How to Terminate Cat5 or Cat6 Cable

In the past two years at my work I’ve learned some useful skills, especially when it comes to computers and installing equipment throughout the building. I learned how to put Category 5 (or Cat5) and Category 6 cable together by necessity. I helped make some this morning and thought I would share how I put them together and get it to work the first time!

These types of cables, also called ethernet, are good for networking your computers together, or plugging Blu-ray players to your router, or even for patch panels for IT work.

What you'll need

Have a pair of Cat5 testers, RJ-45 plugs, crimper tool, needle-nose pliers, and something refreshing to drink.

Use blades of crimper tool to cut the casing

Be careful not to use too much pressure, or you may accidentally cut the copper wires inside. Use a light twisting motion to cut  the casing.

Twisted pairs and core. Cut about an inch off the end to be safe.

By the way, you should be sure to measure the correct cable length you want before you cut all willy-nilly.

Cut the core out if you have one

If your cable has anything inside used for support (i.e. plastic core, aluminum shield, metal wire, or fibers) cut them as short as you can to keep them out of the way.

Straighten the wires in pairs.

I kind of wiggle them straight.

Create a terrifying claw to terrorize east Asia

Only if you have spare time.

Stretch lightly and smooth the wires.

Put them in the proper order. The style I use is T568B: white-orange, orange, white-green, blue, white-blue, green, white-brown, brown.

Cut the gnarly ends so the wires will lie straight

Use the blade in the pliers. It’s just the right size to fit them all.

Always check the order of your wires

Be sure they are the same order on both ends. If not, your cable will not work.

See how long of wires you need by using the plug as a guide

I use the plug to guide how long the wires should be. That way, when I crimp them, the casing is at the mouth.

Slide the wires into the RJ-45 plug

If you have 24AWG cable, the wires should slide right in. If you’re using a thicker wire, you may need to slide them into a boot mould first, then put them into a different plug. Once they’re in, and you’re sure about the order and the same length, slide the plug into the crimp tool and crimp the end. Repeat this process on the other end of your cable. For a hand, go back to top.

Plug in both ends to the testers

Once both ends are properly terminated, insert both plugs into the testers. Press the Test button.

4 Green Lights!

If you get four lights, you have properly terminated your cable. If you have any that failed, the testers may tell you which ones didn’t pass and why. It could be the shield, or a kink, or even if one of the wires is broken.


This is one of the two I made this morning. Hope this is a help to you. Leave a comment if you have some other way or products you use to make Cable.

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