How to make a network cable
To create your own network cables you will first need the equipment we have listed below.
- Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, or Cat7 cable - This cabling can be purchased in large spindles at stores that specialize in cabling. Cat5 cabling is the most commonly used cable used today for networks.
- RJ-45 connectors - These connectors can be purchased at most electronic stores and computer stores and usually come in bulk packages. It is always a good idea to get more than you think you need.
- Crimping tool - These tools are often purchased at electronic stores such as radio shack. To create a network cable you need a crimper that is capable of crimping a RJ-45 cable (not just a RJ-11 cable, which looks similar to a RJ-45).
- Wire stripper or Knife - If you plan on making several network cables you should also consider getting a wire stripper cable of stripping Cat5, Cat6, or your cable of choice. If you do not plan on creating many network cables a knife will suffice. For simplicity and to prevent potential issues we recommend a wire stripper.
Once you have the necessary equipment needed to create your own network cables you need to determine the network cable you want to create. There are two major network cables: a straight through cable and a crossover cable. Below are some examples of what cable is used for each of the examples.
Straight through cable (T568A)
- Computer to hub, switch, router, or wall.
Crossover cable (T568A & T568B)
- Computer to Computer
- Network device to network device. For example, router to router.
Once you have determined the type of network cable strip the cable. We recommend stripping at least a half of an inch off of the cable to expose the inner wires. Don't be worried about stripping too much of the network cable jacket off since you can always cut the wires down more if needed later. After the network cable jacket has been removed separate the wires within the cable so they can be put into the RJ-45 connector.
The CAT5 twisted-pair cables consist of four twisted wires, each color coded; one a solid color and the other a stripped color. As seen below, most network cables consist of a green, blue, orange, and brown pair of cables.
There are two cable standards T568A and T568B, each twisted-pair must be broken apart to create the layout as shown above. If you want to create a straight through cable both ends of the cable should be identical and should match the T568A example shown above. If you want to create a crossover cable one end of the cable should match T568A and the other should match T568B.
Once you have separated the ends of the cable to match one of the above examples place the cables into the RJ-45 connector and then use the crimping tool to attach the connector. Do these steps for each side of the cable.
Once both ends of the cable have been completed connect the cable to make sure it is working.
- See our network definitions for all network related terms and definitions.