Ethernet cables are essentially the lifeline of our home networks, and our internet. Almost every home network uses ethernet cables to connect either their modem to their router or their routers to their computers. Ethernet cables are especially important for those users who are still on wired networks, and haven’t made the jump to wireless yet. For those of you that have had to go out and purchase ethernet cables in the past know that these cables do not come cheap for anything over 10 feet or so. If you have to stretch it up to 20+ feet the price increase is exponential, when in fact, it doesn’t really cost that much more to make a longer cable. In today’s post we’re going to show you how to make your own ethernet cable.
Materials For Making Ethernet Cables
Wire Cutters/Strippers- I’m sure you have atleast one pair laying around, if you followed my article on how to assemble the ultimate PC toolkit you should have a pair in your amazing PC toolkit.
RJ45 Crimping Tool- This is used for crimping or “terminating” the ends of the cable so they stay attached, you can get these at a radioshack-type store or save yourself some money and get them off Amazon for cheap.
Network Cable Tester- This tool is option, but it helps a lot if you want to make sure the cables you’re making are working correctly, and to test cables if you ever think you might have a bad cable. These can also be found on Amazon for relatively decent prices.
CAT5 Ethernet Cable- You’ll need this stuff to make the cables out of, you can get this at Home Depot or Lowe’s, it’ll usually come in a box, and it’s just the cable with no ends on it.
RJ45 Connectors- Last but not least, you’ll need RJ45 connectors. These can be found at a Radioshack-type store or on Amazon, if you can’t tell I really do a lot of shopping on Amazon.
Ethernet Cable Making Instructions
First, you’ll want to measure out how long you want your cable to be, just so you don’t have all this extra cable slack, or you don’t make a cable too short, that would suck. Then, add 5 inches to that length so you have something to work with when terminating the cable ends.
Pull out your wire strippers and strip about an inch off of the cable, now you’ll want to un-twist the cables all the way to the rubber shield. You’ll want to make sure there is a few millimeters of copper exposed so they can make contact with the RJ-45 connector
What you want to do is make sure each wire is in the correct position before you put on the RJ-45 connector. For normal ends it should be white-orange, orange, white-green, blue, white-blue, green, white-brown, brown, and this should be from look at the top of the connector, the bottom of the connector is the part with the plastic tab. For crossover cables the order is white-green, green, white-orange, blue, white-blue, orange, white-brown, brown.
Put on the RJ-45 connector, and make sure the copper ends are making contact with the metal plates in the RJ-45 connector, if they aren’t go back and try organizing the wires so they all connect.
Put it in the crimping tool and crimp it, now you have one end terminated.
For the other end repeat steps 2-6.
Plug your ethernet cable into the tester and see if it all the lights light up green, if they do then you’re good, and you can get to making your other cables, if they don’t you’ll have to cut off the RJ-45 connector and reterminate your ends with a new connector. At first it’s hard to get the hang of it, but in no time you’ll be making cables like Speedy Gonzales.
I also found these a build your own network cable kit on Amazon that look like a really good deal. For less than $60 on most kits you can get everything you need to make your network cable, including all the tools, the RJ-45 connectors, and you also get 100-500 Feet of Ethernet Cable for all of your networking needs.