How to make a network cable
To create a network cable, you will first need the equipment listed below.
- Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, or Cat 7 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. To create a network cable you need a crimper that is capable of crimping a RJ-45 cable (not only a RJ-11 cable, which looks similar to an 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 Cat 5, Cat 6, or your cable of choice. If you do not plan on creating many network cables, a knife will suffice. To prevent potential issues, we recommend a wire stripper.
Once you have the necessary equipment needed to create a network cable, you need to determine the type of 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 with no switch or hub.
- 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 is removed, separate the wires in 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 one a striped 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 one 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 terms for all network related terms and definitions.
- Computer network card and network help and support.