Articles Tagged ‘CAT5’

Network Cabling

Network CablingNetwork cabling is one of the most important aspects in any network infrastructure and has become increasingly critical with the introduction of newer technologies such as blade servers, virtualization, network storage devices, wireless access points and more.

Network services such as file sharing, Internet access, network printing, email, ERP systems and more, are all delivered to the end users via the network infrastructure, which usually includes switches, fiber optic links and of course UTP cabling.

This series will focus on the different type of Ethernet copper cabling specifications, speeds and caveats of each technology.

We’ll continue with the expansion of our covered topics to cover fiber optic technology and talk about the different fiber optic cables available in the market and then jump back into the past by covering various direct cable connections used to transfer data between computers. This last section will cover extensively serial, parallel, usb ports and their different specifications/versions, plus we’ll get to talk about the variety of cables used to connect between these old-technology ports.

While many might believe the last section of this series might contain information not considered useful (serial, parallel & usb ports), you’ll be amazing on how much of this information will actually come in handy at some point in the future.

All material covered includes detailed diagrams and has been checked to ensure it is as accurate as possible.

Straight Thru UTP Cables

UTP Cabling - Straight-thru cable CAT5, CAT5eThis article covers the commonly known Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable and shows how many pairs the UTP Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 & Cat7 cables consists of, the colour coding they follow, the different wiring standard that exist (T-568A & T-568B) plus the pin number designations for both standards.

We will be mainly focussing on the wiring of CAT5e & 6 cables as they are the most popluar cables around! We'll also cover wiring classic CAT1 phone cables. It is very important to understand UTP cabling standards and how to correctly terminate them.

Cabling is the foundation for a solid network, and implementing it correctly the first time will help avoid hours of frustration and troubleshooting. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a poorly cabled network, this knowledge will help you to find the problem and fix it more efficiently.

Wiring the UTP cables

We are now going to look at how UTP cables are wired. There are two popular wiring schemes that most people use today: the T-568A and T-568B. These differ only in which color-coded pairs are connected -- pairs 2 and 3 are reversed. Both work equally well, as long as you don't mix them. If you always use only one version, you're okay, but if you mix A and B in a cable run, you will get crossed pairs.

UTP cables are terminated with standard connectors, jacks and punchdowns. The jack/plug is often referred to as a "RJ-45," but that is really a telephone company designation for the "modular eight-pin connector" terminated with the USOC pinout used for telephones. The male connector on the end of a patch cord is called a "plug" and the receptacle on the wall outlet is a "jack."

Cabling - RG-45 Jack and RJ-45 Plug / Connector

Figure 1. A RG-45 Jack and RJ-45 Plug / Connector


As already mentioned, UTP has four twisted pairs of wires. The illustration shows the pairs and the color codes they have. As you can see, the four pairs are labeled:
UTP Colour codes and Pairs

Figure 2. Colour codes & Pairs of UTP CAT 5, CAT 5e, CAT6, CAT7 Cable

Pairs 2 and 3 are used for normal 10/100 Mbps networks, while pairs 1 and 4 are reserved. In Gigabit Ethernet, all four pairs are used.

The picture below shows the end of a CAT5e cable with an RJ-45 connector, commonly used to connect computers to a switch. It also shows a stripped CAT5e cable and identifies the four twisted pairs:

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) - CAT 1 to CAT5, 5e, CAT6 & CAT7

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable is most certainly by far the most popular cable around the world. UTP cable is used not only for networking but also for the traditional telephone (UTP-Cat 1). There are seven different types of UTP categories and, depending on what you want to achieve, you would need the appropriate type of cable. UTP-CAT5e is the most popular UTP cable which came to replace the old coaxial cable that was not able to keep up with the constant growing need for faster and more reliable networks.

Characteristics of UTP

The characteristics of UTP are very good and make it easy to work with, install, expand and troubleshoot and we are going to look at the different wiring schemes available for UTP, how to create a straight through UTP cable, rules for safe operation and a lot of other cool stuff !

So let's have a quick look at each of the UTP categories available today along with their specifications:


Figure 1. The Different UTP Categories and their specifications

Category 1/2/3/4/5/6/7 – a specification for the type of copper wire (most telephone and network wire is copper) and jacks. The number (1, 3, 5, etc) refers to the revision of the specification and in practical terms refers to the number of twists inside the wire (or the quality of connection in a jack).

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