If you need to fix your home network, you must know how to terminate Ethernet cable. We’ll help you with everything you need here as it’s not that complicated.
Handling network cables can be intimidating, especially if you know nothing about it. The good news is it’s easy, and you’ll only need one tool.
Here’s how to do it.
To terminate an Ethernet cable, strip the outer sheathing to expose the inner wires, untwist and arrange them, insert them into the connector, and crimp them to secure the connection.
Before beginning to terminate your Ethernet cable, ensure you have all the equipment ready.
Equipment You Need for Proper Ethernet Cable Termination
Terminating Ethernet cables saves you space and money and prevents tangled cables.
To do it, first, you need to determine which Ethernet cable you want to terminate. Then, gather all the necessary equipment.
- Ethernet cable that you want to terminate
- RJ45 standard connectors for proper contact with the wires
- Crimping tool to cut, strip, and lock the wires into the connectors
- Utility knife or a pair of wire strippers for the outer sheath of the cable
- Ethernet testing tool to check your work
Having all these items within reach ensures a smooth and successful termination process.
Now, you’re ready to terminate your Ethernet cable.
Complete Steps on How to Terminate Ethernet Cable
Ethernet cables can be expensive, and terminating them yourself is a great way to save money.
You will know exactly how much you need and avoid unnecessary waste. By doing it yourself, you also have control over the quality of the cable.
Knowing how to terminate Ethernet cable properly can improve your network’s performance and ensure your devices have strong and reliable connections.
Step #1: Gather All the Equipment for a Quicker Workflow
If you’re terminating an Ethernet cable, you’re likely replacing one or setting up your network.
Now that you know all of the things you need to make this happen, it’s important that you gather all of your equipment before starting.
As you can see, you need quite a few pieces of equipment. Most of these are small, and you can easily misplace them.
To avoid this, you want to organize everything you need so you don’t look for them while splicing up the wires.
Here’s how to effectively organize to have an easier and quicker workflow:
- Know the Ethernet cable type you are working with.
- Measure its length to avoid excess material.
- Get the correct Ethernet connector for your cable type.
- Get a reliable crimping tool, as you’ll need this throughout the process.
- Get some wire strippers that you can use as backups.
Step #2: Cut and Strip Your Ethernet Cable
Now that you’re all set, it’s time to work. The thing you need to understand with Ethernet cables is that they’re not built like your usual wires. Inside the cable are eight wires that transmit the data between devices.
There are four pairs of twisted wires that are color-coded, which is crucial to get your devices connected. Each of these wire pairs carries a single signal split into two.
The twisting arrangement reduces interference from outside sources allowing the signals to go back and forth through the wires.
Here’s how to cut and strip your Ethernet cable to expose these internet wires:
- Pick the wire cutter of your choice: a wire cutter or a pair of scissors.
- Cut your Ethernet cable to your measured length.
- Measure an inch and a half from the end of your cable.
- Remove the outer sheath of your Ethernet cable to expose the inner wires.
Tip: When cutting your Ethernet cable, it’s recommended that you add a bit of slack so you can adjust it in the future.
Step #3: Untwist and Arrange the Wires Inside the Cable
At this point, you can now see all eight of the twisted pairs of your Ethernet cable. You won’t be able to properly put each of them into the connector in this state.
You will need to untwist the inner wires to straighten them so you can carefully place them inside the connectors.
You need to understand that there is a way to arrange these wires so they can effectively transmit your network signals.
There are a couple of standards, but we recommend the T-568B one as it’s the most common scheme to connect your Ethernet cable.
Here’s how to arrange the inner wires of your Ethernet cable:
- Using your fingers, untwist all four pairs of wires inside the cable.
- Straighten the wires and arrange them side by side.
- You can trim the lengths so all of them are even.
- Arrange the cables this way from left to right.
- Orange-White, Orange, Green-White, Blue, Blue-White, Green, Brown-White, Brown.
Note: If you’re terminating just an end of your Ethernet cable, checking the other end and following its configuration is recommended.
Step #4: Insert the Wires Into the Connector
Now that you have arranged the wires of your Ethernet cable in the correct position, it’s time to insert them into the connector.
Putting the wires into the RJ-45 connectors completes the connection between your devices. The connector is basically the terminal end of the wires and interfaces with the port of your device.
This completes the circuit and connection and allows the devices to communicate with each other through the network.
Here’s how to insert the wires into the connector correctly:
- Align the arranged inner wires.
- Measure a length of around half an inch from the end of the outer sheath to the wires.
- Cut the wires so they are the same length.
- Get the RJ-45 connector.
- Insert the wires into the connector from left to right.
Note: The length of the exposed wire should be enough to reach the pins of the connector and not too long so they don’t bend and break.
Step #5: Crimp the Connector to Lock the Wires In Place
The inner wires of your Ethernet cable are inside the connector. However, they’re not locked in place yet. To do that, you will need to crimp them into place.
This squeezes the connector and allows the pins to pierce through each of the wires’ insulation.
If you don’t crimp your connector, the insulation will block the pins and won’t complete the connection.
Here’s how to properly crimp your RJ-45 connector:
- Hold your connector with the wires securely.
- Insert it into the crimping tool with the pins facing up.
- Align it into the crimping slot for a successful crimp.
- Squeeze the handle of your crimping tool until you hear a loud click.
- Remove the connector from the tool and check the wires.
Note: The wires should remain at the end of the connector after you crimp them.
If they don’t reach the end, it’s possible that they’re not connected properly.
Step #6: Repeat on the Other End of the Cable
If you’ve completed these steps, you’re not done yet. You’re in luck if you’re only fixing one end. You can try out your new cable.
However, you still need to crimp and terminate the other end in most cases. Since you’ve finished one side, you will need to do the same steps for the other side.
Now that you have the experience from doing one successful crimp, the rest should be plain sailing and won’t pose that much of a problem.
Here’s what you need to do on the other end of your Ethernet cable:
- Strip the outer sheath of your Ethernet cable.
- Untwist the wires and arrange them.
- Your wire arrangement should be the same on the other end.
- Insert them into an RJ-45 connector.
- Crimp the connector to finalize your connection.
Note: After crimping the connector, you will not be able to reuse it again in case of issues, you will need to cut off the wires and redo the steps.
After terminating your Ethernet cable, you’ll need to test if it’s working or not. If you do it right, the cable should work perfectly.
You can contact a networking professional for assistance if you encounter issues or problems while crimping your Ethernet cable.
These are the steps how to terminate the Ethernet cable. You should easily create new connections as long as you have the right equipment and follow these steps closely.
The gear you need here is incredibly affordable so that you can set up new wired connections for your home network.
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Finn Wheatley holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from UCL, London. He helped small data science consultancy firms, helping large corporations to grow their data capabilities, deploy advanced machine learning-based analytics and troubleshoot tech-related issues. Check out more about him here.