Network cables, which do I need?

When it comes to networking you can go wired or wireless if you like speed like us you choose wired without doubt.

Don’t get me wrong wireless is great for handheld devices, tv’s and gaming consoles but for moving files cable is the solution.

100 Mbit or Gigabit? Well with modern technology Gigabit is not as expensive as it used to be just the other day we picked up a Gigabit NIC for just 35$ , sure you could get cheaper ones online but price is not the most important factor. You want a NIC you can rely on. Gigabit routers with WI-FI don’t cost a fortune either, we of course recommend Linksys by Cisco routers such as the E3000 this supports 10 – 1000 Mbit and is a reliant router from the world leaders in networking.

But to make the wired network function you will need cables (yes really you do) and there are a few choices in cables just like everything else in life. The cables are defined in categories and are named e.g. Cat5 or Cat5e and to choose one that fits you is fairly easy all Cat5 cables are 10-100 Mbit Based tho Cat5e cables are able to do up too 1000 Mbit. Cat6 is 10-1000 Mbit based so if you are going for a Gigabit network you should choose Cat6 since Cat5e is designed for 10-100 Mbit and is just capable to run Gigabit and Cat6 was created for Gigabit standard but is backward compatible with 10-100 Mbit. Do you choose shielded or non shielded cables? Well do you have a whole lot of them entangled together and they go past other high power lines? No? Didn’t think so… then you basically don’t need shielded cables but hey it doesn’t hurt.

Now. To a problem I have all the time, either the cables are way too long or 10 cm too short. This really gets my blood pumping so I decided to start making my own cables. Well not producing the cables but putting connectors on them so I got me a pair of special RJ45 pliers a 30 meter cable and a box of new unused RJ45 connectors or ICE cubes as they are called and set out to cut the lengths I figured I needed. When putting the connectors on you need a steady hand to get the eight wires in the right order or else it’s not going to work remember we are making a patch type cable not crossed.

The difference is that patch cables are to be used between e.g. a computer and a router, hub or switch while the crossed cables is for connecting two computers together without using a router, hub or switch.

Here is a diagram showing how the wires should be lined up before you push them into the connector and lock them down.

Image: http://www.grook.net

And here is a nice little video on how to put connectors on them just in case you were wondering

How to make a Cat6 Patch cord

Now that they are in and locked test the cable to see that it works, but if it doesn’t don’t worry just cut the head of and try again.

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