Twisted pair cables such as CAT5, CAT5e, CAT6 and CAT6a cable are a low cost and easy installation alternative to traditional coax cables for transmitting KVM and AV signals.   KVM (keyboard-video-mouse) extenders via CAT5 may be used to remove computers from harsh or sensitive environments, or to restrict physical access to the computer. Video extension products such as VGA, DVI, S-Video or HDTV extenders via CAT5 are used to extend video displays. Each extender consists of two units – the local and remote units, which are interconnected using a CAT5/5e/6 cable.

This article focuses on the proper method for terminating a CAT5/5e shielded solid or stranded cable using standard tools and materials that are readily available.  With the proper use of the tools and a little practice you will be terminating CAT5/5e cables in no time.

Prepare the cable

You will first need CAT5/5e shielded cable (solid or stranded for the purposes of this article) cut to the desired length.  The cable can be terminated before or after installation, even if you have a long run to make.  Using a cable tester from VPI cable can be easily tested for continuity, crossed pairs and pinouts to make sure all connections have been made properly.

Next you will need to make sure you have the correct plugs to terminate the cable with.  Different plugs are intended to different types of cable, whether you have solid or stranded connectors, flat or round cable, shielded or unshielded, and CAT5, 5e, 6, or 6a.   Be sure to use a plug suitable for your cable.

For tools you need  wire cutters, RJ45 crimp tool.

Terminate the cable

First, carefully strip the jacketing from the cable to expose 1″ of the insulated wire conductors. Don’t cut too deeply or you will knick the wire insulation underneath.  If you just score the cable jacket and bend the wire in several directions to finish the break, the result will be a good problem-free cut.

Next, peel the foil shield insulation back onto the cable jacket and trim to within approximately ¼” of the jacket edge. Wrap the drain wire such that it is located at the bottom (locking-tab side) of the cable.    Do not remove any insulation from the conductors.

Untwist the wires all the way to the jacket edge (but not beyond) and arrange them according to TIA/EIA 568A or 568B standards.

By Haadi