed modem is not like your regular copper wires where you just loop the exposed wires onto a plug using pliers, terminating the ends of CAT5, or ethernet cables require the use of a special crimping tool. An RJ45 crimper (also known as CAT5 crimper or ethernet crimper) is a special tool that can attach the special RJ45 jacks to the end of a CAT5 cable, a process that is very difficult if done by hand.
Tips on Choosing a RJ45 Crimper
If you are planning on laying out CAT5 cables around your house then you will need a reliable RJ45 crimper to help make the job a bit easier. Here are some tips to make sure you get a crimper that can not only do the job, but also do it well.
Crimpers come in different types and sizes, depending on the gauge and type of cable you will be crimping the ends of. So you need to choose the ideal RJ45 crimper for a specific type of cable, or else risk damaging the crimper itself.
- If you are working with different sizes of connections then a modular crimper and cutter is the tool you will need. These are used for crimping the ends of telephone cables and ethernet cables.
- If you want a wire crimper that is very easy to use then you should get a ratchet wire crimper. This kind of crimper not only crimps the stranded wire of the cable but also attaches the insulator grip of the RJ45 connector in just a single motion. This makes crimping the ends of the cables faster and without putting too much strain on your hands.
- Rather than buying a separate wire crimper and wire stripper, it would be better if you just buy a wire crimper that comes with a wire stripper built-in. This not only saves you some money on tools, it also makes laying down cables easier since you have two tools in one hand already.
- Though a bit more expensive than your standard crimper, there are crimpers that can press most standard types of cables into different sized plugs. So if you are planning on laying out different cable types then using a multi-tool like this could help out a lot.
How to Layout and Crimp Ethernet Cables
So you have bought your very own crimping tool and a length of CAT5 cable, so what do you do now? Here are instructions and some helpful tips to help you lay out cables like a professional.
- You first need to measure the length of cable you will need. Do not cut the cable to the exact length that you need, always place an allowance of a foot or so just to make sure that your cable won't be too short; you can always pick up the slack but it is harder to splice an additional length of cable.
- Once you have cut the cable to length, you now need to prepare the ends for crimping. Take out your wire stripper and take off about an inch of insulation from the ends of the cable. Then untwist the cables inside until you reach the rubber shield, and again using the wire stripper, expose a couple of millimeters of copper from each strand so they can make contact with the RJ45 plug.
- Now that you have the ends of the cable prepared, you should now proceed to place the cable and the connector into the RJ45 crimper. Make sure that every color coded wire is in the right position before you start crimping the cable. You can find the correct placement of the wires inside the RJ45 crimper instructions that came with the kit.
- Once the wires are all aligned then you put on the RJ45 connector into the crimper, making sure that the metal plates on the connector are in contact with the exposed copper wiring of the cable. Once they are secured then crimp the connector onto the cable.
- Repeat steps 1 to 4 for the other end of the cable. Once you have finished crimping both ends, you should run the cable into a tester, if the green lights come on then you are ready to go, if not then cut off the ends and repeat the whole process. This is one of the reasons why you need to put an allowance when cutting the cable, in case of mistakes like this.
Even though we are living in a mostly wireless age, there is still a lot of use for the trusty data cable. Until the wireless networks get perfected, good old ethernet cables and the like will still have a place in people's homes and workplaces.