Do I need a cable tester?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by masterbyllet, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. masterbyllet

    masterbyllet
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    Hello,

    I've done a few searches for ''Ethernet cable damage'' and ''cable tester'' etc and couldn't find anything that would answer it properly... so sorry if this is a duplicate question

    But anyway...

    I'm interested in running some Ethernet cable around my house to link everything up as the WiFi signal is pretty poor (thick walls) ...

    I assume/d I would make a good saving if I just brought a big reel of cat5e and the RJ45 plugs and try wiring it up myself ... after reading a few web pages about it they all mention I need to buy a cable tester ... as if I wire it up wrong and plug it in I could cause damage?

    From a quick google for cable testers they seemed pretty pricey and wondered if I really did need one - or if that ''damage'' is just over precaution?

    I've not brought any of it yet - still looking into getting a cheap crimping tool etc but if someone could help me with the incorrect wiring I'd be very grateful :)
     
  2. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    A simple Cat5 cable tester can be picked up from Screwfix for £11.49 Philex Network Cable Tester | Screwfix.com and this is all you need.

    Expensive testers are used to qualify installations to Cat5 standard. This means you are testing that the installations meet a fixed standard, while all you need to do is ensure that you have crimped the plugs on correctly and have all 8 wires in the right order!

    You would be unlikely to damage anything by poor crimping or a cable fault, its just chuffing frustrating to fault find without the right kit!
     
  3. Kristian

    Kristian
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    The preferred way of installing Cat5 (or Cat5E,6,6a etc) cable would be to use solid cored cable (not stranded) and terminate into modules/face plates, not onto RJ45 plugs. You then buy shorter Cat5 patch cables to connect to the devices. You will need a punch down tool (aka IDC insertion tool, about a tenner) rather than a crimper to do the termination.

    The tester noiseboy links to will show that you've got the wires in the right order and no open connections. It's not a Cat5/5E tester but for the home it's hard to argue against using one like this.
     
  4. neilball

    neilball
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    The only useful test for a home installation that the cheap testers don't provide is tearing for split pairs. This means you have achieved continuity across all connections, so pin 1 is connected at both ends etc, but you have not hot the signals being carried over the twisted pairs. This means the cable performance wil be compromised to the point it may not work (or is unreliable).

    I'd suggest following the advice above to use punch-down modules and patch panels to terminate the cable as it is much easier to see the colour sequences of the cable and avoid this issue.
     
  5. masterbyllet

    masterbyllet
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    Thank you all for the advice, I think I'll pick up a cheap cable tester from Amazon. Sorry to seem a little dim but what exactly is a patch panel?

    Thanks
     
  6. Kristian

    Kristian
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    This is a patch panel. It's used in the central end to terminate your cat5e/6 cables onto. It's made up of IDC modules that your punch down tool connects the cores to. If you've only got a few cables to install, you can use the same modules/faceplates that you've used at the far end.
     

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