Knowing how to terminate a Cat6 cable is beneficial when you need to connect a cable endpoint to something else, such as a computer or a router. While you may not have to terminate cables often, it can be a useful skill to have. If you own or manage commercial buildings, it can be helpful to have the tools and expertise necessary to terminate Cat6 cables.
Whether you need to add a workstation or reconfigure a setup, having a basic understanding of cable termination can save you time and money. Here, we’ll explain how to terminate Cat6 cables.
What Are Cat6 Cables?
Cat6 cables are ethernet cables that support networks in large and small businesses. Most businesses have ethernet cables running to each computer or workstation. The cables consist of four twisted pairs of wires, making eight wires total. The wires are encased inside a protective jacket.
Terminating Cat6 Cables
Before you begin work on terminating your cables, double check that you know what type of cable you’re working with. When you look at the outer jacket of the cable, you should see the type of cable labeled. Look at the cable jacket and make sure that you have a Cat6 cable.
What Materials Do You Need To Terminate Cat6 Cable?
You’ll need to gather a few materials to terminate your Cat6 cables, including
- A jacket cutter or wire stripper
- RJ45 data plugs
- A RJ45 crimping cool
You can also choose to gather these optional materials:
- Wire boots
- An Ethernet testing tool
If you think you’ll be in a position where you need to terminate Ethernet cables regularly, it’s a good idea to invest in the products you’ll need so you have them on hand.
How To Terminate Cat 6 Cable: A Step-By-Step guide
Once you have the materials you need, you’re ready to begin terminating your cable. It’s important to only work with one end of the cable at a time, so if you need to terminate both ends of your cable, you’ll need to run through these steps twice.
Follow these steps below to terminate a Cat6 cable:
Step 1: Measure the end of your cable and determine where you’ll strip the outer jacket. Make sure you add some extra length so you can crimp the cable when you’re done. If this is your first time, you might want to measure a little extra to allow for any mistakes you might make. In general, you’ll want to cut about two inches from the end of the cable.
Step 2: Strip the outer jacket off using your jacket cutter or wire stripper. Take care to only apply a small bit of pressure when cutting the outer jacket of the cable, especially if you are using power over Ethernet (PoE). If you accidentally damage any of the wires, you can interfere with the voltage and potentially damage equipment. Even if you aren’t using PoE, you could damage the wires to the point where they don’t work or where the signal is weakened.
Step 3: Once you have the wires exposed, untwist each twisted pair of wires. Do this for each set, and be sure to untwist all the way to the jacket.
Step 4: Lay the wires out in the following order from left to right: orange/white, orange, green/white, blue, blue/white, green, brown/white, brown. When you do this, the wires will be uneven at the end because you are crossing some wires over others. This is okay, and you will cut them to make them even before finishing
Step 5: Use your fingers or the edge of a counter or table to straighten the wires. They’ll likely have a lot of kinks in them from being twisted, and it’s important to get those kinks out. Once you have the wires in order, lay them flat.
Step 5: Keeping your wires flat, trim the ends so all of the wires are even. At this point, you can choose to put wire boots on your wires if you want.
Step 6: Push the wires into the RJ45 data plug, keeping them in the same order. Make sure you push them all the way until the ends of the wires are in the top of the plug. Check your wires to make sure they stayed in order after passing through the plug.
Step 7: Pinch the jacket of the cable and slide it into the data plug. It can be helpful to ovalize the jacket with electrician’s pliers before you put it in the plug. To help get the jacket in, you can push from the jacket end and pull from the wire end. Be careful not to push the jacket past the indentation on the data plug.
Step 8: Put the data plug in the crimper and continue to apply pressure until the crimper clicks. This will complete your termination. You can repeat this step a couple of times if you feel you need to.
Step 9: Repeat on the other side of the cable if necessary.
Step 10: If you desire, use your Ethernet testing tool to make sure everything is working correctly.
Learning How To Terminate Cat 6
Learning how to terminate cat 6 cables is useful if you spend a lot of time working with networks or own commercial buildings. You’ll be able to customize your network, and once you’ve practiced a couple of times, you’ll likely be able to terminate cables quickly and efficiently.